These days, we’re seeing a huge focus on eco-friendly and sustainable everything from recycling to the making of clothes and home cleaning products to food and drink. Here at New York Wine Events, we totally support these efforts. Our earth is a magical place and we want to keep it as beautiful and perfect as possible, especially when it comes to our favorite beverage!
One of the ways the wine industry is keeping up with the speed of nature is with biodynamic farming. On a very generic level, biodynamic farming is a “holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition” according to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association.
When it comes to wine, the idea is to create a self-sustaining system in the soil that helps naturally grow grapes without any chemicals or pesticides of any kind, using only fertilizers from animals and other plants. The goal is to create a terroir that continues to grow and thrive on its own for centuries, which protects the future of the land.
This may sound a lot like organic wine which also comes from a very holistic growing method, and is focused on the aspects of natural elements and sustainability. The difference is that biodynamic farming also incorporates wider factors like astrology and energy of the universe. The idea is that our plants and soils are on a larger universal cycle that we need to pay attention to and feed into in order to achieve the best possible product. Things like the moon cycle and tide shifts and the solar calendar are crucial to biodynamic farming methods because of their effects on natural rhythms and systems.
This farming practice was initiated in the 1920s by Dr. Rudolf Steiner who encouraged farmers to incorporate their scientific beliefs with that of a spiritual nature in order to understand the larger world. The “high priestess of biodynamics,” Maria Thun, created a calendar from his teachings that resulted in specific days relating to the harvest which must be abided by. Fruit days are for harvesting, root days are for pruning, leaf days are best for watering and flower days are meant to leave the vines alone. If you go outside of this schedule, your results will be poor and you’ll have used up your plants for no reason.
So how does this translate to wine? Well, they don’t necessarily taste any different but they are truly a product of nature. Because there are no chemicals and everything they’ve touched is organic, some might consider them the more eco-friendly and responsible choice. It has more to do with their effect on the greater planet than their flavor profile but for some, that’s a pretty important factor.
Just like everything else in this industry, biodynamic wines are heavily regulated. Demeter International is an organization that certifies biodynamic farms and they have a database that lets you know who is making wines around the world. We have many here in the US, especially in the West, that are pretty amazing!
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The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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