What do you do with a bunch of grapes that was sold for $11,000?
Lately I read about how visitors to a hot spring in central Japan will soon be able to snack on $460 grapes, or rather, grape. That’s after the manager of a chain of hot spring hotels in Ishikawa Prefecture, on the northern coast of the main Honshu island, became the winning bidder for a bunch of Ruby Roman grapes at an auction in Kanazawa on Tuesday.
Takashi Hosokawa will pay 1.2 million yen, or around $11,000, for the 24 plump, deep red grapes prized for their juiciness, high sugar content and low acidity. It’s the most expensive bunch since the breed came to market 12 years ago, the auctioneers said.
“We offered 1.2 million yen to mark the 12 years and to celebrate Reiwa’s first auction,” Hosokawa told reporters, 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.”
Ruby Red grapes were developed in Ishikawa and first came to market in 2008. They’ve been hugely popular ever since, with only a select number being sold to keep demand and exclusivity levels high. Around 26,000 will be sold this year, though not all will go for the record prices seen at the Kanazawa auction.
Expensive fruit, prized for their appearance and taste, are a key luxury good in Japan, 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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