“Awaken and enliven co-creative relationships between humans and the earth, transform the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities.”
Good stuff, am I right? That’s essentially the spirit of biodynamic winemaking. Trust me when I say… It is a viiiiiiibe. What vibe exactly? It’s that we’re all connected, maaaaaaan. It’s balancing our human presence with the earth and universe. The concept actually dates back to approximately a century ago, founded by philosopher Rudolph Steiner.
Alright, so how does this hippie winemaking work?
Watch out, folks. We’re about to make the jump to some witchy vibes. Every aspect of the winemaking from farm to table is regulated by the biodynamic calendar, which was originally devised by a biodynamic high priestess. Days are divided into the following categories:
- Fruit Days, which are best for harvest.
- Root Days, when you prune your vines.
- Flower Days, where you let your vineyard flower–aka, you leave it alone.
- Leaf Days, when you encourage your leaves to grow by watering them.
These days are to be respected and revered. And of course, they aren’t to be messed with via artificial chemicals or commercial additions. This aspect is what can sometimes cause people to confuse biodynamic wines with organic wines. Don’t worry though, after this next bit, I highly doubt that you’ll ever confuse them again.
Enter the cow horn!
Composting is a huge part of biodynamic winemaking. Well, I should instead say that a very particular type of composting is a huge part of biodynamic winemaking. In the winter, cow horns are stuffed with manure and buried throughout the vineyard. Later, they’re excavated and the manure that was formerly in the cow horn gets spread throughout the vines. In the summer, cow horns are also planted, though this time with ground quartz crystals. I can’t find anywhere that says why this happens, only information that explains that it is a required process. The cow horn fertilization system rounds out your general biodynamic winemaking requirements
So there you have it–Biodynamics in a nutshell. At the end of the day, the wine all tastes the same, even if it comes from slightly abnormal practices. Drink some when you’re feeling particularly witchy! However, if you’re like me and are completely fascinated by this world, feel free to read more through my main source–the official Biodynamics website.