Everything you need to know about Biodynamic Wine Farming.
Biodynamic wine, organic wine, vegan wine, natural wine. We are constantly surrounded by these seemingly new wine terms that you’ll find on wine labels from around the world, but what do they actually mean?
Are these words synonymous, and can they be used interchangeably? The simple answer is no. While many of these terms overlap and work hand-in-hand, they each have a very different meaning and approach to winemaking. Biodynamic wine is particularly interesting and is often overlooked in the wine world. This is what biodynamic wine farming is and why it is crucial for the wine industry and our sustainable future.
What Are Biodynamic Wines?
Biodynamic wines refer to a particular set of farming techniques that combines several spiritual, ethical, and ecological approaches in the growth of the vines and production of the wines. Essentially, those who farm biodynamically believe that everything in nature is intertwined, and the power of nature should be utilized for growing grapes (and other produce) optimally.
Some examples of biodynamic practices include the use of natural compost and fertilizers, often made on the farm where the agricultural products are grown. The phases of the moon also dictate when vines are trimmed and planted and when grapes should be harvested. Pests are controlled naturally in the vineyard, often with the addition of animals like ducks, owls, and chickens.
The idea that one should not waste is also prevalent with biodynamic farmers, so many methods are implemented to reduce water waste and power waste. Winemakers rarely add any additives or preservatives to the wine during the winemaking process, keeping it rather natural and untouched.
A lot of the biodynamic farming practices are merely based on personal beliefs with little scientific proof. Many are still skeptical about these practices, and the techniques have sparked a lot of controversies. Yet, those who farm biodynamically and consumers who opt for biodynamic wines wholeheartedly believe that it is the only way agriculture should be farmed, and the market for these products is growing exponentially.
Does Biodynamic Wine Taste Different from Normal Wine?
Since the winemaking process doesn’t differ when it comes to biodynamic wine and conventional wine, the taste isn’t noticeably different. What many have observed, however, is that because of the lack of pesticides in the vineyards and additives in the wine cellar, the natural flavors of the grapes are more prominent.
While biodynamic farming may not have scientific proof of positively affecting the wine, there is a clear impact on the natural environment.
What Is The Difference Between Biodynamic And Organic Wine?
As mentioned, there is a lot of overlap between biodynamic and organic wine, but they are not the same thing.
Where biodynamic wines focus on incorporating nature into all aspects of the winemaking process, organic wine is simply focused on making organic wine. So with organic wine, only natural fertilizers are allowed to be used, and little additives are added to the final product. But with organic wine, there is no emphasis on harvesting according to the moon calendar or using animals in the vineyard.
Why Is Biodynamic Wine Farming Important For Sustainable Winemaking?
The immense importance of nature is consistently highlighted throughout biodynamic practices. And with that focus on preserving nature and incorporating nature, it is extremely clear that biodynamic wines are the way forward if the focus is on sustainability.
Since biodynamic farmers focus on taking as little away from what nature provides and take extreme care of their farmlands, their carbon footprint is reduced immensely. Many conventional wineries are rarely worried about how much water and electricity is used in their vineyards and cellars and are even less concerned about their impact on the animals and natural environment, significantly impacting the issues we currently face with our environment.
For winemakers to move in a more sustainable direction, their focus should be on minimizing their use of natural resources and focusing more on giving to nature than removing. While biodynamic farming may not have scientific proof of positively affecting the wine, there is a clear impact on the natural environment. With fewer pesticides poisoning the animals, soil, and consumers, the impact is already significant.
By using animals for pest control and aligning farming practices with the phases of the moon, the natural ecosystem of that farm is restored and maintained. While consumers might not think there are many benefits when it comes to their wine, the benefits to the environment and the road to sustainability are abundantly clear.
As consumers, opting for biodynamic wine is the first step in the right direction. At the same time, winemakers should attempt to incorporate at least two or three techniques that reduce their environmental impact and make their wine more sustainable.