How much are you willing to spend on table grapes? Not as much as one Japanese grocery store, who just paid the equivalent of $11,000 USD — over $14,000 Canadian — for a single cluster of about 30 Ruby Roman grapes. Takamaru Konishi, owner of Kurashi Kaientai supermarket in Hyogo prefecture, placed the record-breaking bid on Thursday, telling the Japan Times that he is “very much honoured” to have won the auction.
But what makes them worth the extravagant price tag?
Specially cultivated in Japan, Ruby Roman grapes are a high-end varietal known for their ping-pong-ball size and heightened sweetness. They’re also meant to bring prestige and luck, making grapes from the first yield a hot-ticket item, with later harvests also selling at higher-than-usual price points.
And the rules are strict when the time comes each year to qualify for auction: each grape must weigh at least 20 grams, be 18 percent sugar and a particular cherry-red colour. It’s so exacting that some years will yield no auctionable bundles.
Reports say the store will put them on display before handing them out; and at roughly $467 per grape, it’s a store sample worth lining up for.