Biodynamic wine

Biodynamic wine

Biodynamic wines are made using the principles of biodynamic agriculture. In most cases, one speaks of wine made from biodynamic grapes. Increasingly these biodynamic wines are becoming known as "BD wines".

Biodynamic viticulture

The practice of biodynamics in viticulture (grape growing) has become popular in recent years [Paul Gregutt, "Not Woo-Woo Anymore: More and more wineries are tasting the benefits of saving the soil", "The Seattle Times", November 20, 2005. [ Reprint copy] . Accessed 2008-07-12.] in several growing regions, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Australia, Chile, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.Jack Everitt, [ Master List of 475 Biodynamic Wine Producers] , as of July 10, 2008, "Fork & Bottle". Accessed 2008-07-12.] P. C. Howard, [ The Wine Alchemy Biodynamic Directory] , July 2008, "Wine Alchemy". Includes the status of BD credentials. Accessed 2008-07-12.] A number of very high-end, high-profile commercial growers have converted recently to biodynamic practices. According to an article in "Fortune", many of the top estates in France, "including Domaine Leroy in Burgundy, Chateau de la Roche-aux-Moines in the Loire, Maison Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley, and Domaine Zind Humbrecht in Alsace," follow biodynamic viticulture.Jean K. Reilly, "Moonshine, Part 1: Why are top winemakers burying cow horns filled with manure on the equinox? Because it seems to help make great wine", "Fortune", August 9, 2004. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-11.] There are currently more than 450 biodynamic wine producers world-wide.

Like biodynamic agriculture in general, biodynamic viticulture stems from the ideas and suggestions of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), who gave his now famous "Agriculture Course" in 1924, predating most of the organic movement. The principles and practices of biodynamics are based on his spiritual/practical philosophy, called anthroposophy, which includes understanding the ecological, the energetic, and the spiritual in nature.

As a practical method of farming, biodynamics embodies the ideal of ever-increasing ecological self-sufficiency just as with modern agro-ecology, but includes ethical-spiritual considerations.


Some grape growers who have adopted biodynamic methods claim to have achieved improvements in the health of their vineyards, specifically in the areas of biodiversity, soil fertility, crop nutrition, and pest, weed, and disease management. For example, Anne-Claude Leflaive of Domaine Leflaive estate in Burgundy claims that the use of biodynamic methods saved a badly diseased vineyard, to the point that it now produces some of her most highly prized wines. However, a long-term study comparing biodynamic methods with general organic farming methods in different vineyard blocks at a commercial vineyard in California found no differences in soil quality, nor in the yield per vine, clusters per vine, and cluster and berry weight. [cite journal |author=Reeve, Jennifer R. |coauthors=Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, John P. Reganold, Alan L. York, Glenn McGourty and Leo P. McCloskey |year=2005|title=Soil and Winegrape Quality in Biodynamically and Organically Managed Vineyards |url= |journal=American Journal of Enology and Viticulture |volume=56 |issue=4 |pages=367–376 |publisher=American Society for Enology and Viticulture |accessdate=2008-07-12]

Biodynamic winemakers claim to have noted stronger, clearer, more vibrant tastes, as well as wines that remain drinkable longer. Biodynamic wines are more "floral", according to Spanish biodynamic vintner Perez Palacios. [Beppi Crosariol, "Converted: I'm a biodynamic believer", "Globe and Mail", February 13, 2008. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-13.] Biodynamic producers also note that their methods tend to result in better balance in growth, where the sugar production in the grapes coincides with physiological ripeness, resulting in a wine with the correct balance of flavor and alcohol content, even with changing climate conditions. [Roland Brunner, "Alto Adige goes green: Part 3: The stars go green too", "Wein-Plus Magazine", February 25, 2008. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-13.]

In a blind tasting of 10 pairs of biodynamic and conventionally-made wines, conducted by "Fortune" and judged by seven wine experts including a Master of Wine and head sommeliers, nine of the biodynamic wines were judged superior to their conventional counterpart. [Jean K. Reilly, "Taste-Test Results", "Fortune", August 23, 2004. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-12.] The biodynamic wines "were found to have better expressions of "terroir", the way in which a wine can represent its specific place of origin in its aroma, flavor, and texture."Jean K. Reilly, "Moonshine, Part 2: A blind sampling of 20 wines shows that biodynamics works. But how? (This, by the way, is why we went into journalism.)", "Fortune", August 23, 2004. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-11.] Critics caution that such comparisons of wines of the same type need to be controlled for differences in soil and subsoil, and the farming and processing techniques used.

Critics say that many of the improvements in vineyard health and wine taste would have happened if organic farming were used, without the mysticism and increased effort involved in biodynamics.Douglass Smith and Jesús Barquín, "Biodynamics in the Wine Bottle: Is supernaturalism becoming the new worldwide fad in winemaking? Here is an examination of the biodynamic phenomenon, its origins, and its purported efficacy", "Skeptical Inquirer", November/December 2007. [ Reprint] . Accessed 2008-07-12.] [cite web |author=Chalker-Scott, Linda |year=2004 |title=The Myth of Biodynamic Agriculture |url= |work=Horticultural Myths |publisher=Washington State University Puyallup Research & Extension Center |accessdate=2008-07-12] Other critics attribute the success of biodynamic viticulture to the winemakers' higher craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Ray Isle, managing editor of "Wine & Spirit" magazine, says, "So what if they also think burying cow horns full of manure will help them channel new life forces from the cosmos?"

ee also

* Organic wine
* Natural wine
* Biodynamic agriculture



*Monty Waldin, "Biodynamic Wines" ISBN 1-84000-964-0
*Nicholas Joly, "Wine from Sky to Earth: Growing & Appreciating Biodynamic Wine" ISBN 0-911311-60-2
*Paul Howard "Biodynamic Bibliography"." Extensive list of books and papers/articles on biodynamics [ Wine Alchemy]
*Paul Howard "Biodynamic Directory"." Listing of Biodynamic wine producers worldwide [ Wine Alchemy]
*Max Allen, " - Biodynamic wines in Australia". []


* [ "Converted: I'm a biodynamic believer"] "Globe and Mail", February 13, 2008
* [ "Think organic, then take a big holistic leap to biodynamics"] Montreal Gazette, Feb. 23, 2008
* [ "Rainer Loacker"] , Wein-Plus magazine, Feb. 3, 2008
* [ "The stars go green too"] Wein-Plus magazine, Feb. 25, 2008
* [ "Dolan's Code"] , Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Feb 20, 2008

External links

* [ The First International Biodynamic Wine Forum]
* [ "Biodynamic viticulture" at]
* [ "Organic Wine Journal" an online magazine for organic and biodynamic wine]
* [ Master List of 425+ Biodynamic Wine Producers] . Accessed 2008-03-06.

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