Christie’s will present a bottle of space-aged Pétrus 2000 for sale, which has spent 14 months aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
This is the first time wine has traveled to the ISS and returned to Earth, aging in a carefully monitored and controlled environment, as part of a series of experiments undertaken by Space Cargo Unlimited, a one-of-a-kind European “New Space” start-up. The unique bottle of space-aged Pétrus is offered in a unique trunk, imagined and handcrafted by the Parisian Maison d’Arts Les Ateliers Victor, alongside a bottle of terrestrial Pétrus 2000, a decanter, glasses, and a corkscrew made from a meteorite.
The proceeds of the sale will go towards funding future space missions, offering collectors an opportunity to acquire a piece of vinous and space history while also contributing to ongoing research. The wine is available for immediate purchase via Christie’s Private Sales.
Tim Triptree MW, International Director, Christie’s Wine & Spirits Department: “This bottle of Pétrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine. Christie’s is delighted to bring this first of its kind bottle to the market and to support Space Cargo Unlimited to continue their research into the future of agricultural practices.”
Nicolas Gaume, Cofounder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited: “We are thrilled to partner with Christie’s and propose a unique artifact of spatial research. After spending almost 440 days in Space, or the equivalent of 300 trips to the moon, legendary Bordeaux wine Pétrus comes back having been transformed in a way that is, literally, out of this world. The proceeds of the sale will allow us to continue Mission WISE, six experiments in space to help invent the agriculture and food we need for tomorrow on Earth. It is our conviction that there is no Planet B and we intend to pave the way for our future by leveraging microgravity and enticing accelerated natural evolutions in a spatial environment. The product of the sale will help attain our objectives.”
Benoît Miniou, President, Les Ateliers Victor: “A secret vault hidden behind a solar system inspired by Jules Verne, an opening mechanism connected with the Star Trek Universe, secret clues and engravings, … some of the rarest materials and some of the most complex savoir-faire were needed in order to reveal, after 900 hours of work, our masterpiece that would emphasize this so exclusive space bottle of Petrus.”
On 2 November 2019 Space Cargo Unlimited, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space and Nanoracks, sent 12 bottles of wine to the ISS for 14 months aboard a Cygnus capsule (Northrop Grumman), before returning to Earth on 14 January 2021 aboard a Dragon spacecraft (SpaceX). This was the first privately led, applied-research program named Mission WISE (Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia), which over the course of six experiments, seeks to research how plants adapt to the stress of space conditions to develop innovative solutions for the future of food and agriculture on Earth.
When it comes to climate change wine and vines are very sensitive to the fluctuations at play on Earth and are early indicators of the wider challenges faced. Viticulture holds many keys to the future of agriculture and life sciences in general, and studying wine in space offers numerous new discovery opportunities. Gravity is the only parameter of life that has remained unchanged over the past 4.5 billion years. Recreating an Earth-like environment with near-zero gravity, such as on the International Space Station, offers a unique research framework to better understand the evolution of key components of wine, including yeast, bacteria, and polyphenols.
The maturation of wine also remains somewhat of a mystery. Very little is still known about how the taste and chemical composition of wine are affected during the aging process. Mission WISE research intends to better understand these connections.
On 1 March 2021, the first analysis of the bottles took place at ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin) in Bordeaux, which organised an organoleptic tasting led by Philippe Darriet, Director of the Institute’s Oenology Research Unit. A panel of 12 wine professionals and scientists, including Jane Anson, Philippe Darriet, and Erik Samazeuilh, conducted a tasting to describe the terrestrial wine and the space wine according to visual, gustatory, and olfactory criteria. The initial results found the bottles positively endured all the constraints of preparation, travel, and storage on the ISS. Remarkable differences in the colour, aroma and taste components were noted, and the wines sampled were commended for their complexity and considered to be great wines.
About Pétrus 2000
Pétrus wine is known worldwide for its exceptional qualities. It was selected as the preferred wine for this landmark experiment due to being predominantly mono-varietal and for having a documented history that allows the effects of the time that the wine spent in space to be measured. The 2000 vintage also offers an ideal structure for the analysis of such an experiment.