The manager of a hotel in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture has purchased $11,000 in grapes.
The purchase of 24 grapes for $460 a piece will go to guests at his hotel, who will have the chance to eat one of the most expensive pieces of fruit in the world.
The hotel manager, Takashi Hosokawa, paid 1.2 million yen (approx. $11,000 USD) for 24 particularly plump and sweet deep red grapes. The grapes are highly sought after for their particular juiciness and sweetness, combined with a very low level of acidity. Grapes like this are rare, and this is the must expensive bunch of grapes sold to date after they entered the market 12 years ago. “We offered 1.2 million yen to mark the 12 years and to celebrate Reiwa’s first auction,” Hosokawa told reporters. Hosokawa was referring to Japan’s entry into a new era through the coronation of Emperor Naruhito in May of 2019, marking the beginning of the Reiwa era.
The “Ruby Roman” red grapes are grown in Ishikawa, but they’ve only been available since 2008. They are very popular, but only a select few are actually sold in order to keep demand high. Fruits that are uniquely shaped or colored are quite common in Japan as a gifts for special occasions. Fruits like the Ruby Roman grape are grown under specific conditions in order to promote certain characteristics. This process is complicated and requires serious attention to detail, which is a large part of why the fruits are so expensive.
The real question is why Hosokawa would pay so much money for 24 grapes. One very good reason would be the publicity that people can get for their businesses from purchases like these. In the end, the decision likely makes perfect economic sense for Hosokawa.