Wine from … Mars?

by Karoline Arberg
Georgia, Georgian wine, Wine, Wine from Mars

Martian wine may seem totally surreal and very much like science fiction. We are likely to think like that because humans have not yet set foot on the red planet. But we have already taken some very important steps in that direction. We have sent satellites and space crafts to Mars that are exploring this faraway world at this very moment. And with our discoveries so far, some people have also raised the question whether it would be possible to make wine on Mars.

Grapes for Wine from Mars: Where Did the Idea Originate?

Is it all a joke? Not at all. The outlandish idea originated in Georgia, a country that boasts of winemaking traditions going back thousands of years. The founders of this project believe that Georgia, with its proud history of viticulture, should also be the pioneers of introducing winemaking on Mars.

Apparently, a group of researchers and Georgian businessmen have joined an appeal from NASA to produce greenhouse varieties of vines and grapes that are suitable for growing on Mars. The so-called IX Millennium project is in the hands of the Georgian space research agency, the Tbilisi University of Commerce and Technology, the National Museum and a company named Space Farms.

A Futuristic Project

The project seems to be serious. One of the scientists working on this project is developing a bacterium that could transform the arid and dusty soil of Mars into fertile land. The long-term intention is to transform the soil of Mars so we can start growing plants.

Another aim of the project is to produce a variety of grape that is indigenous to Georgia. The researchers have therefore studied the 525 varieties in the country. The first results conclude that it might be possible to use the variety called Rkatsiteli. This variety is normally used to produce white wine and it has notes of green apple.

The Georgian grape varieties are tested in an environment here on earth that mimics that of Mars. By creating similar conditions, we get an idea of how they develop in this specific atmosphere. They plan to produce wine from these grapes to get a clearer indication of whether, in the future, it is possible to make wine with grapes from Mars.

Georgia, Georgian wine, Wine, Wine from Mars

However, the process to produce the first bottle of Martian wine will be very long. The Georgian researchers do not need to hurry. Most importantly, NASA must first continue to explore the territory and find a way to get to Mars safely.

Georgian Wine

According to history, the Georgian territories are the areas of origin of the vine shoots and the birthplace of viticulture. Winemaking tools, such as wine presses and different wine containers made of metal or clay, have been found during geological excavations in the territory. There is archaeological evidence for grape wine and viticulture dating all the way back to the early Neolithic period.

The region with the highest wine production lies in the eastern part of the country, a region called ”Kajeti”. This region is still the centre of Georgian winemaking to this day. The grape harvest is taken to the marani or winery, where the grapes are deposited in the sacjenli or wooden containers like hollow trunks.

Only time will tell whether Georgia will also claim the title as the cradle of Martian wine. But for now, they have an undeniable claim to being the pioneers of winemaking on Planet Earth.

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