The Associated Press reports that researchers in Bordeaux, France, are analyzing a unique and expensive bottle of Petrus Pomerol wine - as well as 320 snippets of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines - to evaluate the impact of space flight on them.
The wine and vines just spent a year in space, the story says, on board the International Space Station, and scientists are trying to figure out how the extended period off-planet affects them.
The conclusions, so far, are that "weightlessness didn’t ruin the wine and it seemed to energize the vines." One expert said that the Petrus Pomerol seemed to have softer tannins and "more floral aromatics" than one that remained Earthbound.
According to the story, "Organizers say it’s part of a longer-term effort to make plants on Earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses, and to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine."
- KC's View:
I'm a little disappointed that they didn't test the impact of space on a bottle of Chateau Picard. Maybe next time.
The story notes that "alcohol and glass are normally prohibited on the International Space Station, so each bottle was packed inside a special steel cylinder during the journey." Which also is disappointing - because it also might've been interesting to probe the impact of consuming alcohol while weightless. (Though they'd probably want to do it in a way that prevented the astronaut doing the drinking from having access to the controls.)