Biodynamic wines compared with organic and conventional wines
WRITTEN BY JOHAN REYNEKE
Conventional wines are made in the conventional way and this represents by far the biggest chunk of the wine world as we know it. The grapes for these wines are grown with the use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides as well as artificial fertilizers.
The same process of rigorous control is extended to the wine cellar. Here a whole host of things like artificial yeasts, additives to feed the yeast, enzymes, tartaric acid and a host of other variables are employed to help ‘make’ good wine.
Organic farmers prefer sustainable use of land
Organic wines are made from grapes which are farmed without the use of any herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers. The reason for doing so is that organic farmers prefer a long term sustainable use of land over a shorter term view that focuses primarily on the maximizing of profits. It could be said that organic farmers do not inherit farms from their parents – they borrow it from their children.
The same philosophy extends itself to the wine cellar. Here the use of cultured yeasts are permissible but not if they have been genetically modified. The additions of enzymes and tartaric acids are not accepted and lower sulphur levels are deemed acceptable. The general idea is that organic wines are better for you and for the natural environment.
Biodynamic farms aim for self-sufficiency
Biodynamic wines are made from grapes which are farmed above and beyond the organic call of duty. Where organic farms focus on sustainability, biodynamic farms go further and aim for self-sufficiency. The idea is to create an interdependent farming system (“seeing the farm as an individuality”) rather than one which relies on regular external inputs to continue production. In addition biodynamic farmers make use of special preparations. These are numbered 500-508 and consist largely of herbal remedies (stinging nettle, dandelion, yarrow, camomile etc) which are applied as compost preps or are sprayed as field sprays to enliven the farm.
In the cellar biodynamic wines are definitely not ‘made’ but rather ‘grown’. Less becomes more and the wine is simply seen as an extension of what happens in the vineyard. Biodynamic wines are typically wild yeast fermented with no additives except for small amounts of sulphur.