Biodynamic or Natural wines are something that we see more often on wine lists and wine matching menus around the world.
The principles and practices of biodynamics are based on a spiritual and practical philosophy called anthroposophy, which includes understanding the ecological, the energetic and the spiritual in nature
But what does it mean?
Originally biodynamic farming comes from Dr Rudolf Steiner who was a philosopher, author and architect and lived in the late 1900’s. Basically it’s all about fighting nature with nature and allowing the plants (or in this case grapes) grow to their full natural potential.
The hardcore biodynamic winemaker will go through a number of rituals before planting his vines, including burying a cows horn filled with cows manure in the ground over winter to later dig it up and use it as a natural fertiliser.
But it doesn’t stop there, Rudolf Steiner also said that the decisions about when to sow and prune, should be made according to patterns of lunar and cosmic rhythms. Sounds a bit airy fairy? well maybe so, but Biodynamic growing has become very popular in not only winemaking but in all kinds of agriculture and horticulture.
German farmer and author Maria Thun found in her research that planting vegetables when the moon was in different constellations, resulted in them growing into different forms and sizes. She concluded that root crops do best if sown when the moon is passing through constellations associated with the earth element; leafy crops do best when the moon is associated with water signs; flowering plants do best associated with air signs, and fruits did better with fire signs. This also reflects in when we should drink our wine.
Today there is a lunar wine calendar that will indicate on what days or even specific times of a day that is better suited to drink wine, not just biodynamic wines but all kinds of wine.
Fascinated by this information we just had to find out more, our communications manager Kristin Jonasson met with winemaker Alex Retief and wine consultant Brendon February to discuss the importance of biodynamic wines and winemaking as well as finding out more about Retief’s newly opened Urban Winery in Sydney and get some inside tips from Brendon on what to consider when you write a winelist and match wine with food.