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Wine aficionados looking for a something exotic to pour into their glass might want to take note of a special bottle going up for purchase that is literally out of this world — because it's been aged in outer space.
This lucky cache of Bordeaux hopped the flight to the International Space Station and spent over a year in Earth orbit as part of an experiment to see if space wine aged faster or tasted different in that extreme environment. Now a single bottle from this stash is being offered for sale by Christie's auction house.
The rare example of Pétrus 2000 was sent up to the space station 250 miles above our planet by Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU) and pre-sale estimates indicate that it could haul in an estimated $1 million via Christie’s Private Sales, with the proceeds going to fund future space missions.
“This bottle of Pétrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine,” Tim Triptree, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, noted in a statement this week. "Christie’s is delighted to bring this first of its kind bottle to the market and to support Space Cargo Unlimited to continue their research into the future of agricultural practices.”
Per Christie’s official description, their “space-aged” bottle comes with a deluxe handcrafted trunk, an elegant decanter, two glasses, and a corkscrew crafted from a meteorite. For a cool million, they’re also offering a terrestrial bottle of regular Pétrus from 2000 (worth thousands of dollars itself) to allow the discriminating buyer to sample and compare the two themselves.
Back in November of 2019, researchers packaged 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine up to the space station aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft to study how microgravity affects wine as it ages. Bottles remained in custom sealed canisters at the orbiting structure before heading back to Earth on a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft this past January.
According to a new study, this intrepid vino stored at the International Space Station as part of SCU’s Mission WISE for 438 days did taste different than its Earth-bound counterparts and actually aged faster.
Twelve panelists participated in the taste test after the wine dropped back down from outer space, including professional wine testers, who noted some distinct differences in the cosmic grape juice when compared to unaltered Earth-aged bottles.
"Unanimously, the two wines were considered to be great wines, which means that despite the 14-month stay on the International Space Station, the 'space wine' was very well evaluated sensorially," said researcher Philippe Darriet with the University of Bordeaux in a statement.
"Differences were perceived concerning the color of the wines. Concerning aroma and taste components: the two wines were described with a rich vocabulary attesting to remarkable olfactory and gustatory complexity; sensory dimensions of sweetness, harmony and persistence were particularly noted.”
Nicolas Gaume, co-founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited stated that proceeds of the sale from the out-of-this-world wine will allow them to continue Mission WISE, with six more space-set experiments to help invent the agriculture and food needed for tomorrow’s Earth.