A dozen bottles of French wine blasted into space a year ago have returned to earth and scientists have spent the last few months pouring over the results of their experiment.
The International Space Station carried 12 bottles of Bordeaux for a year. The fine wine was packaged inside steel cylinders and remained uncorked until it landed back on earth. The $6,000 bottle is being sniffed, sampled and studied. Experts say the bottles that went into orbit taste, smell and look different than those that remained on the ground.
The mission focused on how gravity and oxygen affect fermentation, bubbles and the aging process. The mission organizer said gravity creates tremendous stress on any living species and the stress accelerates some of the natural progression.
Wine writer Jane Anson said the wine that remained on Earth was a bit more closed for her. Anson notes the wine is a bit more tannic and younger.
Researchers found weightlessness didn’t ruin the wine and seemed to ‘energize’ grapevines brought on-board. Snippets of merlot and cabernet vines grew faster than those on earth, despite limited light and water. It’s too early for scientists to know why, but they say the cosmic conclusions could start the countdown for grape-growing and wine-making in space.
Researchers say their findings could reveal a way to artificially age fine vintages and help make plants on earth more resilient to climate change and disease