By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A dozen bottles of French wine blasted into space a year ago have returned to earth, and scientists have spent the last few months pouring over the results of their experiment.

The International Space Station carried 12 bottles of Bordeaux for a year, not for astronauts to sip, but for scientists to study.

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The fine wine was packaged inside steel cylinders and remained corked until it landed back on Earth.

The $6,000 a bottle red is being sniffed, sampled, and studied. Experts say the bottles that went into orbit taste, smell, and look different than those that stayed on the ground.

“The one that had remained on Earth, for me, was still a bit more closed, a bit more tannic, a bit younger,” says Jane Anson, a wine expert and writer for “Decanter.”

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The mission focused on how gravity and oxygen affect fermentation, bubbles, and the aging process. The mission organizer says gravity creates tremendous stress on any living species and accelerates some of the natural progression.

Researchers found weightlessness didn’t ruin the wine and seemed to “energize” grapevines brought on-board. Snippets of merlot and cabernet vines grew faster than those on Earth, despite limited light and water.

Researchers also say their findings could reveal a way to artificially age fine vintages and help make plants on earth more resilient to climate change and disease.

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It’s too early for scientists to know why, but they say the cosmic conclusions could start the countdown for grape-growing and winemaking in space. Team