China sends grape vines into space

epa04970617 A handout picture made available by NASA and taken by US astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station (ISS) on 07 October 2015 shows an aurora looming over Planet Earth. The Aurora Borealis, or Nothern Lights, have been visible this week.  EPA/SCOTT KELLY / NASA / HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

China has launched a rocket with grape vines into space in the hopes the plants will adapt to harsher climates.

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and pinot noir vines were on board the Tiangong-2 rocket when it launched on September 15, according to The Guardian.

Scientists reportedly hope that cultivating the vines in space will trigger mutations to make the plant more resistant to cold, harsh conditions.

Chinese wine producers face challenges when it comes to growing vines in places such as Ningxia, a centre of the country's growing wine industry near the Mongolian border where winters hit -25degC.

China consumed 132 million cases of wine in 2015, and now has more vineyards than France.

If the experiment is successful, it could boost economic activity for the country's wine industry, which is still losing capital to high quality, imported wines, according to Vinexpo Hong Kong.