What is a biodynamic wine? A biodynamic wine is a wine obtained from grapes produced with biodynamic agriculture, therefore the essential point is to understand what this type of agriculture consists of, considered by many to be a real philosophy of life. We might be tempted to define biodynamics as a more fundamentalist version of organic agriculture, with "esoteric" nuances . Certainly a biodynamic wine is an absolutely "natural" product, as synthetic chemistry is totally banned in the vineyard and cellar. But that would be far too simplistic. So let's take a short step back: knowing how it was born, it will be easier for us to understand its current meaning. The history of Biodynamics has a very particular beginning: in 1924 (!) a group of Austrian farmers asked the scholar Rudolf Steiner for a few meetings to give an answer to the problems emerging from agriculture at the time, increasingly directed towards "synthetic chemistry ", then incipient. Thus were born some lessons of Steiner, philosopher, researcher and founder of Anthroposophy, which constitute the foundation of what will later be defined as Biodynamic Agriculture. On that occasion, new points of view emerge from which to look at the phenomena of Nature and, in particular, those relating to human productive activity . The foundations are therefore laid for a conception, we would say today " holistic " of the farm. And with " holism " (a word deriving from the Greek "olos" which means "whole, whole, total"), we mean a 360° perspective of things, in which man and the world are seen as a whole and not separately . . Therefore, in the case of biodynamic agriculture (and viticulture), we think of a company in relation with the surrounding environment, with the whole Earth and finally with the Cosmos of planets and constellations . In biodynamic winemaking nothing must be left alone, but everything must be interconnected in a complexity of relationships that go beyond purely causal aspects.
This says Steiner. In Biodynamics , therefore, we speak of organic agriculture, meaning, by this, the attention towards all systems of living relationships . A plant is a living organism, as well as humus-soil system, compost, animal, farm, planet, planetary system. Recognize these realities, operate not just following cause-and-effect thoughts, but observing in the Johannine way Wolfgang Goethe means experiencing a different, mobile, "artistic" way of thinking. Biodynamic agriculture is therefore not a method, but a method of thought, a path which, even through refined techniques, leads the farmer to be the creator of a corporate body full of life and a diffuser of healthy products and vitality. As can be seen from this brief summary, with Biodynamic agriculture we go beyond the agricultural aspect and enter a philosophical sphere, as we said at the beginning, which is sometimes almost "esoteric" .
To guarantee the correct execution of biodynamic practices is the certification issued by the international association Demeter , one of the most authoritative heirs of Steiner 's teaching since the 1930s, which has established strict rules, even in the winemaking phase, in the biodynamic process. The main condition is an agronomic management that respects Steiner's agricultural method: fertilizations and treatments with only organic or natural substances such as flours or vegetable extracts, a preference for the green manure technique and integrated pest management. All grapes must be harvested manually. Furthermore, winemaking must comply with precise rules. The use of machinery considered too invasive is not permitted and widespread practices such as continuous pressing, reverse osmosis and thermovinification are prohibited. The fermentations must take place spontaneously, without the use of selected yeasts, but only indigenous yeasts. The use of sulphites is permitted, but limited to a minimum and the maximum permitted levels are lower than those envisaged by the legislation of the organic regime.
Here are the main objectives of this discipline:
A global vision of life on the planet allows the biodynamic winemaker to be able to work with mineral, vegetable and animal elements in order to fit into the phenomena of Nature in a targeted and respectful way. What lives needs what is alive.
We could say that Biodynamic agriculture is an important attempt to "govern" part of nature through new tools generated by the life processes of nature itself .
The most important operational tools of the biodynamic farmer are:
As can be understood, this practice goes beyond the aspect of cultivation with natural methods or through the absence of synthetic chemistry ; here truly particular areas are embraced and not shared by many. The scientific world (and not only) vigorously opposes Biodynamics, arguing that it is not a method proven by science, as it includes and is inspired by concepts and theories concerning the spiritual world, astrology, esoteric practices. The calendar developed by Maria Thun , for example, which has become a point of reference for the biodynamic world, is a highly contested tool in the world. It is based on the passage of the moon in the various constellations: it provides very precise indications on the best moments for sowing, homeopathic treatments, pruning and harvesting. Another highly controversial practice is that of dynamizing water , an operation widely used in homeopathy : it involves a long mixing of the preparation, respecting precise directions of movement and shaking.
It must certainly be said that today an increasing number of producers embrace this "philosophy" and, over time, become certified Biodynamic . Also included are very prestigious wineries, recognized throughout the world, which declaim and prove, with results in hand, the direct effectiveness of the method, both in relation to the agricultural aspect and that of wine as the final product. And there are also several in-depth studies that testify to the organic improvement of Biodynamic crops. As evidence of the growing interest in this matter, and as proof of what has been said, the first vintage (to be precise, the 2012 vintage) of the legendary and very famous Cristal champagne from the renowned Louis Roederer maison has been released, all in Biodynamic cultivation and production : surprising news to say the least!
We can highlight some incontrovertible aspects of biodynamic wines , beyond the scientific correspondences, verifiable or not.
Where to buy the best biodynamic wines? Actually, all over the world. It is a method of thinking that applies everywhere; it must be said that France was the cradle of this movement, in the early 80s with the action, revolutionary at the time, of the winemaker Nicolas Joly who played, and still plays, a role of promoter all over the world. Several producers' associations were then born that bring together this philosophy of thought and also include non-certified winemakers, as long as they respect the decalogue of the single association.
Naturally, these are not absolute criteria and the pleasure of drinking "traditional" wines is not excluded at all. However, it is important to have awareness and knowledge of this new reality of the wine market, which is constantly increasing.
The variety of bottles proposed is very wide and you can find biodynamic wines of all kinds : in fact, in this section the proposal includes whites, but also red wines produced through this philosophy. But also biodynamic champagne and sparkling wines.
There are many wineries that offer this philosophy for the production of their wines: in this section you can select them, as well as find the award-winning wines and the various protected denominations.