These French wines have just returned to earth from space
These bottles are out-of-this-world. Literally.
Most of us haven't (yet) ventured into the territory of outer space - that is, unlike these French wines.
Last week, twelve bottles of Bordeaux wine and 320 Merlot, along with Cabernet Sauvignon grapevine canes touched down on earth in the west of Tampa, off the Florida coast, on the 15th of January, at approximately 8:27 pm, local time.
The wine and vine canes were stored in the cargo aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, spending between 10 and 14 months in space whilst exposed to microgravity and increased radiation than that on earth.
Sourced from an undisclosed Bordeaux producer, the red wine was stored within metal cylinders for 12 months in space, whereas the two sets of vine canes were stored in the dark, at a humidity level of 70-80%, and a temperature between 0.5 and 8°C.
The bottles and vine canes were sent into space as part of an initiative by the company Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU) and their CANES and CommuBioS projects, under the Mission WISE series of space-related wine experiments.
The CANES project aims to assess the way in which vines deal with stress, and how they can adapt to the changes brought about by climate change. This data will also be used by SCU to explore new “defense strategies” in counteracting disease-related complications such as mildew. In addition to the CANES project, the CommuBioS project will study how microgravity affects sedimentation and bubble dispersion in wine and will examine whether conditions have led to the development of secondary metabolites, colloids and polyphenols in the wine.
Moreover, SCU, in association with partner institutions CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Scientifiques, Toulouse), ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, Bordeaux), and ESA (European Space Agency), will assess the biological mutations that have occurred in the canes exposed to the conditions in space, and compare these to the samples that have remained on planet Earth.
Apart from experimental usage, the wines will also be opened by SCU in February for a private wine-tasting event in Bordeaux.