To in-VIN-ity and beyond: Italian producers launch wines into space
Biondi-Santi, Feudi di San Gregorio and Gaja wineries have announced a partnership with the Italian Space Agency to launch their wines into space, examining the effects of low gravity on their development.
Franco Maria Ricci, founder of the Italian Sommelier Foundation (FIS) – the initiative’s third partner – conceived of the space project.
Plans for the sky-high Wine in Space experiment were unveiled in Rome on 5 July at the 15th International Forum on Wine Culture organised by the FIS.
Both wines and vine rootstock from the three Italian producers are set to be sent onto the International Space Station for the purposes of an “advanced scientific experiment”, Feudi di San Gregorio has said.
The project intends to foreground three Italian grape varieties – Sangiovese, Aglianico and Nebbiolo – bringing together the three iconic wineries to promote these vines.
Each Italian producer contributed two bottles of wine of different vintages:
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2006 and 2015
Feudi di San Gregorio Piano di Montevergine 2012 and 2015
Gaja Barolo Sperss 1988 and 2017
Angelo Gaja, owner and president of the family-run company, called the Wine in Space project “a message of civilisation”, and views it as a continuation of Italy’s history.
“In the past, the Romans, when they expanded into new territories, spread the cultivation of vines to produce wine as an ambassador of peace, joy and fraternity.
“We don’t know when it will be possible to reach new hospitable planets, but Mediterranean vines and wines, steeped in history and culture, convey a message of goodwill,” he said.
Each winery has also provided three rootstocks to study the effects on microgravity and the future potential for growing plants in space.
One bottle of each vintage will be sent into orbit, at an altitude of 400 kilometres at a ground speed of over 28,000 kilometres per hour. The Italian Space Agency intends to compare these wines to another bottle of each vintage before the trip into space, and one aged on earth for comparison on its return.
Antonio Capaldo, President of Feudi di San Gregorio, said of the initiative: “When I heard that our Aglianico would be travelling in space, I was excited.
“Feudi di San Gregorio was born with the intention of introducing the beauty of Irpinia and its wines to distant lands, but I never thought they would travel this far.
“To see Aglianico selected from among the great Italian red grape varieties – and our Piano di Montevergine vineyard along with two extraordinary wines that have made the history of our country – is a source of great pride. In addition to the current vintage, 2015, I have chosen another iconic one – 2012, our 20th vintage.”
The project’s launch date is yet to be announced by the Italian Space Agency.
In other news, Vines which spent more than a year growing in zero gravity conditions on board the International Space Station have shown signs of increased resistance to mildew and phylloxera. Scientists hope the research will provide “organic solutions for the future of agriculture on earth”. Read more here.