These Japanese Grapes Cost More Than a Semester at College—And a Grocery Store Is Giving Them Away for Free
A single cluster of Ruby Roman grapes sold for 1.1 million yen (about $10,900 USD) on July 7 at a wholesale market in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.
Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.
At the risk of Othering our neighbors to the East, we will say this: Japan is into some weird shit.
We're not talking about the nation's stereotypical proclivity for kawaii creatures and vending machine peccadilloes. We're talking about the outright insane value that the Japanese place on certain fruit.
You've heard about the cuboid watermelons and the Yubari melons that regularly fetch prices as high as $160 USD each.
As of this week, you can add to that a single cluster of Ruby Roman grapes that sold for 1.1 million yen (about $10,900 USD) on July 7 at a wholesale market in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, according to The Japan Times.
Yes, a single cluster of 30 grapes—which works out to about $366 USD per grape.
Now, there are a number of primo wines out there that also command stupidly high prices, but even they don't often achieve these heights. Hell, you could get yourself two bottles of 1982 Lafite Rothschild for that price, with plenty of change left over—and these grapes won't even get you drunk.
So, what makes the grapes so special? For starters, the ping pong ball-sized grapes are only grown in Ishikawa Prefecture, where they were developed. The first batch of them went on sale in 2008, when they sold for the equivalent of $26 USD per grape. Those grapes must contain at least 18 percent sugar and weigh 20 grams each.
Remarkably, the record-breaking grapes won't be locked up behind glass to naturally ferment into wine, either. The Kurashi Kaientai supermarket, which placed the winning bid, will display the grapes at its store and give them out to customers for free. Honestly, what better way is there to celebrate nature's bounty than by ascribing wildly inappropriate value to its (literal) fruits, and then handing them out Robin Hood-style?
Japan, please continue to let your freaky fruit flag fly.