Space Cargo Unlimited and Mercier Group, a global leader in vine grape nursery, announce a strategic partnership to help invent tomorrow’s agriculture by growing new varieties of vine plants.

Bordeaux, February 5th, 2021

Media Alert – for Immediate Release
Download Press kit here

Télécharger le dossier de presse ici

The agreement is a milestone for Mission WISE, the first scientific applied research program leveraging the effect of microgravity on complex biological systems to grow tomorrow’s agriculture and tackle climate change effects. The Partnership will accelerate Space Cargo Unlimited’s mission after returning three hundred twenty vine canes and twelve Bordeaux bottles from the ISS that remained respectively 10 and 14 months aboard the International Space Station.

Bordeaux ⎼ February 5th, 2021, Space Cargo Unlimited, a new space startup aiming to unleash the opportunity of space manufacturing for the Earth’s benefits, and Mercier Group, the global vine nursery leader with more than 30 million vines grafted annually , announce a strategic partnership where Mercier will bring resources and expertise to explore ways of growing new more resistant vines organically. The strategic alliance will allow Space Biology Unlimited, Space Cargo Unlimited’s subsidiary and the first space biotech startup in Bordeaux, to quickly optimize the development of new breeds of vine plants through Mercier’s infrastructure, allowing fast deployment and commercialization globally.

We are thrilled to partner with a major player such as Mercier. Not only is their expertise in plant genetics and breeding unparalleled, but Mercier and Space Cargo Unlimited share the same vision of inventing the future of agriculture and food to tackle the challenge of climate change, ” Mentions Nicolas Gaume, CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited. “We are grateful to our partners all over the world that support Mission WISE and particularly our science teams, led by Philippe Darriet (Institut de la Science, de la Vigne et du Vin (ISVV, University of Bordeaux, France) and PD Dr. Michael Lebert (FAU Erlangen Nuremberg University, Germany), as well as all Mr. Lionel Suchet, Chief Operating Officer for the CNES and his team, who relentlessly supported our vision from the beginning. It is our shared conviction that there is no Planet B. We intend to pave the way for our future by helping invent the agriculture and food we need for tomorrow.” Concludes Gaume.

Based in the west part of France, Mercier Group is a historic world leader in producing grafted plants for vineyards, with best in class expertise in vine reproduction. The group has invested in extensive laboratory resources and has developed unmatched competencies in analyzing and growing new varieties of vine and scaling up plant breeding for commercialization.

Mercier Group’s involvement will accelerate Space Cargo Unlimited’s vision, specifically with the arrival of 320 vine canes and twelve bottles of Bordeaux that have just returned to earth after spending respectively ten and fourteen months onboard the ISS.

Space Cargo Unlimited’s approach is truly unique, and we are honored to have this extraordinary opportunity,” Says Guillaume Mercier, CEO of Mercier Group. “Canes or wine are ideal study materials, and the ones coming back from the ISS have undergone unprecedented biological changes. We are extremely excited to discover the kind of environments in which they can now thrive, and if they are better suited to our fast-warming planet. Nicolas Gaume and Emmanuel Etcheparre, co-founders of Space Cargo Unlimited are introducing a radical new way for science to change the plant’s traits to produce desired characteristics,” Adds Guillaume Mercier, “We are thoroughly oriented towards the future, and for the past decades, we have devoted significant resources to continue to increase the sanitary quality and the diversity of the plant material that we offer”. Thanks to Mercier Group’s extensive knowledge, a large portion of the 160 Cabernet vine snippets and the 160 snippets of Cabernet Sauvignon will be studied and cloned in an expert environment. This collaboration between the two companies maximizes successful outcomes for the first extraterrestrial “Self-Guided Evolution” experiment, a methodology developed by PD Dr. Michael Lebert.


Once the research team identifies and isolates the component(s) responsible for obtaining the new properties, a future new plant should offer enhanced properties as tolerance to biotic or abiotic stress or with more significant potential in production diversity of berries in terms of quality and/or quality. And all this will be based on nature’s way of doing things, evolution. Space Cargo Unlimited’s partnership with Mercier is a five-year agreement with tacit renewal, with the ambition of reaching 10% of worldwide Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sales (approximately 2 million varieties a year).

About Space Cargo Unlimited
Founded in 2014, Space Cargo Unlimited is a European startup founded by highly regarded private investors and space-enthusiast entrepreneurs. Fostered by the new space dynamic, with technological advances and falling costs of access to space, leveraging the high level of European space industry expertise, Space Cargo Unlimited focuses on seizing the potential of microgravity research and manufacturing for commercial applications on Earth. Building strategic partnerships with space operators, Space Cargo Unlimited develops comprehensive expertise in complex microgravity project management to nurture innovative and useful initiatives. Targeted applied microgravity work will help envision how to face the challenge of new Agriculture, Health, and Food. Space Cargo Unlimited with its subsidiary Space Biology Unlimited located in Bordeaux, France, aims to be a catalyst for other commercial dynamics in Europe and the US to create momentum to attract private companies and entrepreneurs to invest massively into microgravity research. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Space Cargo Unlimited operates with teams and partners in Bordeaux and Toulouse (France), Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany), Torino (Italy), Houston. Partners include ESA, CNES, FAU (Erlangen, Germany), Nanoracks, and ISVV (Bordeaux, France) Universities.
For more information   @space-cu

About Mercier
Provider of grape-growing operations, Mercier company, operates a wine-grape nursery in France and in the world where it provides more than 30 million vines grafted annually, by propagating green vines, dormant grapevines, and rootstock cuttings for field grafting. MERCIER is a family company with a human dimension, a world leader in grapevine production, and in vineyards creation. Since 1890, Mercier has been assisting thousands of vine growers in France and all over the world with passion. Mercier’s know-how, experience, and reputation are the major assets in this very specialized activity. Looking to the future, Mercier group is a holding comprising different activities from grafted vines production, plant material analyses laboratory, wine production and distribution, and oenotourism. The nursery activity is international and Mercier is today present in all wine countries. Mercier is globally represented with a direct sales force.
For more information

Press Contact:

(+1) 425 985 2121