Vineyard/Farm – A Living, Life-Giving System
Organic Farming emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water. Organic winegrowing recognizes that healthy soils grow balanced grapes that produce the best wines. Organic vineyards are often small, family-owned and -operated properties.
Organic winemaking uses natural processes and rejects the use of synthetic chemicals. Winemakers use organic grapes and yeasts to create wines of great character and purity.
Paul Dolan’s Organic Quality Epiphany …“After tasting the real difference between organic and conventionally farmed grapes, side by side in a sun-drenched vineyard in 1987, my entire way of thinking about grape growing changed,” says Paul Dolan. Since then he has led a revolution, changing the way top wineries think about quality.
Biodynamic® Agriculture, a sustainable system of farming, recognizes that all life is interconnected. Based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (circa 1924), biodynamics includes the ideas of organic farming.
The foundation of Steiner’s approach to farming is the blending of prescriptive, holistic practices with the farmer’s experiences and observations. Steiner recognized the rhythms of the sun and moon, the benefit of applying biodynamic preparations such as horn manure and the wisdom of organizing the farm as an independent unit.
Biodynamic winegrowers create self-sustaining farms by using natural amendments, ideally from the farm itself, to encourage growth and health in the vineyard.
Natural systems such as wildlife corridors and cover crops, along with bees, birds, owls and free-range chickens, keep populations of harmful insects and weeds in control and provide a thriving environment for the vines. Winegrowers also use nature’s own processes to restore nutrients to the soil, regulate water usage and create biodiversity to keep balance in the vineyard.
By observing the unique needs of the farm, winegrowers find creative, natural approaches that enable the vines to attain their full flavor potential. The ultimate goal for a biodynamic farm is balance and complete self-sufficiency, producing everything it needs onsite, from fertilizer to pest control and water management.
Most importantly for wine quality, biodynamic farming aims to produce a unique expression from each site and, therefore, in the grapes and wines produced from each vineyard. This expression, known as terroir, is a result of the combination of soil, sunlight hours, slope, alignment to the sun, temperature and the essential ego of place which can be tasted in the personality of the grapes and, done correctly, the wine. Many say that biodynamic wines are the most authentic expressions of terroir.