We’ve been serving up some special bottles of wine these past few Fridays and you might have seen a “biodynamic” marking on the most recent bottles. What does that mean?
Organic vs. Biodynamic
For a wine to be organic it must be made of 100% organic grapes and can’t use toxic pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. Biodynamic wine comes from an agricultural system that goes beyond organic.
What is Biodynamic wine?
The official definition of biodynamic farming is “the spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition.” Biodynamic agriculture approaches agriculture with the intention to heal the planet through regenerative practices. It considers the vineyards as a single organism that includes the plants, animals, and people, all working with the energies of nature, and not just the material. The general idea behind biodynamic agriculture is to leave the land the same or better than you found it. The process eliminates all chemicals and uses natural materials and composts. The farming is more about the lifeblood of a vineyard – other plants, insects, animals – not just the grapes.
The history of the practice and the significance of the moon…
Biodynamic Agriculture is a century old. The concept started in the 1920’s with a philosopher named Rudolph Steiner. The practice is the oldest anti-chemical agriculture movement and predates the creation of organic farming by around 20 years.
In biodynamic farming there is a great significance placed on the cycle of the moon and surprisingly on astrology. The way a biodynamic farm works is dictated by the biodynamic calendar which is separated into four kinds of days. Fruit days, root days, flower days, and leaf days. Each biodynamic calendar day coincides with one of the four classical elements – earth, fire, air, and water – a practice which has been used since ancient Greece.
Root Days occur when the moon is in any of the earth signs (Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo). These days are ideal for pruning.
Leaf Days are when the moon is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). These days are ideal for watering plants and when the plants are focused on producing chlorophyll.
Flower Days take place whenever the moon is in an air sign (Libra, Gemini, Aquarius) and are days when one should leave the vineyards alone. There is a lunar calendar for wine tasting and while it discourages tasting wine on Root and Leaf days it encourages the tasting of aromatic wines on Flower Days.
Fruit Days occur when the moon is in fire placements (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) and are the days recommended for harvesting. Fruit days are also apparently the day wine tastes best.