A Million Dollar Wine From Space
With its price, you may say it's from heaven
This wine is from out of space, and it's not my imagination. I literally mean every word of what I just said. I repeat, "This bottle of wine is out of this world, literally." And the price it commands is suitably stratospheric.
Christie's said on Tuesday that it is selling a bottle of French wine that spent more than a year in outer space aboard the International Space Station. The auction house estimates the wine connoisseur to bring in as much as $1 million.
The Petrus 2000 is among the 12 bottles sent in orbit in November 2019 by researchers examining the potential for extraterrestrial agriculture. It returned to Earth after 14 months, subtly matured, according to wine experts who sampled it at a tasting in France.
According to Tim Tiptree, the International Director of Christie's wine and spirits department said the space-aged wine that especially 'matured in a unique environment' of near zero-gravity aboard the space station was a one-of-a-kind piece and would attract many collectors.
The space travel turned a $10,000 bottle of wine known for its complexity, ripe tannins, silky, and flavors of black cherry, leather, and cigar box into a scientific novelty, and still a fine bottle of exquisite wine.
The Petrus 2000 is a very harmonious wine that has the ability to age superbly; the reason why they chose it for this experiment,' Tiptree said. 'It's very encouraging that it was delicious on its return to Earth.'
Private space startup Space Cargo Unlimited arranged to send the wine bottle in orbit in November 2019 as part of its mission to make plants on Earth more resilient to climate change and diseases by exposing them to a new stressful environment. Researchers also wanted to understand the aging, fermentation, and bubbles in the wine.
At a taste test in March, conducted at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux, France, a dozen wine connoisseurs compared the space-traveled wines to a bottle from the same vintage that had stayed in a cellar and didn't travel to space.
The testers noted a difference that was hard to explain. Jane Anson, a writer with wine publication - Decanter, said that the wine that remained on Earth tasted a bit younger than the space version, which was slightly softer and more aromatic.
The wine offered by Christie's in a private sale comes with a bottle of terrestrial Petrus of the same vintage, glasses, a decanter, and a corkscrew crafted from a meteorite. It's all kept in a hand-crafted wooden trunk with the design inspired by science fiction pioneer Jules Verne and the 'Star Trek' universe.
Space Cargo Unlimited will use the proceeds from the sale to fund future research. Other space returned bottles from the dozen remain unopened, but Christie's says there are no plans to sell any of them at this point.
Tiptree says the price estimate of $1 million reflects the sale is likely to appeal to a mix of wine connoisseurs, space lovers, and the wealthy class who enjoy collecting 'ultimate experiences'.
The set includes a bottle of 2000 Petrus that remained on Earth, so the buyer can compare the two wines should they decide to open the one that traveled in space.
'I would hope that they will decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately,' Tiptree said. 'It's at its peak drinking, but this wine will last probably another two or three decades because of the price it demands.'
So, if you are one of the lucky people on this planet who can win that auction, how long would you like to keep it? And, given a chance, who would you share the bottle with?