Japanese person buys a bunch of grapes for about $11,000, or $350 per grape

We have two items from Japan this afternoon. The first comes from the Guardian, which announces that a single bunch of grapes sold for 1.1 million yen. That’s the equivalent, they say, of £8350 pounds, or about $11,000 in U.S. currency. Of course these aren’t your ordinary grapes: they’re huge (about the size of a ping-pong ball), and Wikpedia says this:

Every grape is checked strictly to guarantee its quality, with certification seals placed on those thus selected. The Ruby Roman has strict rules for selling; each grape must be over 20g and over 18% sugar. In addition, a special “premium class” exists which requires the grape to be over 30g and where the entire fruit bunch must weigh at least 700g. In 2010, only six grapes qualified for premium status while in 2011, no grapes made the cut.

Six grapes met the “premium class standard.” No wonder they’re so expensive! 30 grams, by the way, is over an ounce. I’d love to taste one, but at $350 per grape, I don’t think I’ll be doing that any time soon.  But some lucky people will, as the Guardian reports:

Seasonal fruit offerings in Japan routinely attract large sums from buyers seeking social prestige, or from shop owners keen to attract customers.

The buyer of Thursday’s bunch promised to dole out samples to a few fortunate patrons.

“These are truly Ruby Roman gems,” bidder Takamaru Konishi from western Japan told the press.

“We will display them at our store before giving our customers a sample taste,” he said.

Here’s what they look like:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 12.56.03 PM

And be sure to watch this video, which lists the five most expensive fruits in the world (four are boutique fruit from Japan, and the Ruby Romans are only #5). You’ll be surprised at #1!

h/t: Gravelinspector


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    That pineapple is horse shit 🤑

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the Japanese are nearly insane on the price of some of these things. When we lived in Okinawa (usually cheaper than mainland) my wife paid 85 cents per ea. for Brussels sprouts. I recall shopping with a couple in Japan and she was excited about a deal on Cantaloupe – $35 each.

  3. darrelle
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I have very fond memories of the food from my time visiting Japan. The grapes and the pears from a street market within walking distance were amazing. Far better than any I had had before.

    The grapes were not quite this size, but close! The pears were also huge and each carefully protected in its own snug little safety jacket. My 1st thought was that, as so often seems to be the case, that they both would be relatively tasteless, bred for size and not taste. Not so! Both were much more tasty than any other of their kind I’ve had before or since. Huge, unblemished and very tasty.

    The proclivity for attention to detail is very evident everywhere in Japan, from my experience. Tonkatsu, quickly a favorite of mine, fried to uniform perfection every time. Even the freaking McDonald’s had perfect food. The real things looked better than the pictures! Perfect 1/4 pounders with cheese with much better quality of beef than in the US, every french fry looking like it was individually and very carefully fried to uniform perfection.

    This compulsion to strive for perfection seems to include a strong need to contribute to society as well. It was most evident when seeing the homeless people living in the trees around the perimeter of the larger parks. Their makeshift shelters of cardboard and other scraps were meticulously and neatly constructed, and beautifully decorated with the same reserve and craftsmanship found in nicely appointed permanent homes. Some very admirable traits.

  4. jrhs
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I love fruits, but I’d rather have a pair of boots than Ruby Roman grapes.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    $11k for grapes?

    Geez, do these grapes come with geisha to feed ’em to you and an imperial palace to eat ’em in?

  6. Scott Draper
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    They were probably sour.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      🙂 So says the next-highest bidder, anyway.

  7. Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Gosh that’s a weird food fetish. Makes me wonder if I could round up some sort of specialty from here in my cloud forest to send to Japan for thousands of dollars.

    I do have a secret tree with potential. It has a fruit whose local name means “snots from a person’s nose”. Once the fruit is opened, it has the texture and flavor of that sweet clear liquid stuff they put around chocolate-covered cherries. The best trees make an absolutely enchanting feast, though each fruit is only about the size of a big blueberry. I have lots of them in my yard. Bats are their normal patrons.

    If I make a fortune on this I will have you to thank!

    • BobTerrace
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      …that sweet clear liquid stuff they put around chocolate-covered cherries.

      Sugar water? (Or its corn sweetener equivalent)

      • Posted July 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        No no no!!!! It’s a complex and subtle delicious thing, or at least it used to be back in my childhood memories….I haven’t had those cherries in many years, though.

        • ratabago
          Posted July 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Many years ago one of my friends, a dessert chef by the name of John Locke, used to make these things from scratch. The pitted cherries were preserved in a 50:50 mixture of 30% sugar syrup, and good quality liqueur kirsch. Flavours from the cherries leak into the fluid, making it very rich and complex.

          Then it’s just a matter of lining the moulds with good quality chocolate. Letting it set. Then drop in one cherry per mould, topped with the liquid the cherries were preserved in, and sealing with more good quality chocolate.

          Sadly, I lost contact with John a couple of decades ago when he went to the Middle East to work in a luxury resort. I used to wonder how they coped with his desserts, which all seemed to feature ample quantities of spectacular booze.

  8. Posted July 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Densuke watermelons are overrated. I’d prefer a premium cigar.

  9. rickflick
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I wish my local grocery would adopt just a bit of the Japanese characteristic that leads them to produce good fruit and other products. The pairs I’ve been getting are usually just barely edible anymore. There appears to be no attempt at excellence. The goal seems to be just getting by. That’s all we’ve got – take it or leave it.

    • Dave
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      The goal is make it cheap, cheap, cheap. Make it grow fast, ship readily, look colorful. Taste? Not so much.

      • Newish Gnu
        Posted July 8, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        A fascinating book is “Tomatoland” by (can’t remember author) about the fresh tomato industry in Florida. I already knew those things were bright red and tasteless but I didn’t know about the extent of the environmental degradation and the, yes, slavery of some of the workers.

        I haven’t purchased a supermarket tomato in several years. Made my garden bigger and make tomato sauce every summer. And I freeze the end of season green ones for green tomato stew. (Put in beans, carrots, corn, celery, and some kind of meat if you want. Tastes great. I never make it the same way twice.)

  10. jeffery
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Apparently it’s not just the U.S. where some people have more money than they know what to do with, and more money than brains!

  11. S.K.Graham
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Clever marketing scam to convince unwise rich people to part with there money.

  12. Rod
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Makes me wonder about priorities when someone spends my entire yearly family food budget (we are a small family!) on a single bunch of grapes.
    They may be The Best Grapes in the World, but
    $11,000 US (or about $14000 C$) for one bunch?
    I can pick fresh raspberries at the farm 1 km. from my door, make enough jam to have some every morning for a year for about $40.
    Homemade raspberry jam on a toasted scone in February, with a nice cup of coffee, is divine, and there is still lots of change from $14000.

  13. Posted July 11, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    What does one *do* with such items? I can’t imagine even spending $100 on fruit, never mind …

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