“We don’t inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children”
(Native American proverb)
What is biodynamic agriculture?
From the acquisition of the estate, vines were cultivated using organic methods. After a short time, we implemented biodynamic methods following the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, a German philosopher(1861-1925). In a series of conferences at Koberwitz (Poland) titled “Spiritual Scientific Impulses for the Advancement of Agriculture”(June 1924) he founded this wonderful agricultural and philosophical practice.
The Principles of Biodynamic Agriculture
The three main principles of biodynamics are:
1) preserve and increase the fertility of the earth;
2) make the plants healthy in such a way that they can resist disease and parasites;
3) produce the highest quality and most nutritious food products possible.
Biodynamics is a further step compared to organic farming. In fact, it doesn’t just exclude the use of chemical or synthetic products, but thanks to the preparations made under the Steiner principles, like 500 (manure filled horns) and 501 (silica filled horns), in addition to all the other compost preparations 502 (yarrow flower) 503 (Camomille) 504 (Nettle) 505 (Oak) 506 (Dandelion) 507 (Valerian), it aims to regenerate the soil augmenting the biological fertility so the plants find a vital environment, in which to thrive. It is more than just the chemical-physical characteristics of a soil, but the biological fertility. Moreover, it is the healthy presence of organic substances, the humus, microorganisms, earthworms, insects and the myriad of living species that populate the soil and come in contact with the roots of the plant. This guarantees the wellness of the agro-ecosystem and production of healthy fruit that are intimately connected to the territory, which we see especially in the case of vines. Even more, like any good agricultural practice, the biodynamic method is based on the increase of all biodiversity: rotation of crops, observation of lunar phases for different operations (sowing and pruning, etc), the use of compost for the fertilization and the use of products only from natural origins, which in turn aids in the crops’ defence against various plant diseases.
In Biodynamic agriculture, plants are considered in the overall context of nature: from the energy they receive from the earth and the air, to the rain and the wind, the light and the heat, the sun and the moon, the planets and stars… the plants live in a microcosm, but they are part of the cosmic system. If these factors are harmoniously balanced, plants are able to grow healthy and rigorously up to their maximum potential, and in return they gift healthy fruit, rich in taste and nutrition. In fact, in the holistic biodynamic vision, the entire farm is considered a microcosm within the macrocosm, so it is subjected, like an organism, to the flux of terrestrial and cosmic energies. Through this we can easily see that the biodynamic methods promote the vitality of the soil, with benefits that arrive down to the roots of all plants. It is this environmental biodiversity that becomes a windmill, which generates grapes that are wholly connected to the unique territory from which they come. Grape vines in particular truly benefit from the principles and application of the biodynamic philosophy. If we think about the thousands of varieties planted, over millennia, in hundreds of different territories- they are planted in base of the climate and the type of soil, and cultivated according to varied techniques of training and managing, we can understand the essence and expression of the vine, the grape, and in the end, the wine. It is the fruit of a very intimate connection tied to a specific environment and it explains why we should try to interpret and help this process along, from taking care of the soil in the vinification process.
Why choose Biodynamics?
First and foremost, because it means respecting the environment, the consumer and the farmers themselves. In addition, biodynamic preparations allow the vines to express themselves better, bringing the forces that make the soil live and those that are behind photosynthesis to a material level. Photosynthesis is the realization of an intangible world turned to a tangible one: the light and heat becomes wood, leaves, and grapes. If the grape is in harmony from the onset of its creation, the grape must will be in equilibrium, and that ensures that there will be few things to do in the cellar.
There exists two categories of wine. In the first, the vine (more specifically the link with the soil and the atmosphere) has been ruined by synthetic products, with a consequential poisoning of the sap by chemicals, the destruction of soil life and the work of the roots. This approach results in an atypical and non-uniformed harvest, where a good wine can only be made using technology to correct all the parameters, from color to aroma, and in which no connection to the territory can be found. The second category is one in which the wine is made from the vines. It is one in which the vines can express themselves and there is minimal intervention in the winery- everything produced is according to the quality of the location, more specifically the terroir. The wine can be good or great, but it will always be interesting. When talking about these types of wines, the market isn’t able to classify it as “good” or “bad” but that it is a real wine.
Working in agriculture following biodynamic methods has allowed us to see productive processes with different eyes. Watching the grapes mature with more equilibrium and without chemical or synthetic substances has pushed us to find a winemaking method that would conserve and keep the wines integral characteristics intact. This is how, year after year, we began eliminating enological additives like enzymes, tannins and selected yeasts.
The grapes are harvested by hand in small crates to eliminate the possibility of being crushed during transport. Upon arrival at the winery, they are destemmed and from this point on each container follows its course, without pre-established protocols, without selected yeasts or other additives. Only when necessary to do, we add a minimum amount of sulfites. Our role has become that of interpreters, and thanks to modern knowledge, we can manage fermentation in a non-invasive way, gifting consumers authentic wines, born by an entirely natural process, that represent the terroir.