Wine aged ... in zero gravity?

You’ve heard of wine aged in barrels, steel vats, amphorae – even at the bottom of the ocean. That’s nothing compared with the latest destination for wine maturation: outer space.

It was discovered this week that a famous Bordeaux château has joined forces with a private spaceflight company to take a single barrel of their 2014 vintage into a zero-gravity atmosphere for the entire duration of its élevage.

Details are currently closely guarded, but the producer with stellar ambitions is understood to be a right-bank château with ‘a reputation for innovation’, according to a reliable source. An official announcement is expected to be made this week, while the eyes of the wine world are turned on Bordeaux during primeurs season.

The spaceflight company who will be providing the barrel’s passage into space is thought to be Russian, and financial backing is being provided by several French and Russian individuals. The code name for this joint venture is believed to be L’Airoplof.

Little else is known about the detail of the mission, except that it will require a dedicated launch because the barrel is so heavy. As for the effect on the wine, the winemaker expects that the tannins will soften ‘as if aged for decades’ with the palate taking on a complexity ‘un-matchable by anything on planet earth'. There should be no problem with oxidation, at any rate.

It is also known that the wine from this well-travelled barrel will be bottled under the cuvée name Vénus du Château, presumably a deliberate pun, and is to be priced at €20,000 per bottle. But this is one story about Bordeaux where an extortionate price tag is the least remarkable factor.