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$11,000 Grapes Are a New Milestone for Japanese Ultra-Luxury Fruit

July 18, 2019

Japan is home to some of the world’s most conspicuously expensive fruits, with tennis ball-sized strawberries, heart-shaped watermelons and hand-pollinated apples fetching hundreds or thousands of dollars apiece. One of Japan’s most notable ultra-luxury fruit varieties set a new record on July 9, when a single bunch of Ruby Roman grapes containing 24 individual ping pong ball-sized fruits was auctioned for 1.2 million yen—or more than $11,000.

The auction took place in Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture. The Ruby Roman variety was developed by the Ishikawa prefecture government, where it is exclusively grown. Ruby Roman grapes are not put up for sale unless they contain at least 18% sugar and weigh 18 grams apiece.

According to a report from NHK, the buyer was the operator of a chain of hot spring resorts. At $11,000 for 24 grapes, the per-fruit price comes out to more than $458.

High-end fruits in Japan are often given as extravagant gifts, often as part of building business relationships. In May of this year, two Yubari King melons were auctioned and sold for just over $45,000—more than $22,500 each. The Melons are reportedly hand rotated and cleaned over the course of 100 days while they grow, resulting in a fruit that is perfectly unblemished and spherical.

Elsewhere in Asia, the BBC reported that a Thai durian was auctioned in June of this year for a price of close to $48,000.

Image: Ruby Roman Club