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Ruby Roman Grapes: The World’s Most Expensive Grapes

Ruby Roman grapes are the most expensive grapes on the planet. Meticulously cared for, cultivated, and harvested, it’s incredible what these grapes sell for once they make it to the market. And if they do meet the standards to sell, they could cost you around $90 to $140 a bunch.

But, why are these grapes so expensive, and what makes them so great? Keep reading to see why the Ruby Roman grapes are the priciest in the world.

Bunch of Ruby Roman grapes on a woven platter.
Large Ruby Roman grapes.

History of the Ruby Roman Grapes

In 1995 a group of grape farmers in Ishikawa, Japan, started on their journey to producing a large red grape variety. These farmers submitted a proposal to the Prefectural Agricultural Research Center, where they planted over 400 experimental vines. Out of these 400 vines, only four produced red grapes, and only 1 met the expectations of these grape breeders.

Over the following 14 years, the breeders, farmers, and researchers constantly worked on selective breeding, increasing the grape’s size, enhancing the taste, color, and ease of growing and cultivating.

After making its big debut in 2008, there was a media sensation around the Ruby Roman grapes after a 700-gram bunch sold for 10,000 yen which is $910 American. This crowned it as the most expensive grape throughout the globe. Then again, in 2016, a bunch of 26 grapes sold for 1.1 million yen or $11,000 American.

A Japanese vineyard of bunches of red grapes covered with plastic bags.

The 3 Classes of Ruby Roman Grapes

Ruby Roman is a name that describes a variety of grapes, but every bunch must meet the highest of expectations to meet the qualifications of having said name. Each grape within the bunch needs to weigh 20 grams each and have a sugar content of 18 percent. And these numbers must be exact.

These grapes go through the wringer before going anywhere near a supermarket or luxury fruit market in Japan. They have to meet the size requirement a color requirement and can also bear no blemishes or odd shapes.

Superior Ruby Roman grapes meet the above qualifications and are good to sell.

Special Superior means these grapes have surpassed the above stipulations. Meaning they will have the best color, shape, size, and sugar content over 18 percent.

To be in the Premium class of Ruby Romans, each grape needs to weigh 30 grams, and the bunch has to total over 700 grams in total. This means the bunch of grapes has to meet a level of perfection. And when these grapes meet these perfection requirements, for example, they can sell at auction for around $12,000.

Characteristics of the Ruby Roman Grape

Being anywhere from 20 to 24 grams, the Ruby Romans are much larger than any grape you find at your local grocery store. In fact, you won’t ever see them there. These seedless grapes have a very thin skin and meaty flesh.

Taste

Because of the high standards of the Ruby Roman, each grape has to meet a level of perfection. The grapes are low in acidity and high in sugar, making them one large sweet and juicy bite. These grapes have very little bitterness, and they hold a lovely fragrance.

Closeup of large red grapes.

Eating Ruby Roman Grapes

These grapes are meant for one purpose, eating them off the vine—no fancy recipes, no cooking, slicing, or adding anything to them. And with the price tag that comes with these grapes, you are going to want to enjoy them the way they were intended.

Health Benefits

Grapes are indeed one tasty fruit, and they are pretty great for you too. Grapes offer up many vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies healthy. With antioxidants, grapes help our bodies get rid of the bad stuff and support our immune systems. If you want even more information on what makes grapes so beneficial for us, you can read our article for a more in-depth look.

Growing Ruby Roman Grapes

What makes the Ruby Roman grapes so expensive besides their delicious flavor is the care that goes into cultivating this variety. Ruby Romans are only grown in Ishikawa Prefecture, inside greenhouses, where everything can be monitored and controlled.

The main factors at play are light, temperature, and manicuring each bunch by hand. Each greenhouse has workers who care for these plants, pruning, watering, shaping, and even checking how much light comes into the conservatory with special technology. All to make sure they get the best product possible. These are the grapes that sell for those expensive amounts. But can you grow them at home?

Large red grapes hanging on the vine.

Home Growing Ruby Roman Grapes

You do not have to travel to Japan to get your hands on the Ruby Roman grape. You can grow them in your backyard. These grapes wouldn’t be the most beginner-friendly grapes, but you can do it with proper research.

These grapes vines need to be trained to grow on a trellis or support structure. Along with regular watering, these grapes also need fertilizing throughout the entire growing process, so they are a bit needier than some other varieties.

Ruby Roman grapes can handle hot temperatures but prefer 70 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. On the opposing side, these grapes cannot take areas where it is extremely cold or have long winters, even a slight frost can do a lot of damage.

When planting the grapes, you want to pick an area with well-drained soil and tons sunlight. Waterings depend on your climate. If there is heavy rainfall, the waterings can be light, but if there is little to no rain, make sure the topsoil stays moist and never completely dries out.

When fertilizing, choose a well-balanced fertilizer specifically made for grapes and apply this twice a year, once in the spring and fall.

Pruning is another important aspect when keeping a Ruby Roman grapevine happy and healthy. It is best to prune the vine in March or April, along with the first fertilization of the year.

A grapevine tendril wrapping around a wire trellis.

Purchasing the Ruby Roman Grape

Fruit

Unless you’re growing your Ruby Roman grapes, there is only one place in the world you can get them, Japan. In Japan, you can find these grapes in specialty fruit markets wrapped up with a seal of authentication. You can buy them by the bunch, which can set your back $100, or you can even buy them by singular grape.

Seeds

If you cannot travel to Japan any time soon, you can always purchase seeds to plant and grow your own Ruby Roman grapes. Passion for Plantation offers these seeds online for you to buy. Now, you may not be producing the grapes that can bring in thousands, but you can get the authentic taste of these luxurious fruits.

Wrapping Up Ruby Roman Grapes

Enjoying the Ruby Roman grapes is more of an experience than eating your average snacking grape. So if you have the extra cash and happen to be in Japan, you can get your hands on some of the most expensive grapes on the planet. If that sounds a bit far-fetched for you, you can always try your hand at cultivating them yourself. Even though the thought of purchasing grapes for $11,000 sounds a bit excessive, you have to appreciate the Japanese for putting so much effort into the Ruby Roman grapes and creating something spectacular.

Closeup of a bunch of Ruby Roman grapes.

Have you ever tried a Ruby Roman grape? Let us know in the comments below!