What is biodynamic wine? It is the perfect balance between vine and soil, which is reflected in the aromas and flavours of this wine
If, in addition to the product itself, what interests you most is the history and philosophy behind its production, this article on biodynamic wine is for you.
Yes, biodynamic farming is all about seeking out and preserving the balance between all living things, even in a heavily man-made system like agriculture.
You’ve never heard of biodynamic wines? You’re in the right place at the right time! We can set off on a journey to discover this fascinating world!
What is biodynamic wine?
This is probably the first time or one of the first times you have heard this word. The first association you will make is with organic wine and you are not wrong! Although organic and biodynamic wines are quite distinct products, they do have some things in common.
Biodynamic wine is not a simple product to enjoy in company. It is the child of a great story of love and respect for the earth. This wine is made from grapes grown according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture.
And it is here that we encounter its particularity: it is not a wine obtained by the simple mechanical act of vinification. It comes from grapes cultivated in specific ways, thanks to the harmony between farmer, land, plants and sky. For biodynamic wine this means something profound and fascinating, doesn’t it?
Biodynamic wine, in the wider universe of biodynamics
To understand what biodynamic wine means, we must first understand the methods and philosophy on which biodynamic agriculture is based.
The architect of this grandiose work was Rudolf Steiner, the thinker of a philosophy that perceives reality as a constantly evolving spiritual manifestation. Indeed, the spiritual component is strongly present in biodynamic farming. Man must produce in harmony with nature, this is the founding pillar. To welcome its fruits without disfiguring it, respecting its time and limits. What is biodynamic farming more precisely?
The three principles of biodynamic agriculture are:
- Maintaining soil fertility
- Increasing the ability of plants to resist disease and pests
- Producing healthy, quality food
Biodynamic wine growing is part of this framework.
The curious reality of biodynamic wine growing
The raw material is worked with care and attention, from the soil to the bottle. Esotericism and spirituality meet the vine in the field and follow it into the wine cellar. It is essential that the wine making process respects biodynamic principles.
The production process of biodynamic wine is not regulated by any recognised European specifications. In fact, the biodynamic farming association Demeter is working in this direction. However, they have provided guidelines for companies that decide to produce biodynamic wines.
To be Demeter certified, the biodynamic quality of the grapes must be preserved and transferred into the wine. Biodynamic winemaking methods must therefore observe the following principles:
- The resulting wine must be of high quality in terms of taste and digestibility.
- Sulphur dioxide must be used in minimal quantities.
- Processes involving energy or raw materials from outside the agricultural system are to be avoided.
- Adjuvants and additives that adversely affect human health and the environment should be avoided.
- Physical methods should be preferred to chemical methods.
- All by-products of grape processing should be managed in such a way as to minimise negative effects on the environment.
From principles to biodynamic winemaking
Demeter also provides standards to conduct winemaking respecting the biodynamic raw material:
- Grapes must be 100% Demeter certified and grown in Italy.
- Only manual harvesting is permitted.
- The marc may be used for further processing or returned to the vineyard after appropriate composting.
- Machinery must make maximum use of gravity and respect the integrity of the grape-to-wine metamorphosis process.
- Wooden, stainless steel, concrete and terracotta containers may be used.
- Thermovinification is not permitted
- Pasteurisation is prohibited
- Only indigenous yeasts may be used; fermentation must therefore be spontaneous.
- Sulphur dioxide may be added up to a maximum of 110 mg/l.
- Tartaric stabilisation is permitted with cold treatment only.
- Ultra-filtration is prohibited
- Bottling in glass with cork, screw cap, crown or glass stopper is permitted.
From caterpillar to butterfly, biodynamic wine at last
Such careful vinification to maintain the biodynamic characteristics of the grapes produces an equally unique wine.
Biodynamic wines offer a rich taste experience, usually very direct and marked. Wines of great expression and minerality that guarantee an experience beyond the senses. They bring back to the mouth and mind the alchemy created in the biodynamic vineyards and in the wine cellar.
These are wines to be enjoyed immersed in nature, in contact with the land with devotion and gratitude for that moment, for that wine. So we are talking about wines with a distinct and exuberant personality.
There are other good reasons why you should choose biodynamic wine.
If you care about the environment and want to continue to benefit from these precious tastings, it is important to choose environmentally sustainable products. Biodynamic wines respect the environment. In biodynamic farms, close connections are created between the plant and the earth. The soil must not be weakened, as one of the aims of biodynamic agriculture is to preserve the richness of the soil in terms of nutrients.
The biodynamic approach does not disturb the natural balance, farming operations are planned according to astrological and lunar cycles. So farms that decide to embrace these methods are also deciding to face today’s environmental challenges. Biodynamic farming is considered to be an environmentally regenerative practice, and by choosing biodynamic products we adopt a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and the ecosystem.
What is the difference between organic and biodynamic wines?
The question arises. At this point in your reading, you may be wondering what the differences are between organic and biodynamic wines.
The name gives us a clue, both words contain the element “bio” which means “life”, “living beings” or similar. So both practices pay particular attention to the agricultural system, which is seen as a living organism.
However, organic farming is certified and regulated at European level while biodynamics, as mentioned above, is not.
Organic farming aims to combine productivity and environmental protection and offers healthy products without toxic residues. Biodynamic farming goes beyond respect for the environment and sees agriculture as an interconnection between heaven and earth.
The focal points of the biodynamic approach are in fact the influence of the planets on rocks, plants and animals and the preparation of biodynamic composts, made up of components of animal and plant origin.
One of the best known biodynamic compost preparations is horn manure, which consists of the horn of a cow that has calved at least once filled with manure.
Therefore biodynamic vegetables, including biodynamic wine, are not only sustainable and healthy, but also charged with cosmic energy. So, by following biodynamics, we will have extraordinary wines full of character!
Would you like to try a biodynamic wine experience? Italia Delight gives you the opportunity to taste these special wines! 🍷