Wine connoisseurs are likely familiar with Pétrus 2000, a pricey Merlot that can fetch thousands and is so revered it’s sometimes served as its own course during dinner events.
But even those who might not bat an eye at popping open an expensive bottle might hesitate at uncorking a Pétrus that’s been stored for over a year in space. It’s got an asking price of over $1 million.
The bottle is currently for sale by Christie’s, and it promises to be both a unique conversation piece and an experiment on the effects of zero-gravity on the wine market. An entire case (12 bottles) of Pétrus was sent up to the International Space Station in November 2019 on the Cygnus capsule by Space Cargo Unlimited, a start-up focused on studying how organic materials cope with the harsh environment of space. The bottles spent a total of 440 days off Earth, traveling the equivalent of 300 trips to the moon, before touching down on the SpaceX Dragon craft in January 2021.
Three of the 12 bottles were opened for a wine tasting in March, with expert wine taster Jane Anson telling Atlas Obscura that the space-aged sample had a certain kind of flavor. “I walked out of that room thinking, ‘I don’t know why there’s a difference, but there’s a difference,’” she said.
To sweeten the deal, Christie’s is offering the Pétrus in an elaborate package. It’s housed in a custom trunk, with a corkscrew crafted from a meteorite. A terrestrial bottle is also included.
The sale of the bottle will help Space Cargo Unlimited fund future expeditions. For now, it’s the only one going into private hands. The remaining eight bottles will be reserved for further study.
[h/t Atlas Obscura]