A bottle of wine that has spent more than a year orbiting Earth on the International Space Station has gone on sale.
The French wine, named Petrus 2000, is one of the 12 bottles sent into space in November 2019 by researchers interested in learning more about the potential of “alien agriculture”.
The wine came back 14 months later, with a subtly altered yet delicious taste, according to experts.
Now the bottle of wine, initially priced at $ 10,000, is due to go up for sale at Christie’s auction house – where staff believe a connoisseur could pay as much as $ 1 million to own it.
Christie’s international director of wines and spirits, Tim Tiptree, said the space-aged wine had been “matured in a unique environment” near zero gravity aboard the ISS.
Known for its complexity, the wine has flavors of black cherry, cigar box and leather, Mr. Tiptree said.
“It’s just a very harmonious wine that has the ability to age superbly, which is why it was chosen for this experience,” he said.
“It’s very encouraging that it’s delicious on the way back to Earth.”
The wine reached stratospheric levels after being put into orbit by a private space start-up, Space Cargo Unlimited.
The researchers aimed to develop a better understanding of the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.
During a blind tasting in March at the Bordeaux Wine and Vine Research Institute, 12 connoisseurs compared a bottle of space wine to the same vintage in the cellar.
They described a difference in taste – but said it was hard to describe.
One expert said the wine that was left on Earth tasted a bit younger – while the space aged version was “smoother and more aromatic.”
Christie’s will be hosting a private auction for the space wine, which comes with an earthly bottle of the same vintage for comparison, along with a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew carved out of a meteorite.
Everything will be presented in a hand-carved wooden trunk with a decoration inspired by the “Star Trek” universe, as well as by science fiction author Jules Verne.
Other bottles of the dozen that have traveled to space are unopened and there are no plans to sell them, Christie’s said.
Mr Tiptree added: “I hope they decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately.
“It’s in its prime, but this wine will probably last at least another two or three decades.”