Single bunch of grapes sells for US$11,000 in Japan

July 10 , 2019

A bunch of Ruby Roman grapes was won for a whopping 1.2 million yen (about US$11,000) in an auction in Kanazawa, Japan, on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Takashi Hosokawa, the manager of a chain of hot spring hotels in Ishikawa Prefecture, was the winning bidder.

"We offered 1.2 million yen to mark the 12 years and to celebrate Reiwa's first auction," the news network quoted him saying. Hosokawa's comment was referring to the country's new era, which began in May with the coronation of Emperor Naruhito.

"We would like to convey to our customers our exhilaration when we held the (box of) grapes", he was quoted saying.

Hosokawa's prized box held 24 plump, deep red grapes. The network noted that this category in particular is prized for its juiciness, high sugar content and low acidity.

Yet it's still the most expensive bunch since the breed came to market 12 years ago, the auctioneers commented.

Ruby Roman grapes were developed in Ishikawa and first came to market in 2008. According to the news source, they've been hugely popular ever since; only a select number are sold to keep demand and exclusivity levels high.

In fact, only around 26,000 will be sold this year. Fortunately for consumers, not all will go for the record prices seen at the Kanazawa auction.

The Asian country has a trend of expensive fruits, prized for their appearance and taste. These are a key luxury good in Japan, typically bought as gifts or for promotional purposes by businesses.

"People purchase these expensive fruits to demonstrate how special their gifts are to the recipients, for special occasions or for someone socially important, like your boss," Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNN in 2017.

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