Christies said on Tuesday that it sells a bottle of French wine that spent more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station. The auction house believes that a wine connoisseur can pay as much as $ 1 million to own it.
Pétrus 2000 is one of 12 bottles launched into space in November 2019 by scientists investigating the potential of extraterrestrial agriculture. It returned 14 months later subtly changed, according to wine experts who tried it at a tasting in France.
Tim Tiptree, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, said the space-aged wine “matured in a unique environment” with almost gravity on board the space station.
The trip turned a $ 10,000 bottle of wine known for its complexity, silky smoothness, ripe tannins and flavors of black cherry, cigar box and leather into a scientific novelty – and still a fine bottle of wine, Tiptree said.
“It’s just a very harmonious wine that has the ability to age amazingly, which is why it was chosen for this experiment,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that it was delicious when he returned to Earth.”
VIDEO: Twelve bottles of Bordeaux wine and more than 300 vines spent several months in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). It is an initiative of a French start-up that hopes to find answers to the problems of global warming pic.twitter.com/M9YkYAfVsI
– AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 25, 2021
Private space launch Space Cargo Unlimited sent the wine into orbit in November 2019 as part of an attempt to make plants on earth more resistant to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses. Researchers also want to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.
At a tasting in March at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux, France, a dozen wine connoisseurs compared one of the space-traveling wines to a bottle from the same vintage that had stayed in a cellar.
They noted a difference that was difficult to describe. Jane Anson, an author with the wine publication Decanter, said that the wine that remained on earth tasted a little younger, the space version was a little softer and more aromatic.
The wine, offered by Christie’s in a private sale, comes with a bottle of ground-level Pétrus of the same vintage, a carafe, glass and a corkscrew made of a meteorite. Everything is kept in a handmade wooden trunk with decor inspired by science fiction pioneer Jules Verne and the universe “Star Trek”.
We are proud to announce that all bottles survived the journey of 438 days and 19 hours on the ISS – more than 300,000,000 km at 28,800 km / h – in ZeroG #missionWISE
– Space Cargo Unlimited (@SpaceCu) January 14, 2021
Proceeds from the sale will fund future research from Space Cargo Unlimited. Several other bottles from the dozen that went to space remain unopened, but Christies says there are no plans to sell any of them.
Tiptree says that the price estimate, “in the region of 1 million dollars”, reflects the likely appeal of sales to a mix of wine connoisseurs, space enthusiasts and the kind of rich people who collect “ultimate experiences”.
The lot includes the bottle of 2000 Peter that remained on earth so that the buyer can compare the two – if they choose to open the one that went into orbit.
“I hope they will decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately,” Tiptree said. “It drinks the most, but this wine will probably be for at least another two or three decades.”