The following blog post you are about to read will clear up any confusion you have about when to find Cotton Candy grapes in 2020.
When Cotton Candy grapes first hit stores the season only ran from mid August into September.
However things have changed a lot since then. At that point the grapes were only being grown by Grapery in Bakersfield, California - who I believe still grows the best Cotton Candy grapes.
While Grapery has the exclusive license to grow them in the U.S., Cotton Candy grapes are being grown in other countries. Because of that the season has extended.
It also has caused quite a bit of confusion. People are thinking the season is over at different times of year, partly fueled by incorrect information from produce department employees.
This post is going to set the record straight on when you can expect to see Cotton Candy grapes in stores and where they are coming from.
❓ Are They Available Year Round?
No, Cotton Candy grapes are not available year round.
I know. I know. Not what you wanted to hear. That is why it's more important to know when they are available so you don't miss your chance.
Right now they are "3 seasons". In each season Cotton Candy grapes are coming from a different part of the world.
Here is a list of when they are available.
|Time of Year||Origin|
|December-March||South America (Peru, Brazil, Chile)|
? Why Not Available Year Round?
I think the confusion with grapes has been that they are often only labeled as being red, green, and black. That is what we are use to. And we see those names year round.
However the exact variety of red, green, or black grape isn't the same throughout the entire season. Different varieties of those colors appear in the bags. Good news is that more growers are starting to put the variety name on the bag. The most grocery stores aren't advertising that fact, so you have to look at the bag and see if it has a variety name on it.
Cotton Candy grapes have a limited window to when they are harvested and how long they can be stored post harvest. You get them from one region, one time a year, for a couple months.
With Cotton Candy grapes being imported that extends the time of the year they are available here in the United States. Without imports, we would only have them in the late summer from California.
? Grapes from California
As I said at the top of the post, the best Cotton Candy grapes in my opinion are grown by Grapery near Bakersfield, California. They begin hitting the stores around mid August with peak volumes in early September.
It's not just because they are grown the closest to me, making them the freshest Cotton Candy grapes of the season. The reason why I think they are the best is that I believe Grapery puts in every extra effort to go for flavor. They want their grapes to be the best, every single time.
Grapery only picks them as their peak of flavor, not a moment earlier. And you can tell. Every other grower that I have had Cotton Candy grapes from I didn't find that same consistency.
?? Grapes from Mexico
Before the Cotton Candy grapes are in stores from California, there is a Mexican crop. This season has been the most confusing. When the Mexican season ends a lot of misinformed retailer workers have been telling customers they are done til next year. Totally not true.
Mexican Cotton Candy grapes arrive in April with May to mid June being the peak of the supply. You can find them all over the place including Costco.
There are a couple growers they do have USDA Certified Organic Cotton Candy grapes. This is the only time of year to find that certification on Cotton Candy grapes.
I have no qualms with eating the California grown ones that aren't certified organic as I trust in Grapery's farming practices, they just aren't certified organic.
❄️ Grapes in the Winter
Most recently Cotton Candy grapes have become available in the winter months. Typically around mid to late December, I see some Cotton Candy grapes in stores from places like Brazil as well as Peru and sometimes Chile.
Most of the Cotton Candy grapes I have seen in the winter have been from Peru.
I find with this "season" that the quality greatly varies the most. You got several different growers, shipping grapes from far away. I would definitely recommend tasting them before you buy them so you don't go home disappointed.
The latest I have seen them from South America is March. Also note that between December and March, Cotton Candy grapes are not consistently in stores. I see them in waves.
Help us track Cotton Candy grapes. Leave a comment below, telling us where you got them and what country they came from.
To help you remember all this information, we can created an handy infographic that you can save to your phone and refer to when you are wondering about your favorite grapes.