Sky-high price for space-returned wines?

Zero gravity may affect their flavour but not their lure for wine connoisseurs.

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These are not the first spationaute French wines — a ‘half bottle’ from Bordeaux’s 1975 vintage spent a week in space in 1985, thanks to a French astronaut who also took fine viands along on a space shuttle trip. (Representative image)
Food and drink never really taste as good at high altitudes as they do on terra firma as frequent flyers will vouchsafe. Alcoholic drinks in particular react unpredictably to gravity, though many air passengers usually care more for its spirit content than flavour. But wine connoisseurs will certainly want to know what effect a year in space will have on the 12 bottles from the French region of Bordeaux that landed in International Space Station this week via a rocket ride from the US.

Of course, these are not the first spationaute French wines — a ‘half bottle’ from Bordeaux’s 1975 vintage spent a week in space in 1985, thanks to a French astronaut who also took fine viands along on a space shuttle trip. But since that bottle still remains unopened and on display in the cellars of that wine label, the taste of a Cuvée de l’Espace is as yet unknown.

Two centuries ago, a Bordeaux vineyard owner made a virtue out of a necessity by insisting a consignment of wines that was returned unopened from India actually tasted better after their 12,000 km round trip and succeeded in putting a premium on them. The 1985 astro-bottle orbited the Earth 111 times, clocking 2.9 million miles in all. Whatever the effect of zero gravity on their bouquet and flavour, the price of the 2020 ‘space returned’ bottles is bound to be astronomical — if they are ever allowed to come to market, that is.


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