USA TODAY US Edition
Space-aged wine expected to fetch $1M
What does space wine taste like? Well, for $1 million, you can try for yourself.
After returning from orbit in January, a bottle of French wine that aged for more than a year on the International Space Station is being sold by Christie’s, the auction house said Tuesday.
The bottle of Pétrus 2000 was one of a dozen bottles of Bordeaux that were launched into space in November 2019 and spent more than a year in orbit as part of a series of experiments in agricultural science.
“After spending almost 440 days in space, or the equivalent of 300 trips to the moon, legendary Bordeaux wine Pétrus comes back having been transformed in a way which is, literally, out of this world,” said Nicolas Gaume, CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited, the European startup that sent the wine to space.
Christie’s said the wine is available for immediate purchase through a private sale and proceeds from the sale will go toward future research. The Associated Press reported the auction house expects the sale to be worth $1 million.
The bottle is also being sold with “a unique trunk, imagined and handcrafted by the Parisian Maison d’Arts Les Ateliers Victor, alongside a bottle of terrestrial Pétrus 2000, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite.”
Researchers conducting the experiment sent the case of Bordeaux to study how space, with differing levels of gravity and radiation than on Earth, would affect the wines’ aging. Gaume previously said climate change’s impact on agriculture was among the motivations for pursuing the research.
“This bottle of Pétrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine,” said Tim Triptree, international director of Christie’s Wine & Spirits Department.
Hundreds of merlot and cabernet sauvignon vine snippets were also sent into space. In all, six experiments were launched “to research how plants adapt to the stress of space conditions to develop innovative solutions for the future of food and agriculture.”
Pétrus 2000 was selected for aging because it is a predominately mono-varietal wine and has a “documented history that allows the effects of the time that the wine spent in space to be measured.”