Supply Chain Characteristics that Impact Traceability

Traceability Takeaways

  • Child labor and forced labor risks have been documented in grape cultivation and harvesting in multiple countries globally. Due to the seasonal demand and labor-intensive nature of grape harvesting, grape producers tend to require large influxes of workers, creating a pull for migrant workers who are often vulnerable populations. However, the specific risks facing workers and the demographics of vulnerable worker populations vary significantly across source countries, so downstream companies sourcing or utilizing grapes should conduct careful mapping to discover the identities and locations of any grape-producing farms in their supply chains. That mapping information should be used to prioritize further due diligence, including efforts to hear directly from migrant workers about their experiences.
  • Most grape producers selling grapes into global markets are commercial establishments with the size and administrative capacity to facilitate the implementation of traceability systems, including technology-driven approaches. While smaller grape producers exist, they tend to sell grapes for local consumption rather than in global supply chains.
  • Grapes tend to have less transformation throughout the supply chain. In fresh fruit supply chains, this can allow for traceability approaches that create unique identifiers for batches of grapes and can facilitate the most robust methods of product tracking, such as full identity preservation. However, even in the case of fresh grapes for global markets, supply chains include producers, packers, exporters, and distributors. Therefore, the interoperability of systems is important to ensure information about the origin of products remains transparent for downstream companies, consumers and regulators.
  • Where grapes are part of more complex supply chains involving significant aggregation and transformation such as in juice and wine production, traceability methods that account for this mixing such as mass balance and controlled blending are likely to be more effective approaches.

Nature of Labor Rights Risk/Vulnerable Workers

Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by U.S. Government

Child Labor cited by U.S. Government

Risk of Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by other source

Risk of Child Labor cited by other source

Documented presence of migrant workers

Documented presence of other vulnerable workers

Documented presence or significant likelihood of third-party labor recruiters

Features of Production and Supply Chain

Large numbers of dispersed, unorganized, or informal small producers or other worksites

Multiple points of aggregation, co-mingling, and/or transformation across supply chain

Complex/opaque supply chains and/or lack of vertical integration

High degree of flexibility in procurement practices of downstream entities

  • Most producers for global export markets are large-scale commercial operations. Although operating at a commercialized scale, there is also a large number of small and medium-size farms in grape production, fragmented amongst many owners. In California, 881,000 acres are dedicated to viticulture as of 2021, however, some of the largest grape growers maintain only 1,000 or less than 1,000 acres.15Morris, Roger. “Meet the Grape Growers of Napa Valley.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 4 Apr. 2013,
  • Year-long demand for grapes in developed countries has created seasonal global supply chains; for example, once winter hits California, the United States and Canada turn to Peru to source their grapes.16Edmiston, Jake. “What Your Fruit Has Been Through: A Green Grape’s Journey Through a Global Supply Chain on Edge.” Financial Post, 7 Feb. 2022, Points of aggregation occur in the stages of packing, initial shipping, transhipping at ports of connection, and buying at the destination terminal, where shipped goods are stored and eventually procured for sale.17Edmiston, Jake. “What Your Fruit Has Been Through: A Green Grape’s Journey Through a Global Supply Chain on Edge.” Financial Post, 7 Feb. 2022,
  • In the wine industry, a fragmented array of grape producers maintains flexible procurement contracts with many wineries, reducing the capacity for oversight across the value chain and preserving an unstable demand structure. These contracts codify a wide range of unique discretionary agreements, including the duration of buyer-supplier relationships, the price and quantity of fruit, how to account for unpredictable weather and other supply shocks, and which services are provided by whom.18Morris, Roger. “Meet the Grape Growers of Napa Valley.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 4 Apr. 2013,
  • Procurement practices of upstream entities for grape products (including raisins and wine), such as wholesale distributors, typically operate on a ‘just-in-time’ system in an attempt to align with trends in market demand and minimize transportation and shipping costs.19Pepitone, Sarah. “Global Supply Chain Issues Plague the Wine Industry.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 25 Oct., 2021,

Distribution of Labor Risk in Various Production Areas

Scale or nature of risk is strongly associated with certain types of suppliers/entities

Scale or nature of risk varies significantly based on geographic area of production

Scale or nature of risk is present across multiple tiers or nodes of supply chain (including in associated downstream or upstream goods)

  • Although labor risks have only been identified in a few grape-producing countries, these risks are associated with the labor-intensive nature of grape production and are not specific to any specific geographic area.
  • Labor rights risks are concentrated in the agricultural production/harvest node.

Linked Upstream and Downstream Risks

Risk in Nodes in Grape Production

Grapes may be sold to retailers as whole fruit. These grapes are packed either on the premises or at a separate plant and, after transport, are sold fresh via retailers or wholesalers.20Edmiston, J. “What your fruit has been through: A green grape’s journey through a global supply chain on edge.” Financial Post, 7 Feb 2022,

Grapes may also be sold directly or via an aggregator/trader to a processing facility, where they are processed into products such as raisins and grape juice.21Ravi Kumar, KN, Babu, SC. “Value chain management under COVID-19: responses and lessons from grape production in India,” J Soc Econ Dev, 24 Mar 2021, 23(Suppl 3):1-23.

Wine has a distinct supply chain. Grapes grown for wine-making purposes are shipped to a wine producer (or processed into wine onsite at the vineyard).22Wine Supply Chain Traceability. GS1, 2008.

Cultivation and Harvesting



Wholesale and Retail

Associated Downstream Goods and Consumer Sectors

Food and Beverage

Grapes are sold for personal consumption. Some grapes are used in the production of alcoholic beverages and other processed food and drinks.

Top Global Countries

  1. Peru23 List of exporters for the selected product in 2021. Product: 080610 Fresh grapes.
  2. Netherlands
  3. Italy
  4. Chile
  5. United States of America
  6. China
  7. South Africa
  8. Spain
  9. Australia
  10. India
  1. China24Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Crops and livestock products. 2021.
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. United States of America
  5. France
  6. Turkey
  7. India
  8. Chile
  9. Argentina
  10. South Africa

Examples & Resources: Traceability Efforts Associated With Grapes