What’s in your glass: Biodynamics

There is a lot of information out these days on the concept and practice of “organic” farming and this has extended into viniculture.  Today we see advertised that our food and wine is “organic” or “natural”.  In the US, our organic food has a fairly widely excepted education and certification program through Oregon Tilth; however, the same cannot be said for wine (and beer).  Without the same accepted oversight for our beverages, there is a lot of room for interpretation of what makes a wine “natural” or “organic”.  

Going one step further, you will find “biodynamic” wines.  A very basic definition of biodynamic agricultural is based on the nine preparations outlined by Rudolf Steiner in 1924; the practice of using little intervention beyond organic based fertilizer (usually a “tea” made with manure as well as in solid compost form) and timing within cosmic cycles from start to finish of production.  A connection between astronomy and geology.  Biodynamics is practiced not only in the growth and production of wine but extends into all areas of agriculture.  I find that biodynamic wine is almost easier to interpret than its natural or organic counterparts given its straightforward directive.   While there is the Demeter Association (international) to certify “biodynamic” wine; the practice, endorsement, and acceptance, is still a source of great debate amongst many in the industry.  With the current economic and environmental climates, this too adds to the argument for and against the practice.

Regardless of how you feel about biodynamic agriculture, what really speaks is the wine.  In my opinion the best wines are balanced and a pleasurable experience.  A bad wine regardless of how it came to my glass is unfortunate, if we can obtain a great wine without too much intervention by the grower I am all for it. 

While the biodynamic philosophy saw its first acknowledgement with Rudolf Steiner, these days Nicholas Joly is one of the leading experts and winemakers in this field.  If you are in NYC this week and interested in learning more about biodynamics, there are two events you should attend: Terroir Murray Hill will be hosting Joly as he speaks about what he knows best, wine without artificial “gigahertz”, and at a Corkbuzz Wine Studio class speaking about both organic and biodynamic wines with Nicolas Joly and Christophe Ehrhart.  

Terroir (Murray Hill)
Joly on Terroir Soapbox: On nature, electromagnetism & EVERYTHING.
439 3rd Ave, NYC
February 26 @ Sun 6:30 PM, $58 (includes an awesome t-shirt too)

Corkbuzz Wine Studio
Organic & Biodynamic Wine with Nicolas Joly, Christophe Ehrhart
13 E. 13th Street, NYC
February 26 4 – 5:30 pm, $40.00

Suggested Reading:
Nicholas Joly, Wine from Sky to Earth: Growing & Appreciating Biodynamic Wine
Alice Feiring, Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally
David Flaherty of Grapes and Grains also has a great video interview of Joly.


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