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Biodynamic Wine - Lets make it simple

A recent check of our 10 top selling wines showed that 5 of them are produced using Biodynamic practices. Two wines Château Le Puy 2007 and Huasa del Trequilemu are certified biodynamic whereas the other 3, although not certified, do follow biodynamic principles. Château Chantelune, Benedicte Jonchere and Domaine Parigot grow grapes and make their wine in a traditional way as it would have been before pesticides and farm machinery became the norm.

Biodynamic farming 

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignright" width="181" caption="Rudolph Steiner"]Biodynamic winemaking - Rudolph Steiner[/caption] of any sort follows the principles first set down by Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and social reformer who was consulted back in 1924 as farmers were concerned for the future of agriculture with the growth of mechanism and use of artificial pesticides. Steiner suggested that the primary consideration of biodynamics is that the farm as a whole is seen as an organism, and therefore should be a largely self-sustaining system, producing its own manure and animal feed. Plant or animal disease is seen as a symptom of problems in the whole organism. Steiner also suggested timing agricultural activities such as sowing, weeding, and harvesting to utilize the influences on plant growth of the moon and planets. We take for granted that the tides of the sea are dictated by the moon so it's not too difficult to consider lunar effects further. Many ancient civilisations lived their lives by the changes in the night sky and it's power should not be underestimated.  

Biodynamic winemaking

follows the principles of Steiner and examples of practices can be seen in the vineyard; from fertilisers to keeping crops to how water is treated. [caption id="attachment_1058" align="aligncenter" width="258" caption="Biodynamic Vineyard"]Biodynamic vineyard[/caption] Biodynamic vineyards will often look, to the untrained eye, unkempt with plants and weeds growing between the vines. These secondary plants are chosen specifiaclly because they add nitrogen to the soil or because they attract certain bugs that eat certain aphids that are unfriendly to grapevines. Everything is done for a reason [caption id="attachment_1059" align="aligncenter" width="257" caption="Cow horns for biodynamic fertiliser"]Cow horns for biodynamic fertiliser[/caption] Cow horns are filled with dung then buried over the winter. In spring the horns are dug up and the dried dung used in fertiliser preparations. One teaspoon of dung is added to 40-60 litres of water before being stirred in different directions for an hour. This creates different energies in the preparation making it's effects more potent when sprayed on the vineyard. Water forms are used to aid this process with each side of the 'spine' creating a vortex either clockwise or anti-clockwise. [caption id="attachment_1060" align="aligncenter" width="194" caption="Biodynamic Water Form"]Biodynamic Water Form[/caption]  

Biodynamic Calendar

The calendar, which is considered to be 'The' calendar in biodynamic farming and winemaking by Maria Thun and is based around there being four categories of day; Fruit, Flower, Leaf and Root. Depending on the 'day', and other astrological influences, dictates what practices are carried out in the vineyard. The belief is that plants react differently to the energies around them. For example, potatoes planted on a root day will yield big potatoes. But if planted on a leaf day you will yield small potatoes with lots of tops. Pruning should never be carried out whilst the sap is rising so as not to lose precious energy. In terms of wine it is claimed that wine tastes better on a fruit day. Wine tasters have experimented with the same wines at different times of the calendar to see how they taste. Follow the link for more information on Thun or to buy the calendar.   This may all seem far-fetched and hard to get your head around but more and more winemakers are now following biodynamic practices. The fact that the labour is 10-fold that of a commercially made wine does add to the cost of the bottle considerably and it is up to you what you consider value for money and how ethical you want your wine to be. Hopefully this blog has given you an overview of what is a terrifically complicated subject. If not, I liked the Wine Anorak's blog about the subject so why not have a look at that too? All biodynamic wines at the Perfect Cellar are available to buy online or in our retail space as part of the Clerkenwell Collection.

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