Coral Champagne has been the hottest selling cherry variety in California in recent years, according to accounts from nurseries, brokers, and growers.
Dave Wilson Nursery, a commercial tree fruit nursery headquartered in Hickman, California, reports that Coral Champagne has led their cherry tree sales in the last eight years.
A Sacramento, California, fruit tree broker and nursery representative agreed with Dave Wilson Nursery’s assessment, as well as growers and other industry members.
“It’s been widely popular because it’s earlier than Bing, requires low chilling, has a rosy red color and wonderful flavor,” said Dave Wilson Nursery’s Stacy Anderson.
“Coral Champagne has really taken off in my area,” said Janet Caprile, UC Extension farm advisor for Contra Costa County. She estimated that half of the acreage in her county is planted to Coral Champagne, and much of what’s been planted in the Sacramento Delta region is Coral Champagne.
Stockton’s Jeff Colombini, grower and president of Lodi Farming Company, said lots of growers are still planting Coral Champagne.
Both Anderson and Henry Sanguinetti, Sacramento fruit tree broker and nursery representative, are working with a handful of growers testing small trials of Coral Champagne trees in the Pacific Northwest.
Sanguinetti’s Northwest trials are about seven years old, and the blocks appear to be producing well. “Most of the growers like the variety,” he said, noting that a few large Northwest growers are planning to expand their small trials.
“More and more growers in the Northwest are trying Coral Champagne,” Anderson said. “From what I see, it could be a nice cherry for the Northwest.”
For now, Coral Champagne has cornered the cherry tree market in California, and sales don’t appear to be slowing down—until the next best variety is developed.
“With all the trees that have been sold, I expect Coral Champagne will soon surpass production of Tulare, and eventually Bing,” Anderson said.