Add a case of wine, along with legos and a lightsaber, to the list of surprising objects that have been launched into space. Researchers for a private company called Space Cargo Unlimited sent a case of Chateau Pétrus wine to the International Space State for 14 months in an effort to “better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine,” according to the AP. Now one of those bottles might sell for around $1 million at Christie’s Auction House.
In November 2019, Space Cargo Unlimited sent the famous French wine to space as part of an “effort to make plants on Earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses.” More than a year later, in January 2021, the wine has returned to Earth, and experts who sampled it at a tasting say that the flavor was indeed altered by the microgravity of the space station.
Sommeliers at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux sampled a bottle of Pétrus Pomerol back in April. Travel and Leisure reported that experts said the space wine “evoked scents like cured leather, ‘burnt-orange’ or a campfire.” At the time, Jane Anson, one of the panelists, told the AP that “the one that had been up into space, the tannins had softened, the side of more floral aromatics came out.”
A bottle of Petrus wine aged here on Earth usually costs thousands of dollars, but Christie’s predicts that the bottle aged in space will auction for around $1 million dollars. That’s a hefty price tag for a wine, but for wealthy people who are fascinated by outer space and wine connoisseurs who want to add one of the most unique bottles of wine on the planet to their collection, it might be worth it.
The lucky buyer will also get a bottle of Petrus aged on Earth so that the flavors of each can be compared to each other — if they decide to pop the cork on this exceptional bottle, of course. Tim Tiptree, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, told the AP that the wine is at its peak drinkability right now, but could last a couple more decades. Proceeds from the sale will fund further research at Space Cargo Unlimited, but there are no plans to sell the rest of the space-aged wine in the case.