Norwich man creates out of this world wine in Chile
A new out-of-this-world wine, designed to give people a taste of the origins of the solar system, has been created by a Norwich-born man in Chile.
Ian Hutcheon, who grew up in Hellesdon, has just launched a new Cabernet Sauvignon wine called Meteorito, which is believed to be the first wine aged with a meteorite formed during the birth of the solar system.
It was created at Mr Hutcheon's Tremonte Vineyard in Chile and at the nearby astronomy centre, Centro Astronomico Tagua Tagua, which the 40-year-old also runs.
Mr Hutcheon said: 'I have been involved in wines and astronomy for many, many years and I wanted to find some way of combining the two.
'When you drink this wine you are drinking elements from the birth of the solar system.'
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Mr Hutcheon said the meteorite, which is about three inches wide, is from an American collector's private collection, and that it was formed about 4.5 billion years ago and crashed into the Atacama Desert in northern Chile about 6,000 years ago.
He explains on the wine's label: 'The meteorite used in the creation of this wine came from the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the idea behind submerging it in wine was to give everybody the opportunity to touch something from space, and extra-terrestrial rock, the very history of the Solar System, and feel it via a grand wine.'
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He said he has so far created about 10,000 litres of the wine, and that since it was launched it has created a lot of attention and even been featured on Chile's national news.
The process of making the first lot of Meteorito began in April 2010 when the grapes were picked from Mr Hutcheon's mountain vineyard which is planted on an old gold mine and is about 100km south-west of Chile's capital Santiago.
The fruit then went through a process of alcoholic fermentation for about 25 days, before undergoing malolactic fermentation for about 12 months to refine the taste of the wine – it was during this process that the wine was held in a wooden barrel with the ancient meteorite, before being blended with some more Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
Mr Hutcheon said he believes the meteorite gives the finished wine a 'livelier taste'.
The wine is currently sold exclusively at the Centro Astronomico Tagua Tagua and Mr Hutcheon said he would like to export it to other countries including the UK.
Mr Hutcheon, who grew up in Clovelly Drive, Hellesdon, spent many years travelling extensively around South America before settling in Chile.
In 2007 he launched his own observatory which went on to become Centro Astronomico Tagua Tagua, and in 2013 it will host the International Astronomy Congress. In July 2009 he bought his mountain vineyard.
He is married to Karen and has two children – Emilia, almost two, and eight-month-old Max.
Mr Hutcheon often returns to Norfolk to visit his parents Brenda and David Hutcheon, who now live in Worstead, and his sister Louise and brothers Paul and Steven also live in the Norwich area.
For more information on Mr Hutcheon's vineyard and astronomy centre visit www.tremonte.cl and www.centroastronomico.com
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