Biodynamic Wines – Taking in Terroir

Biodynamic wines utilize grapes harvested in vineyards that practices biodynamic viticulture (art and science of growing grapes). Biodynamic viticulture is a methodology of growing grapes based on a principle that all living organisms are inter-related and are affected by the spiritual elements within the universe. This methodology is attributed to Rudolf Steiner and Schloss Koberwitz of Silesia, Germany now a part of Poland (East of Wroclaw), who introduced it in a lecture series in 1924.

Biodynamic agriculture is a system which uses organic farming principles and promotes ecological balance by treating farming in a holistic approach and considering everything as part of a total living organism. It incorporates early agricultural practices such as: basing the planting calendar on the movement of the stars and the moon; it utilizes humus as fertilizers created in a specific system that takes into account the symbiosis of environmental elements; and uses traditional pest control measures free from pesticides.

Biodynamic wines are products of the art of growing grapes that dates back to the Neolithic period incorporated in a methodology which is now referred to a biodynamic viticulture. It is a holistic system of agriculture that gives a clear step-by-step procedure in growing grapes. It follows nine biodynamic preparations in wine production described by Steiner in his 1924 report. The brief is very specific; it uses cow manure, quartz and seven medicinal plants prepared in specific ways that use cow horns, animal entrails and animal organs as the casing. Three of the preparations are in the form of liquid spray while the remaining six are applied as solid humus to the vineyard.

Scientist questions the effectiveness of biodynamic viticulture since mysticism involved in its practice cannot be scientifically proven. However, there are facts about the biodynamic wines that cannot be disputed. Reports of vineyard who adapted biodynamic farming have stated improved and better biodiversity, soil fertility, and pest management activity. Consumer quality scores for both biodynamic and organic vineyards are expected to be higher compared to the traditional as reported in a long-term study being conducted in California.

Wine tasters have agreed that biodynamic wines have stronger and more vibrant taste. It is also observed to have a stronger floral aroma that is clearer and has a longer keeping period. Blindfold tests among wine tasters on a comparison of 10 pairs of conventional wine and biodynamic wine resulted in 9 biodynamic wines outperforming conventional wine in terms of better expression of terroir ( a term that connotes wine and place of origin) in its aroma, flavor and texture.

There is an international certification organization for biodynamic wines. It is called Demeter International established in 1928. Presently, it has 50 country members and is considered to be the oldest organic certification in Europe and accepted worldwide as the premier seal on organic farming. Vineyards that practice biodynamic agriculture have to renew their license on a yearly basis and must follow the strict guidelines as stated in the Steiner report of 1924.

Biodynamic wines with seals of Demeter International on their bottles is a sure way of buying wines that were grown and fermented free of inorganic chemicals and preservatives; it is definitely a healthier option.