6 years ago

Three cheers for biodynamic wine

Biodynamic wine, made from grapes grown according to biodynamic farming principles, has become very popular in recent years. Lisa Bean, one of our Wines & Spirits managers-in-training, explains the unique growing techniques used to make these wines.

Biodynamic farming has been practiced since the end of World War I.

Our world was in crisis and food was at the top of the list. A man by the name of Rudolf Steiner seemed to have most of the answers. Many around the world turned to Steiner, eager to learn what he had to teach them. Steiner believed that “biodynamic farming is aimed toward building the soil – not feeding it, and not using it as a mere vehicle for delivering fertilizer for plants.”

The soil after World War I had been through chemical warfare. It was depleted of nutrients and basic soil life. He believed one of the most important pieces of biodynamic farming was to use a planting calendar that was synced to the phase of the moon
and astrology chart.

Because of Steiner’s beliefs and dedication, and with the help of farmers, the food crisis was turned around and with it came biodynamic wine.

Biodynamic wine is more expensive to buy and isn’t always easy to find on just any wine and spirits shelf, but definitely worth the money and the hunt. Biodynamic grapes are more difficult to grow and more time consuming than even organic grapes.

Biodynamic wine has the same taste characteristics as regular wine, but it is free of dyes, pesticides and any additives. Some believe that you can taste the difference, but we will let you decide.

Biodynamic wine growers have very strict certification guidelines. Biodynamic certification, called “Demeter,” requires the entire farm to be Demeter certified. No chemicals or fertilizers are ever used on any part of the farm. Key herbs are used to attract good insects, which take care of the bad ones.

There are also nine compost preparations used in biodynamic farming. This compost is put into cow horns and buried over the winter. In the spring, the horn is unearthed and the compost inside is then used as fertilizer. Farmers dilute this compost using vortexed water. Vortexing is a method biodynamic farmers use to aerate the water. Farmers stir the water by hand in one direction until a vortex (tornado shape) is formed and it is then stirred in the opposite direction.

They do this for approximately an hour. The compost is added to the water and then applied to the soil.

Biodynamic winemakers then use the same planting schedule, phase of the moon and astrology calendar that Rudolf Steiner used.

Some of my favorite wines are produced by biodynamic producers. I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of spending some time with one of California’s biodynamic winemakers a few years back. Since then, I have profound respect for the dedication, patience and determination biodynamic winemakers possess. Biodynamic farming isn’t just a job, it is a way of life.

If you haven’t tried a bottle of biodynamic wine, stop by any of our Wines & Spirits locations – we would love to help you find a bottle.