A bottle of wine that spent just over a year in space is being auctioned off
It's expected to fetch $1 million
People have done a lot of odd things with wine in the past. I don't think anything can be odder though than what happened to this bottle of Petrus 2000 that's currently up for sale through Christie's. This particular bottle of fine wine has boldly gone where no wine has gone before; it spent just over a year in space on the International Space Station!
The bottle of Petrus 2000, made from merlot grapes in the Bordeaux region of France, spent 14 months in orbit as part of a privately funded study into the effects the unique conditions of space have on food and agriculture. As part of the study, 12 bottles of wine were sent to the International Space Station in November 2019 by private space company Space Cargo Unlimited. The wine traveled approximately 300 million kilometers (186 million miles) during its 400 days in space, returning to earth in January 2021.
After the wine returned from its journey into the final frontier, it was analysed by scientists and a group of wine-tasters were invited to the University of Bordeaux's wine institute in March 2021 to try a batch of the recently-returned space-affected wine. Jane Anson, a journalist and the author of Inside Bordeaux, was one of those who were invited to try it. "It's hard for me to say if it was better or worse. But it was definitely different," she said to the BBC about her experience of trying the wine. "The aromatics were more floral and more smoky - the things that would happen anyway to Petrus as it gets older."
Anson added that it was a very smart choice to send a bottle of Petrus in particular into space. "There aren't that many wines that can genuinely age for 60, 70, longer years, and Petrus is one of them," she said. Whilst she wasn't sure whether the journey from the earth to space and back again or the effects of zero gravity had any effect on how the wine aged, she was adamant that there was "a clear difference" after its journey into the unknown. Just in case the buyer of the spacefaring bottle wants to check the difference themself, a regular bottle of Petrus 2000 will be included in the sale!
The bottles of wine that were sent into space were a part of Misson WISE, which is run by the aforementioned Space Cargo Unlimited. Co-founder and CEO Nicholas Gaume has a huge interest in the effects of sending food and agriculture into space, as he feels that looking into the effects the zero-gravity environment of space has on our earthbound food will be a part of creating "the agriculture and food we need for tomorrow on Earth".
How much will you need to buy a bottle of wine that's been to space? Christie's are estimating that it could sell for $1 million, with the money from the sale being put back into funding further Space Cargo Unlimited experiments. For comparison, a typical 2000 vintage bottle of Petrus sells for around $6,000. that seems like an insane amount of money for a bottle of wine, but to some of us it could be a once in a lifetime chance to own something that's actually been to space and back. With all of Elon Musk's chatter about sending things to the moon and to Mars, perhaps it might be a good time to invest in a small artifact of a second age of space optimism!