Christie’s presents a space-aged wine

A bottle of Petrus 2000, aged on the International Space Station for 14 months, is on sale at Christie’s in a specially designed trunk along with a corkscrew made from a meteorite.

There are many things that go into the making of a good wine – soil conditions, climate and the maturing process, are among just a few of the many parameters that determine the flavour and aroma profile. There are still mysteries associated with the process that are not entirely understood by science. Now, reputed UK-based auction house, Christie’s, has unveiled a bottle of Petrus 2000, a wine that has been aged for 14 months on the International Space Station.

The ‘space-aged’ wine has gone under the hammer at Christie’s, presented in a unique trunk crafted by the Parisian Maison d’Arts Les Ateliers Victor, along with a bottle of a standard Petrus 2000, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite.

The special-edition wine is part of a series of experiments undertaken by Space Cargo Unlimited, a European start-up, under an applied-research programme called WISE that seeks to research how plants adapt to space conditions to develop innovations for the future of agriculture on Earth. Recreating an Earth-like environment in near-zero gravity helps further the understanding of the evolution of key components of wine, such as yeast, bacteria and polyphenols.

On November 12, 2019, 12 bottles of wine were sent to the ISS for 14 months, before they returned to Earth on January 14, 2021. In March, a panel of 12 wine professionals and scientists analysed the bottles at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin in Bordeaux, and found remarkable differences in the colour, aroma and taste.

The proceeds from the sale will go towards funding similar research in the future.

Nicolas Gaume, co-founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Christie’s and propose a unique artefact of spatial research. 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. The proceeds of the sale will allow us to continue Mission WISE, six experiments in space to help invent the agriculture and food we need for tomorrow on Earth. It is our conviction that there is no Planet B and we intend to pave the way for our future by leveraging microgravity and enticing accelerated natural evolutions in a spatial environment. The product of the sale will help attain our objectives.”

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