3 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.