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Wine Club Newsletter - November 2023

Updated: May 11

Cosmic Mouthful: Tasters Savor Fine Wine that Orbited Earth

Researchers study wine, vines that went to space station



It tastes like rose petals. It smells like a campfire. It glistens with a burnt-orange hue. What is it? A 5,000-euro bottle of Petrus Pomerol wine that spent a year in space.

Researchers in Bordeaux are analyzing a dozen bottles of the precious liquid — along with 320 snippets of merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapevines — that returned to Earth in January after a sojourn aboard the International Space Station.

They announced their preliminary impressions Wednesday — mainly, that weightlessness didn’t ruin the wine and it seemed to energize the vines.

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.

At a one-of-a-kind tasting this month, 12 connoisseurs sampled one of the space-traveled wines, blindly tasting it alongside a bottle from the same vintage that had stayed in a cellar.

A special pressurized device delicately uncorked the bottles at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux. The tasters solemnly sniffed, stared and, eventually, sipped.

“I have tears in my eyes,” Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of the company that arranged the experiment, Space Cargo Unlimited, told The Associated Press.

Alcohol and glass are normally prohibited on the International Space Station, so each bottle was packed inside a special steel cylinder during the journey.

At a news conference Wednesday, Gaume said the experiment focused on studying the lack of gravity — which “creates tremendous stress on any living species” — on the wine and vines.

“We are only at the beginning,” he said, calling the preliminary results “encouraging.”

Jane Anson, a wine expert and writer with the wine publication Decanter, said the wine that remained on Earth tasted “a little younger than the one that had been to space.

”Chemical and biological analysis of the wine’s aging process could allow scientists to find a way to artificially age fine vintages, said Dr. Michael Lebert, a biologist at Germany’s Friedrich-Alexander-University who was consulted on the project.

The vine snippets — known as canes in the grape-growing world — not only survived the journey but also grew faster than vines on Earth, despite limited light and water.

Once the researchers determine why, Lebert said that could help scientists develop sturdier vines on Earth — and pave the way for grape-growing and wine-making in space.

Christophe Chateau of the Bordeaux Wine-Makers’ Council welcomed the research as “a good thing for the industry,“ but predicted it would take a decade or more to lead to practical applications.

Chateau, who was not involved in the project, described ongoing efforts to adjust grape choices and techniques to adapt to ever-warmer temperatures.

“The wine of Bordeaux is a wine that gets its singularity from its history but also from its innovations,” he told The AP. “And we should never stop innovating.”

Private investors helped fund the project, which the researchers hope to continue on further space missions. The cost wasn’t disclosed.

MacPherson and Charlton write for The Associated Press.


Treasury Wine Estates announces acquisition of fastest growing luxury wine brand in the United States, DAOU Vineyards¹

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX:TWE), one of the world's leading wine companies, today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire DAOU Vineyards, the acclaimed luxury wine business founded by brothers and co-proprietors Georges and Daniel Daou for an upfront consideration of $900 million, plus an additional earn-out of up to $100 million. This transformative deal will accelerate TWE's focus on a portfolio that is increasingly luxury-led with a greater presence in key growth markets such as the U.S.

Founded in 2007 and based in the U.S. winemaking region of Paso Robles, California, DAOU is the fastest-growing luxury wine brand in the U.S. trade over the past year[2] and is recognized throughout the industry for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon-based PATRIMONY wines, unique consumer profile, and benchmark-setting luxury experiences. DAOU's fully integrated digital platform, DAOU+, combines e-commerce and membership with seamless and unique features that increase consumer loyalty.

DAOU is a strong complement to TWE's existing portfolio in upper-luxury price points and fills a key portfolio opportunity for Treasury Americas in the $20-40 range, as well as strengthens its luxury portfolio in the $40+ range. Utilizing TWE's global marketing and distribution expertise, the company's long-term vision is to bring the exceptional DAOU portfolio, winemaking philosophy and unique luxury consumer experiences to new international markets. TWE will also explore sourcing opportunities outside the U.S. for DAOU, as part of its global sourcing strategy. SIGH ....



Gary Parker, Owner

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