Grape growers getting low offers from a local beverage company

PORTLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — Grape growers are getting lower offers than ever before from a local beverage company.

“Many of the growers have had to do less on vineyards,” said Mike Jordan, a partner at 21 Brix and the owner of Old Chautauqua Farms.

Mike Jordan explains the reasoning- a Dunkirk based company, Cott beverage – formerly known as Cliffstar – is lowering their offering price to buy local grapes they use to make juice.

“They’d be happy if I didn’t deliver at all,” explains Jordan. “They have inventory issues”

Jordan says his contract with the company changed recently. He used to sell them between 140 and 160 tons of grapes. Now, he’s only selling around 70 to 80 tons.

“If they continue, a lot of growers will be going out of business. ”

Jordan says Cott has cut their offering price in half in the last year– now offering $117 per ton of grapes.

“It’ll be very difficult for most growers who are dependent on Cliffstar to come anywhere near breaking even.”

That’s because it costs almost double the corporation offering price to produce the grapes. Jordan says its around $250 to produce a ton, meaning each ton he sells to Cott he’s losing $133 dollars.

“There may be a big glut in grapes next year which’ll hurt the whole industry”

He says hurting the industry, hurts the region.

“If you can’t pay your bills, it hurts everyone in the area. It’s not very encouraging now with these big swings. Some years we make a lot of money and others we lose it all.”

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