Biodynamics is based on the work of the early 20th century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. It adopts organic practices, but also incorporates the use of natural composts (or preparations) to maintain the soil healthy, and synchronizes farming work with seasons, Moon and Sun cycles, and other astrological influences. Biodynamic wines are produced with low-intervention winemaking methods to ensure that the wines themselves become a reflection of biodynamic vineyard techniques. Some of the practices in biodynamics may appear strange, such as the use of bizarre soil preparations made with herbs and bones (so they’re not exactly vegan).
There are two certifying bodies for biodynamic wines: Demeter International and Biodyvin. Certified biodynamic wines contain only up to 100 mg/L sulphites.
All the various tasks in the vineyard are regulated by the biodynamic calendar, originally created by one of the first followers of Steiner’s work, Maria Thun. She divided the days of the year into four categories: Root, Fruit, Flower and Leaf. Each biodynamic calendar day coincides with one of the four classical elements, i.e. Earth, Fire, Air and Water:
Fruit Days: Best days for harvesting grapes;
Root Days: Ideal days for pruning;
Flower Days: Days to leave the vineyard alone;
Leaf Days: Ideal days for watering plants.
Biodynamics is often viewed as a little ‘hippie’ in the ethics and processes that farmers must follow, but you may be surprised to know that some of the most expensive producers in the world are now either certified or in the process of converting to biodynamics viticulture.
Nicolas Joly, one of the most prominent biodynamic winemakers, describes biodynamics as like “Tuning a radio. We are tuning the plant to the frequencies that bring it life.”
You can find our selection of biodynamic wines HERE.