What on earth is… Biodynamic
Written By Molly Goldwater
‘Biodynamic’ is a bit of a buzz word at the moment.
The term is synonymous with ‘Natural Wine’, and although both are batted around plenty, it can be hard to get into the nitty gritty about what these terms actually mean.
It’s probably best to start at the beginning.
And the start is with Rudolf Steiner.
You may know him as the founder of the Steiner schools, ‘Waldorf’. Yep. Same guy. Yes we are still talking about wine, bare with us…!
Steiner was a controversial man. But a controversial man with many hats. An Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, and clairvoyant. Basically, a pretty out there guy.
Steiner believed there to be a link between science and spirituality - and this is where the Biodynamic method comes in…
In 1924 Steiner developed Biodynamic agriculture - the first of the organic farming methods.
Just as with Steiner’s belief that science and spirituality interweave in life, this method of working with the land was developed as a sustainable, holistic approach.
Let’s start with the similarities with organic. Both organic and biodynamic shun the use of pesticides and man-made chemicals for their ability to harm the ecosystem, trickle down into the earth and water supply, and destroy necessary wildlife within the farmland.
Biodynamic goes a few steps further, but there are varying degrees as to how strictly contemporary farmers will be following his guidebook.
As well as not using pesticides, to be certified Biodynamic a farm must produce its own fertilisers, grow at least half of their livestocks feed on site, and set aside 10% of their land to encourage diversity in the ecosystem.
Aside from these necessary criterias, farmers are also encouraged to look to the stars and follow a lunar calendar as way of a planting schedule. Optional extra preparations for the soil include cows' skulls filled with manure and buried, encouraging rich microbial variety (a bit like the land having its morning live yoghurt drink!).
These suggestions may seem bizarre, but the allure of this approach is aligned with our modern appreciation for the symbiotic nature of our lives. We understand that a holistic balance between our physical health, our relationships, our hobbies, our mental health, what we eat, what we do…. All create the overall tapestry as to how we feel. Biodynamic farming makes great effort to appreciate and tend to all elements of the land as one organism.
Now more than ever it is important to see ourselves as part of the bigger picture, and less as the individual - for the sake of the planet. Biodynamic and organic wines may not necessarily taste different to conventionally produced wines - but they strive to see themselves part of the land past their plot; not just a machine whose sole purpose is to churn out product.
If you would like to learn more (and taste more) we have plenty of options online and in store. We also recommend visiting our friends at Limeburn Hill Vineyard - where you can fully immerse yourself… which seems the fitting biodynamic way!