What Is Biodynamic Wine?
Discover the mystery and magic of biodynamic wine and learn how old-fashioned farming methods result in wines with a fresh dimension
While organic winemaking has been gaining plenty of attention in recent years, biodynamic wine is the new kid on the block - and he’s kind of dreamy! He loves staring at the moon and stars, plus he has a real spiritual side. Like any man of mystery, biodynamic wine isn’t always understood, but we’re here to show you that a little bit of mystery can be a great thing when it comes to your next bottle of wine.
If you’re committed to clean living practices, a positive lifestyle and prefer to consume products that rely on sustainable farming, biodynamic wine may just be your ideal wine match. Take a look:
What is biodynamics?
Biodynamics doesn’t simply relate to wine. It’s actually a holistic approach to farming methods encompassing organic farming that was developed in the 1920s by an Austrian, Rudolph Steiner.
At its heart, biodynamics views farms as cohesive, interconnected living systems that can achieve self-sufficiency with certain ecological principles. It incorporates spiritual and mystical perspectives, including an emphasis on astrological principles. While all this may sound very mysterious, it’s actually a very grounded approach to winemaking with a focus on holistic, ecological and ethical practices.
Biodynamic wine: the basics
Biodynamic practices are grounded in nature. Like organic winemaking, biodynamic wines avoid the use of chemical intervention, but go a step further. Winemakers or farmers create their own composts to enrich the soil, while they look to the moon cycle and astrological elements during planting, pruning and harvesting.
How to identify biodynamic wine
Hint: you don’t need to look to the moon and stars! Biodynamic winemaking is recognized and respected within the wine industry and is strictly regulated. For a wine to be considered biodynamic it must be certified by the Demeter Association, which is an internationally recognised certifying body. Biodyvin also certifies about 100 European wineries.
How is biodynamic wine made?
It’s no mystery that the magic of biodynamic wine lies in its respect for our natural world. As well as the environmentally friendly farming methods and soil preparations, biodynamic winemaking is governed by a special biodynamic winemaking calendar first developed by the late Maria Thun in the 1950s. Since 1962, her annual Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendars have been widely used.
Earth, Fire, Air, Water - all the natural elements are included in her calendar, and she even goes so far as to break the days into Fruit Days, Root Days, Flower Days and Leaf Days. It was her belief that the waxing and waning of the moon and the position of the planets affects what happens on the ground.
Farmers worldwide use her calendar as a guide to when it’s best to harvest, prune, water, or to simply leave the vineyard alone. You can even apply her approach to wine tasting! Fruit Days are considered the most auspicious days to drink wine.
Is biodynamic wine preservative free?
The same way organic wine may still contain sulphur dioxide (SO2) because grapes produce this gas during the fermenting process, biodynamic wine can also include preservatives. If you are sensitive to sulphur dioxide, look for wines that are labelled ‘free of or no added preservatives’.
The benefits of biodynamics in your glass
Bio + Dynamic = Dynamo wine
Similar to organic wines, biodynamic wines often display a purity and clarity of flavour thanks to more sustainable winemaking methods. To put this theory to the test, Fortune carried out a blind tasting of 10 pairs of biodynamic and conventionally made wines. To ensure accuracy, these wines were judged by seven wine experts including a Master of Wine and head sommeliers.
The results were that nine of the biodynamic wines were judged superior to their conventional counterparts. The biodynamic wines "were found to have better expressions of terroir, the way in which a wine can represent its specific place of origin in its aroma, flavour, and texture." We’ll leave you to be the judge . . .
Biodynamic wine works in harmony with the environment
If you’re conscious about the way your purchase decisions impact on the environment, biodynamic wine is produced in harmony with nature. Biodynamic wine is a reliable option if you are keen to support sustainable farming practices that nurture the environment for future generations—and many more vintages.
Biodynamic wine is not just a fad
Biodynamic wine is far from a trend that will come and go. With principles dating back to the early 1900s that helped in the development of organic winemaking, biodynamic wine is here to stay.
In fact, the value of biodynamics has been recognised by both boutique winemakers and high-end, high-profile commercial growers. In 2013 there were over 700 vineyards around the world that were certified biodynamic—and it has been increasing since then. These vineyards come from countries like France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Germany, Australia, Chile and many more, so there’s plenty to choose from.
Ready to try biodynamic wine?
We thought so! If you’re keen to explore a style of winemaking that’s made in harmony with nature, you’ll find a great range of biodynamic wine as well as other mindful options such as organic and preservative free. Cheers.