Though once an isolated specialty, biodynamic wine is now gaining notice from Reuters and other conventional news.
The draw of all things organic and natural has made its way into a very traditional industry, as biodynamic wine – a practice that is far from new – is finally taking some significant steps into the mainstream and is gaining attention from large sources with widespread audiences such as Reuters.
This popularity is occurring alongside the increase in organic produce in regular grocery stores and markets, and farm-to-table restaurants. More than ever, wine producers are starting to adopt various degrees and versions of green, eco-friendly, and healthy practices. That said, the motives for developing products such as sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines may extend beyond the bottom line, and often simply make practical sense as they are being found to naturally improve the quality of the product.
According to a California Wine Institute spokesperson, Gladys Horiuchi, “Most of the wineries are family-owned businesses and they saw this as a better way to farm. They wanted to pass on healthier farms and businesses to the next generation.”
Horiouchi explained that two out of three bottles produced in California are certified for sustainability.
A Newton Vineyards winemaker from Napa Valley, Chris Millard, has said that it certainly isn’t cheap to choose to be an organic producer. His own vineyard is known for its unfiltered Chardonnays. He stated that “We are not organic. We are not biodynamic. We’re not green. We’re sustainable.”
He explained that “And by that I mean that we encompass the whole business of making wine. Being sustainable in the vineyard and taking care of the land.” For him, sustainable practices has to do with caring for the land in a different way, while making certain that the individuals responsible for growing the grapes and producing the wine will still be able to make enough money to make the business worthwhile.
The principles behind biodynamic wines come from Rudolf Steiner, a 20th century Austrian philosopher.
Steiner worked to build a better understanding of the nature of ecology and spirituality. While organic vines are grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, methods for biodynamic wines extend beyond this concept by attempting to tap into the natural and spiritual. For example, vines grown in this way are pruned and picked based on the moon phases.