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How This Bordeaux Wine Tasted After 14 Months In Space

How This Bordeaux Wine Tasted After 14 Months In Space

Luxembourg-based Space Cargo Unlimited sent 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine into outer space 14 months ago to study the impact of microgravity. With the wines returned to Earth, it was time for the taste test.

And?

“Unanimously, the wines were considered to be great wines, which means that despite the 14-month stay on the international space station, the ‘space wine,’ was very well evaluated sensorially,” said Philippe Darriet, director of the Oenology research department at the University of Bordeaux, in a statement.

Phew.

But why launch a dozen perfectly good bottles of Petrus wine into space? The decision was part of Mission WISE, a private applied space research program. The organization is looking for ways to study the effects of microgravity on biological systems in the hopes of discovering insights that could help farmers adapt to global warming.

So on November 2, 2019, the 12 bottles of Petrus were carried to the International Space Station courtesy of French-Italian Thales Alenia Space and the U.S. company Nanoracks. They returned to Earth on January 14, 2021, on a SpaceX rocket.

From there, they were returned to Bordeaux where they are undergoing extensive testing to see how their biology was impacted. But as that testing got underway, the temptation to put them to the taste test was too strong.

So the teams organized the tasting on March 1 at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vins in Bordeaux. The 12-member panel included 5 professional tasters.

According to a press release summarizing the judging: “Differences were perceived concerning the color of the wines. Concerning aroma and taste components: the two wines were described with a rich vocabulary attesting to remarkable olfactory and gustatory complexity; sensory dimensions of sweetness, harmony, and persistence were particularly noted.”

In addition to the wine, the partners sent 320 vine canes to the space station. Those are also undergoing testing, but researchers have said that there already seems to be some noticeable impact: The canes are growing faster and showing buds earlier than canes that have remained on Earth.

While that finding is preliminary, the hope is that the research will also yield insights that can help the wine industry.

Published at Sun, 28 Mar 2021 20:36:07 +0000