A bottle of Petrus 2000 red wine, which spent 14 months maturing in space, is up for sale and could fetch around $1 million, according to Christie’s.
The unprecedented offering of the exclusive, world-class red produced from Merlot grapes in the Pomerol wine-growing region of Bordeaux, was announced in London on Tuesday (May 5).
The bottle was one of twelve bottles of the wine sent to the International Space Station (ISS), where it aged in “a carefully monitored and controlled environment” as part of an experiment carried out by start-up Space Cargo Unlimited.
The twelve bottles were sent to the ISS in November 2019 as part of the research into how plants adapt to space conditions. They were shuttled back to Earth from the space station in January this year aboard a SpaceX cargo capsule after spending nearly 440 days, or about 186 million miles (300 million km), in orbit.
The wine returned to Bordeaux, where a bottle was opened for a blind taste test at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research by a dozen leading connoisseurs, who compared it with controlled samples of the same vintage Petrus that had stayed on Earth.
“It’s been tasted and assessed … and the reports from the tasting … are that it matured fantastically well,” Tim Triptree, International Director of Christie’s Wine & Spirits Department, told Reuters on Thursday. “So that’s great news that wine does mature well up in space.”
“So zero gravity, different obviously levels of radiation, different temperature … so the conditions were very different from the bottles that were kept here on Earth,” Triptree said.
“The maturation process actually has turned out to be slightly different. There’s not significant differences … but it turns out the ones that were sent into space, they have seemed to evolve more quickly.”
A bottle of Petrus 2000 usually sells for around 7,000 euros ($8,432).
“The estimate for this piece is in the region of $1 million … it truly is one of a kind and I’m sure will appeal not just to wine connoisseurs but also … collectors of space history,” Triptree said.
The bottle is being offered through Christie’s private sales. The buyer will also receive a standard bottle of Petrus 2000 to compare the two wines, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite, the auction house said.
Proceeds from the sale will go towards future agricultural research missions in space.