Christie’s | Out of this world: the wine that went into orbit

Christie's | Out of this world: the wine that went into orbit

Christie’s | Out of this world: the wine that went into orbit

In January a case of Petrus 2000 came back down to Earth after more than a year in space. Now Christie’s is offering one of the bottles for sale — and experts say it tastes sensational

On 1 March, a dozen of the world’s leading wine tasters gathered at the University of Bordeaux’s Institute of Vine and Wine Science for the chance to sample a wine unlike any other.

In front of the world’s press, each of them was given two glasses for blind tasting. One contained 30ml of Petrus 2000, which had been stored in a local cellar. The other contained 30ml of the same wine from a bottle that had spent 438 days in space.

Christie's | Out of this world: the wine that went into orbit

Christie’s | Out of this world: the wine that went into orbit

The space wine had splash-landed in the Atlantic inside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule on 14 January, having spent 14 months orbiting the earth at 17,000mph on board the International Space Station.

At the tasting, the connoisseurs noted that the liquid had not only survived zero-gravity conditions and almost 180 million miles of travel, but had also developed a different colour, aroma and taste from its terrestrial counterpart.

Proceeds from the sale of this unique bottle of space-aged Petrus 2000 will be used to fund future projects undertaken by Space Cargo Unlimited. Estimate in the region of $1 million. Offered via

Private Sales

Some said the flavour of the space wine resembled rose petals, and that it smelled like cured leather or a campfire, and shone with a burnt-orange lustre.

One of the wine experts even told journalists that it seemed to taste two to three years older than its cellar equivalent. ‘There were more floral aromatics, and the tannins were a bit softer and more evolved,’ she remarked.

Other post: Petrus collection Michel Jack

Above all, the panel of tasters unanimously considered the space wine to be ‘great’.

The International Space Station, on which the bottle of Petrus 2000 being offered at Christie’s spent 14 months. Photo: NASA/Roscosmos

The case of Petrus was not sent into space out of mere curiosity. It was the first stage in a six-part experiment led by Space Cargo Unlimited that aims to further our understanding of how organic material adapts to the stresses of changing environments.

Ultimately, the goal is to create new technologies to support agriculture in the face of climate change here on planet Earth.

Grapes were chosen for the first mission because of their sensitivity to small fluctuations in the conditions in which they are stored; and, along with the 12 bottles of wine, 320 vine canes were also sent into orbit.

Remarkably, early indications suggest that the vines grew faster in space, despite limited light and water.

‘Who knows, perhaps this will be the beginning of cosmic viticulture, or even a Martian Merlot’ — specialist Tim Triptree MW

Space Cargo Unlimited did not collaborate with Petrus on the project, and the identity of the wine, which retails for more than $7,000 a bottle, was a closely guarded secret until the tasting.

A spokesperson said the Petrus had been purchased from a broker in Bordeaux and selected because the wine is produced from one grape variety: Merlot.

‘Petrus 2000 is one of the finest wines in the world and ages brilliantly here on Earth,’ says Tim Triptree MW, international director of Wines and Spirits at Christie’s.

‘It was ideal for this study because so many tasting notes already exist for this particular vintage, meaning that any subtle differences could easily be picked up.’

The space-aged Petrus 2000 is offered in a unique trunk, imagined and handcrafted by the Parisian Maison d’Arts Les Ateliers Victor in collaboration with the French street artist Cyril Kongo. Estimate in the region of $1 million. Offered via Private Sales

Three of the bottles were used for the sampling, while eight are being kept for further laboratory study to see if science can explain the tasters’ initial reactions.

That might be the key to understanding exactly how wine ages — which still remains something of a mystery.

Other post: Christie’s Auctions | The life and times of STAN — one of the most complete T. Rex skeletons ever found

‘It will be hugely exciting to see the data on how zero gravity, changing temperatures, humidity and radiation have affected the wine on a molecular level,’ says Triptree. ‘And who knows, perhaps this will be the beginning of cosmic viticulture, or even a Martian Merlot.’

The space-aged Petrus 2000 is offered together with a bottle of terrestrial Petrus 2000, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite. Estimate in the region of $1 million. Offered via Private Sales

The 12th and final bottle is being offered through private sale at Christie’s with an estimate in the region of $1 million. Needless to say, this is the first time the opportunity to buy space-aged wine has ever arisen.

The exclusive bottle comes in a custom-made ‘celestial chest’ created in a collaboration between the Parisian leather goods manufacturer Les Ateliers Victor and the French street artist Cyril Kongo. It took 900 hours to make by hand.

Inside the trunk there is a moving solar system sculpture, which when perfectly aligned unlocks a vault that contains the space wine along with a regular bottle of Petrus 2000 — making the perfect pair for a home taste test.

In other drawers are a crystal decanter, two crystal glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite discovered at the North Pole.

The buyer will not only acquire a unique piece of cosmic history, but will also play a role in furthering the exploration of space. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund Space Cargo Unlimited’s future projects.

‘Imagine being able to raise a glass of this space wine with your friends the next time the human race achieves something incredible beyond our planet,’ says Triptree. ‘What a toast that would be.’

, , , , , ,



A wine storage cabinet or a multi-temperature wine cabinet? Which would suit you best? What are the differences between the two? What advantages do Liebherr appliances offer when it comes to storing wine under optimal conditions? Read on to learn more about these appliances and the benefits they offer.

If you are a wine enthusiast, you would have invested a lot of precious time and money in selecting high quality wines. And for the full aroma and flavour of your fine wines to unfold, optimal storage is important. This brings us three essential factors: The correct temperature, optimum air quality, and protection from UV light.

Our modern homes don’t have the right climatic conditions for a proper wine cellar as storage areas in newer housing are typically too warm. Storing wine at too high a temperature increases the kinetic energy of its molecules. This in turn accelerates the maturing process and increase the likelihood of spoiling the wine.

Generally, a temperature of between 10°C and 12°C is recommended for long-term storage. When no natural cellar location is available, wine storage cabinets are your best solution. By maintaining an even, constant temperature and an optimised climate, wine storage cabinets offer the very best conditions for years of wine storage. Your highly prized wines are allowed to develop and reach their full potential in terms of taste and full enjoyment. The cooler a wine is stored, the longer its ‘lifecycle’ or journey to maturation. This is where the Van’t Hoff plot applies. With an increase in temperature of 10°C, biochemical reaction rates double or even triple.

What Is A Wine Storage Cabinet?

When properly stored, bottled wine continues to develop its natural aroma and flavour. It becomes deeper and more complex as the aging process progresses. Successful long-term storage requires two things: a wine of inherent good quality, and consistent, suitable storage conditions. Liebherr’s wine storage cabinets create conditions similar to those of a wine cellar: Perfect for aging in the bottle. A constant temperature prevails throughout the entire interior compartment, making wine storage cabinets the optimal choice for long-term storage and maturing. At Liebherr, we offer the GrandCru and Barrique.

GrandCru Wine Storage Cabinets

Our GrandCru range offers a wealth of high quality features. The interior compartment can be set to a constant temperature of anywhere between 5°C to 20°C as required. View our full range here.

Barrique Wine Storage Cabinets

Barrique wine storage cabinets offer lots of useful features and are available in various sizes. Their storage capacity ranges from 60 with the compact WKb 1712 to 195 Bordeaux bottles with the magnificent WKb 4612. Check them out here.

What Is A Multi-Temperature Wine Cabinet?

A wine’s aroma unfolds fully when served at the correct drinking temperature. This temperature varies according to the type of wine and also according to personal taste, the time of year, and whether it’s being served as an accompaniment to food. The basic rule is that red wines should be served slightly warmer than white wines. The aroma and flavour of sparkling wines and champagnes emerge at their most distinct when they are well chilled. A Liebherr Vinidor multi-temperature wine cabinet affords the opportunity of having both a chilled bottle of champagne ready to be popped and a great bottle of red at its ideal serving temperature ready to welcome surprise guests.

Vinidor Multi-Temperature Wine Cabinets

Our Vinidor range features two or three wine safes, which can be individually set between 5°C to 20°C with degree accuracy, offering you the greatest versatility. Each safe will ensure the wine it is holding will be at optimum drinking temperature. If required, a Vinidor can also be set to create the ideal climate conditions for long-term wine storage. Check out our Vinidor range here.

1. Protection From UV Light

Invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays within the light spectrum cause damaging chemical reactions in wines – visually, red wines fade and white wines take on a golden yellow color. The French call this “le goût de lumière” (literally “the taste of light”). To prevent this deterioration, wines are often bottled in coloured glass (brown or green), which absorbs a large proportion of these harmful rays. This alone is still not enough to protect bottles unless they are stored in the dark. Liebherr’s wine cabinets feature insulated glass doors with special UV protection. Their double-glazed construction, with an inner tinted glass pane and an outer metalized “low-e” pane, means that most of the damaging UV radiation is reflected away. In addition, the cabinets benefit from LED lighting, which guarantees perfect illumination of the interior without any UV exposure: The LED light spectrum has no UV content. LEDs also generate very little heat, allowing illumination for long periods of time.

2. Ideal Storage Temperatures Ensured By Precise Controls

The ideal storage temperature for all wines lies between 10°C and 12°C, and it is important that the storage temperature is kept constant. Liebherr guarantees this consistency by using precise electronic control systems in conjunction with the very latest climate control technology even when ambient temperatures fluctuate considerably.

3. Optimum Air Quality And Ideal Humidity

Liebherr wine cabinets have a built-in FreshAir activated charcoal filter that provides optimum air quality. This filter prevents transmission of odours, which may harm the taste of wine, into the interior compartment from the ambient air. Our Vinidor appliances have an activated charcoal filter in each wine safe.

In addition, sustaining the correct humidity level plays a crucial role in successful long-term storage. At a humidity level of less than 50%, natural corks begin to shrink. If a cork’s fit is compromised, oxygen can enter the bottle and alcohol will evaporate – wines will become sweeter and eventually spoil altogether.

4. Vibration Protection For Optimum Storage

Specially developed, extremely low-vibration compressors ensure that wine in Liebherr cabinets is stored gently and protected from vibrations. What’s more, with the SoftSystem cushioned door closing mechanism, gentle door operation is guaranteed. The door closes automatically from an opening angle of about 45° degrees in freestanding models (from 30° in built-in models) and sturdy, handcrafted wooden shelves provide efficient storage. The wooden shelves have an untreated natural finish, which allows wines to mature without being harmed by any paint chemicals.

At Liebherr, we are passionate about wine and we are passionately committed to developing innovative appliances that deliver premium storage conditions. So do visit our website and look at our full range of wine cabinets!