A bunch of Ruby Roman table grapes fetched a record-high 1.1 million yen ($10,900) Thursday in the year's first auction at a wholesale market in the central Japan city of Kanazawa, up from 1 million yen marked last year.
Of the 46 Ruby Roman bunches auctioned off at the market in Ishikawa Prefecture, the highest priced went to a supermarket in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, which also paid a record 3 million yen for a pair of Yubari melons in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in May.
"I am very much honored," said the successful bidder Takamaru Konishi, 37, a buyer at the supermarket, Kurashi Kaientai, adding he hopes it would be heartening news for farmers in Ishikawa Prefecture.
The pricey bunch of grapes will be put on display at the store and given out to shoppers for free, he said.
Ruby Roman, a high-end variety of grapes developed by the Ishikawa prefectural government over a period of 14 years, has a high sugar content of at least 18 percent and would not go on sale at the market unless each grape weighs 20 grams or more, according to the local farmers' cooperative.
In the ninth year since the variety entered the market, the cooperative plans to ship 20,000 bunches by late September.