A bottle of wine aged in space could sell for $1 million — how and why it tastes different than Earth-bound wine

A bottle of red wine that spent more than a year in space could end up being the most expensive wine ever sold.

Christie’s is selling a bottle of Pétrus 2000 that was aged for 14 months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) before returning to Earth in January. And the British auction house estimates will ultimately fetch a price “in the region of $1 million.”

That would make the space-aged vintage the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. (The current record for a single bottle of wine came in 2018, when anonymous buyers paid $558,000 for a bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti French Burgandy, sold by Sotheby’s.)

A bottle of wine from Chateau Pétrus, a winery in France’s Bordeaux region, from the year 2000 typically fetches more than $7,000, according to Wine-Searcher. And whoever buys the space-aged wine will also receive a bottle of the same vintage of Pétrus 2000 that was aged on Earth, in order to compare differences in how the two taste.

A dozen bottles of the Pétrus 2000 spent 14 months aging in zero-gravity aboard the ISS, orbiting the Earth while traveling 17,000 miles per hour. They were placed on the ISS by European research company Space Cargo Unlimited with the aim of studying the effects of space travel on the wine-aging process.

One panelist, a correspondent from Decanter magazine named Jane Anson, even said in March that the space-aged wine tasted as if it had been aged for two to three years longer than the wine aged on Earth.

The experts called the space-aged wine “great,” according to Christie’s, with the auction house writing in a blog post that some of the panelists said the space-aged wine’s flavor “resembled rose petals, and that it smelled like cured leather or a campfire, and shone with a burnt-orange luster.”