Credit: Christie's Images LTD. 2021
A bottle of Bordeaux aged in space is expected to sell for $1 million
A bottle of Bordeaux wine that was aged for 14 months on the International Space Station (ISS) is up for sale -- and it could fetch $1 million.
The Château Pétrus 2000 was part of an experiment carried out by start-up Space Cargo Unlimited to see how conditions in space affect wine.
Auction house Christie's said in a statement that it is offering the bottle for immediate sale, rather than at auction, and the proceeds will be used to fund future space missions.
Tim Triptree, Christie's international director of wine and spirits, told CNN the sale is expected to make in the region of $1 million.
"We've had quite a lot of inquiries," he said. "This is just a unique piece of space history."
The bottle will appeal to both wine connoisseurs and those with a keen interest in space, he said, adding: "It's a one of a kind opportunity."
The bottle is presented in a trunk custom-made by Les Ateliers Victor, along with "a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite," according to Christie's.
The trunk will also contain a bottle of Château Pétrus 2000 that has remained on Earth, so the buyer can compare the taste of the two, Triptree said.
A virtual viewing will be available on the Christie's website in the next few days, he added.
Nicolas Gaume, co-founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited, said the proceeds of the sale will allow the company to continue working on Mission WISE, six experiments in space that aim to revolutionize agriculture.
"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," Gaume said in the press release.
The bottle is one of 12 sent to space in November 2019, returning in January 2021.
Triptree told CNN that this is the only one of the 12 that will be put up for sale. Eight will be kept for further research and three have been opened for tasting, he added.
"The reports are that it's tasting fantastically well," Triptree said.
In March, a group of experts were invited to taste the space wine alongside another glass of the same variety that had stayed on Earth, before being told which was which.
One member of the group, wine writer Jane Anson, told CNN that its adventure above the stratosphere added about two to three years' maturity to the drink.
"I found there was a difference in both color and aromatics and also in taste," Anson said.
"It just felt a little bit older, a bit more evolved than the wine that had remained on Earth," she said, adding that the cosmic wine's tannins were more evolved and it had a more floral character.
Château Pétrus is the most famous winery in Pomerol, a region in Bordeaux known for its production of Merlot.
A regular, earthbound bottle of the same vintage would cost around $6,000.
CNN's Rob Picheta and Antonella Francini contributed to this report.