Why Are Ruby Roman Grapes So Absurdly Expensive in Japan?

ruby roman grapes on white background
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Written by August Croft

Published: November 5, 2022

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Alongside Sekai-Ichi apples and square watermelons, you may also find Ruby Roman grapes sold in Japan. Prized for their size and flavor, these grapes are often ridiculously expensive and hard to come by. But why are these grapes so much money, and are they grown in a specific way that makes them special?

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about Ruby Roman grapes so that you can fully understand them and why they are so expensive. We will address their cost and how they originated in the first place. Finally, we will talk about what they taste like and if it is possible for you to purchase them for yourself. Let’s get started now! 

Ruby Roman Grapes: A Brief History

Ruby Roman Grapes

Ruby Roman grapes from Japan.


Grown exclusively in the Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan, Ruby Roman grapes sell for a hefty sum. Carefully sold for the first time in 2008, Ruby Roman grapes happened almost accidentally. This isn’t to say that these grapes weren’t expected or carefully researched in order to be commercialized. It’s that they weren’t growing under sterile and scientific conditions. This grape cultivar occurred naturally, in a rare and still not entirely understood pollination process. 

The Ruby Roman grape was created through natural fertilization. This was likely caused by pollen in the air in the research center where these grapes were being grown. A cross between red grapes and an enormous black grape variety known as Fujiminori created this grape cultivar. Despite months of careful attempts at artificial pollination, this cultivar manifested itself naturally, with all scientific and manmade attempts failing.

In 2005, a mother vine of Ruby Roman grapes was chosen. Cuttings from this grapevine were distributed to a variety of other places, and a Ruby Roman research group was formed. This particular group decided on and set the standards for these one-of-a-kind grapes. This included their size, color, and sugar content requirements before being sold.

How Much Do Ruby Roman Grapes Cost?

Given the absolute rarity and strict standards set by the research group in charge of creating Ruby Roman grapes in the first place, the average bunch of them costs at least $300. In fact, the very first auction of these grapes held in 2008 sold a single bunch for nearly $700. The cost of these grapes varies depending on the growing season. It also depends on the size and sugar content of the grapes themselves. 

In fact, by 2020, a single bunch of these grapes sold for over $12,000, making a single grape roughly $400. They are not commonly sold either, given their limited supply. An annual average of only 20,000 bunches of Ruby Roman grapes pass the strict standards and tests set for commercially sold crops. The number of bunches that make the cut also heavily influences the cost of these grapes. Let’s talk more about some of those influences now.

Why Are Ruby Roman Grapes So Expensive?

ruby roman grapes

When sold at auction for the first time, a single bunch of Ruby Roman grapes went for over $600.


Not only is rarity one of the reasons why Ruby Roman grapes are so expensive, but their growing process is also highly developed. This particular grape cultivar is only grown in one location in the world. You can’t exactly visit this vineyard because of their strict rules and regulations surrounding potential theft and violation of the way that these grapes grow. 

In fact, the Ruby Roman scientific group in charge of the cultivation of these beauties has developed a type of computer technology to gauge how much sunlight these crops are getting. These vineyards are tended to daily, with special care instructions given to each vineyard attendant. 

As the grapes grow, individual leaves and grapes are removed from the plant in order to ensure the survival of the bunches. This careful pruning also helps the grapes receive the amount of sunlight that they need. Some bunches need cover if they are receiving too much light. It is a delicate balance, especially when you consider the fact that these grapes are not grown anywhere else in the world and there are a limited number of plants, to begin with. 

What Do Ruby Roman Grapes Taste Like?

According to the few people in the world that have actually tasted these grapes, the sweetness and juiciness of Ruby Roman grapes are unmatched. One of the reasons why these groups are so expensive is because of their strict growing practices and selling requirements, one of which is their sugar content. 

In order to pass and actually be sold, these grapes need to have at least 18% sugar in each individual grape. They also need to weigh a certain amount. Their size is another selling point of these grapes in the first place. The flavor and large size certainly make Ruby Romans special!

Where Can I Find Ruby Roman Grapes?

ruby roman grapes

Perhaps one day, Ruby Roman grapes will be the next big grape variety, commercially available and sold around the world.


Unfortunately, finding Ruby Roman grapes is extremely difficult. You can find them at certain specialty produce markets in Japan or on websites that also offer specialty produce. Some of these websites can deliver to the United States or elsewhere in the world. But the sheer rarity of these grapes is one of the reasons why they are so expensive in the first place. 

Perhaps one day Ruby Roman grapes will be the next big grape variety, commercially available and sold around the world. However, this is one of the reasons why this particular grape is so special. It is only grown in one specific location to a very strict standard and only for a brief period of time! 

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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