Are you a wine connoisseur and a space lover? Well, get your wallet ready. The world's only space-aged wine is hitting the auction block at Christie's — but it'll cost you.
In November 2019, Space Cargo Unlimited launched an exciting experiment — 12 bottles of Petrus 2000 were sent up to the International Space Station for a 14-month stay, so researchers could analyze the effects of microgravity on wine. After their stint in space, they hitched a ride back to Earth in January 2021 and were sent home to France.
Then, a panel of 12 sommeliers at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux opened a bottle to drink the space-aged wine, reporting all sorts of intriguing scent and tasting notes, from cured leather to burnt orange. But now, you don't have to take their word for it.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images Mayor of Bordeaux Pierre Hurmic tastes wine from "anonymised" bottles of Petrus including one that went in space, at the University of Bordeaux Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin (ISVV - Institute of Vine & Wine Science) in Villenave-d'Ornon, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, southwestern France, on March 1, 2021. - It has come back from afar after a trip in the extreme conditions of space: in Bordeaux, bottles of Petrus and vine shoots are analysed by researchers who are developing an experiment on micro-gravity, the accelerating potential of more agriculture "resilient" on earth.
Space Cargo Unlimited is auctioning off one of the bottles through Christie's, who expects it to fetch as much as $1 million. For reference, a regular bottle of Petrus 2000 costs around $7,239, according to Wine-Searcher.com at the time of publishing. The most expensive wine ever bought at auction was a $558,000 bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti, sold by Sotheby's in 2018. Turns out, sending wine to space really ups the ante! In fact, it'll likely be cheaper to travel to space yourself than to buy this wine — a ticket on Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic will reportedly cost $250,000 or so.
But the lot also includes a bottle of standard Earth-aged Petrus 2000 (so you can compare the two, of course), a decanter, wine glasses, and a corkscrew made from a meteorite, all housed in a custom-made wooden trunk decorated with space-themed motifs inspired by Jules Verne and Star Trek.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images Philippe Darriet, Director of the Oenology Research Unit Institute of Vines, Science and Wine (ISVV) holds a bottle of Petrus, at the University of Bordeaux Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin (Institute of Vine & Wine Science) in Villenave-d'Ornon, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, southwestern France, on March 1, 2021.
"I would hope that [the purchaser] will decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately," Tim Tiptree, Christie's international director of wine and spirits, told the AP. "It's at its peak drinking, but this wine will last probably at least another two or three decades."
Proceeds from the sale of the space-aged Petrus 2000 will fund future Space Cargo Unlimited missions to study viticulture and agriculture in microgravity, which means we just might have new space beverages in our future.