— A champagne specially designed for the microgravity environment of space has found its way into Earth orbit.
Maison Mumm, one of the world’s largest champagne producers, has partnered with manned space company Axiom Space to launch Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar, the “first champagne bottle and tasting experience designed for space”. The Fizzy will fly on Axiom-crewed missions beginning in 2023 and eventually be available on the company’s future commercial space station.
“Axiom’s collaboration with Mumm and the Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar recognizes that in order to bring humanity into space, not only can we bring humans, we must bring human traditions,” said Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space, in a statement. “This philosophy of celebrating humanity reinforces our goal for Axiom Station, a next-generation destination that will serve as a thriving home in space to enable a diverse economy, further advance exploration, and give more people access to space to enable.”
In development since 2017 and first announced a year later, Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar now also fully meets the requirements for space travel certified by the French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales or National Center for Space Studies) in relation to the AOC Champagne regulations that certify the integrity of the wine.
“Innovation has been part of Maison Mumm’s identity since 1827 and Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar is a perfect example of this,” said César Giron, President of Maison Mumm. “This project brings together the French savoir-faire of excellence in favor of the conviviality that is so dear to us here on earth.”
“As early as 1904, Mumm was on board with Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot to celebrate the first successful French expedition to Antarctica. Tomorrow it will accompany the life of the pioneers of the 21st century in this new territory in the same way is space,” said Giron.
Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar comes in a half glass bottle held in an aerospace grade aluminum sleeve and secured by a stainless steel open and close device to ensure it is safe to fly and that its contents are preserved. The top part of the bottle, known as the ‘service’, consists of a long neck topped by a cork and a ring – the latter holding the cork and doubles as a lock for the bottle’s stainless steel mechanism.
Beyond the bottle, Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar was also designed to take into account the different conditions of tasting champagne in space. Bubbles don’t rise to the surface in microgravity, so they don’t release aroma molecules that contribute to the flavor of the wine.
Instead, Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar is delivered as a foam that then coats the walls of the mouth. A special blend of Pinot Noir – Mumm’s signature varietal – with reserve wines from the last five years delivers notes of ripe yellow fruit and saffron peach, but also dried fruit, hazelnut and praline.
“My goal was to preserve the freshness and power of Mumm Cordon Rouge and enhance the intensity of its aromas with more aging and a dosage liqueur made from oak-aged wines,” said cellar master Laurent Fresnet.
Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar has been flown in zero gravity on a parabolic flight, but to complete its development it will be launched on an upcoming Axiom Space mission. The Houston-based company recently signed a contract with NASA for its second private astronaut mission (Ax-2) to the International Space Station, scheduled for launch in the second quarter of 2023.
Axiom also signed agreements with Türkiye, the Canadian Space Agency and the Saudi Space Commission last week to fly astronauts on future missions.
“In space, it’s important to stay connected to Earth and its culture. As a symbol of the art of living that has stood the test of time, champagne has this universal appeal,” said Jean-François Clervoy, a French astronaut with the European Space Agency, who worked on the creation of Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar.