Have you ever stumbled upon the word biodynamic? Did you go down the rabbit hole?
Biodynamic unifies agricultural practices, not only in viticulture but also in any other crop. It basically brings together the most sustainable and regenerative practices for the environment with astronomical cycle.
It was first theorized by the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). He sets the basis for these practices in his famous work "The Agricultural Course"
He is talking for the first time of a system that includes not only the nature and the human being, but also cosmological influences. He is talking about the influence of the moon and stars.
How this practically translates into wine production?
Well, biodynamic producers are following a more strict organic approach joint with the usage of different "preparations". These preparations have the aim to improve the natural balance of living and not living creatures.
In the picture is the famous Preparation 501, also known as "Horn Silica". A mixture of ground quartz crystal placed in cow horns is buried in the vineyard during spring and lifted in autumn. It has the aim to improve enhance photosynthesis and give plants stronger roots.
In addition to that, every process in the winery follows lunar cycles, from pruning to harvesting, from racking to bottling. It is in fact believed that by following these cycles the wine, as a living matter, will benefit of it.
What is the difference with organic or conventional agriculture?
The biodynamic approach is among the strictest in agriculture. Basically nothing chemical is allowed during the whole production and only very small quantities of sulphur and copper can be used. The plants are supported by natural agents that help to protect them from parasites and diseases.
Together with the previously mentioned preparation (500, 501, and so on) different infuses and plat based agents are used (chamomile, nettle, and many more)
It takes a lot of work and constant monitoring in order to achieve great results, but in the end we are all winners. Wines will taste alive, nature will benefit of this practices.
Unfortunately, nowadays just a very small amount of biodynamic wine producers is still very small comparing to the majority, but growing year after year.The most important organism of control are Demeter and Biodyvin, so look for their icon when buying wines next time!