After more than a year on the International Space Station, a case of very pricey French merlot made its safe return to Earth in January. And now, thanks to Christie’s auction house, one bottle of that space wine is for sale. If you’re planning on putting in a bid for the wine, expect it to fetch more than $1 million.
To be certain, the wine sent into orbit had value before leaving our planet. Château Pétrus Pomerol 2000 goes for a little more than $8,000 a bottle, according to wine-searcher.com.
While it may seem that sending wine into orbit was just to add value, it was done in the name of science. At least, that’s what Nicolas Gaume says. He’s the CEO of Space Cargo Limited, the start-up company that paid to put the wine into space.
Recently, there was a taste test at the University of Bordeaux’s Institute of Vine and Wine Science that compared some of the returned bottles with the same vintage that had stayed grounded.
“They were both beautiful,” says Jane Anson, a wine writer specializing in Bordeaux wines told EuroNews. “The one that had remained on Earth was a little younger than the one that had been to space.”
It’s not a total surprise that one had some tread on its tires. The bottles traveled more than 185 million miles during 438 days in space, according to Space Cargo Unlimited.
Before you say that $1 million dollars for a single bottle of wine is out of bounds, know you also get a bottle of the same vintage that didn’t go to space, a decanter, glasses, and a corkscrew made from a meteorite.
Take heart if you’re not the top bidder at the auction. You still may get to sample wine influenced by spaceflight in the future. Along with the bottles, the company also set 320 cabernet sauvignon and merlot canes, or vines, into space. On their return, these canes actually grew faster than earthbound vines. The idea was that vines better able to resist the stress of zero gravity would be better equipped to handle the challenges of climate change, according to Gaume. Money from the sale of the space wine will go to fund future research by Space Cargo Unlimited.
If you happen to be the winner of the auction, you might not want to open that bottle anytime soon. Wine experts say it might hit its ideal maturity around 2050.
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