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What is biodynamic wine?


In our blog post of 15th June "What makes French Organic Wine Organic?", we talked about what the label "organic wine" actually means.  Whilst organic wines are becoming more and more popular, there is also another environmentally responsible way of producing wine that is much less well understood, but is gaining momentum - biodynamic wine.

Biodynamic Wine Treatment Using Cow Horns and Manure

Biodynamic wine making shares the same root principles as organic wine, eliminating the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, and then goes much further.  The guiding philosophy of biodynamic agriculture is to respect the harmony between the earth, plants, and animals, and the natural energy from the cosmos. 

The practice of biodynamic farming dates back to 1924, after a group of farmers had voiced their concerns about the deterioration of the quality of their seeds and produce to Rudlof Steiner, an Austrian philosopher.  Steiner believed that an over-used and poor quality soil can't re-establish itself on its own.  It is therefore necessary to give life back to the soil using natural treatments using medicinal plants, or animal matter such as cow manure.  Administered following the lunar calendar, these treatments improve the wellbeing of the soil and plants, and help to produce more healthy food. Biodynamic agriculture has continued to grow in popularity, and now has many practioners in a wide variety of sectors.

Sounds pretty farfetched to many, but there are many followers and indeed initial doubters who have noted that it significantly improves the quality of the wine.  One of Gourmet Odyssey's partners confided to us that intellectually he finds it difficult to believe that the state of the moon and the herbal treatments have such a direct impact on the health of the vines, but what he has actually witnessed from biodynamic winemaker friends is that their vines are indeed healthier, resulting in better quality wines since their biodynamic conversion.

  Biodynmic Wine Certified by the Demeter Label

Biodyvin Biodynamic Label

 

In France, two labels exist to certify and show that the products have been produced biodynamically: Demeter and Biodyvin (specialised in biodynamic wine. French language only link).

Another of Gourmet Odyssey's partners, Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, started producing biodynamic Chablis wine in 1999 from their Domaine de la Boissonneuse vineyard.  In 2005 the estate received biodynamic certification by Demeter.  Clients of the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience who adopt vines at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard not only learn all about winemaking, but also about the biodynamic methods used.

Follow this link if you would like to find out more about biodynamic winemaking.

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