Houston, we have splashdown.
Researchers spent the last year aging wine and grapevine cuttings in space and now the cargo is on its way back to Earth. The experiment aimed to test how chemicals within the wine would change while orbiting the Earth, as well as whether hundreds of grapevines would be able to survive the unfamiliar clime.
While the project took place on the International Space Station, it was organized by SpaceX and Space Cargo Unlimited as SpaceX is the only company with the means to send cargo back to earth intact.
The team sent 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets and 12 bottles of Bordeaux to the International Space Station, according to The Washington Post. The cargo should arrive in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night. The wines will then be sampled at the end of February in Bordeaux, where some of France’s top sommeliers and wine experts will gather for a tasting.
Space Cargo Unlimited’s CEO and co-founder Nicolas Gaume will be one of the lucky few to taste the wines, and emphasized that this project was especially important to him. He believes it can help scientists expand agriculture beyond Earth’s atmosphere, especially as climate change becomes more serious.
Moreover, he explained to The Associated Press that, “being French, it’s part of life to have some good food and good wine.”
The experiment was privately funded and the cost remains undisclosed. After February’s tasting the remaining wines will see months of chemical testing, and many are eager to see how they age.