Biodynamic Wine: Drinking By the Light of the Silvery Moon or Out-Organic-ing Organic? A Look at the Latest Wine Trend With a Local Sommelier
Courtesy of Chris Costas
As if horoscope tracking wasn't embarrassing enough, astrological enthusiasts have a new fad to force down our throats. The spiritual dynamics of gravitational pull, orbiting planets, and indescribable forces have made their way into the heads of winos everywhere. The trend is biodynamic wine and it's not as technical as it may sound. In fact, the fad lands firmly on the spiritual, and often quite weird, side.
Learn about biodynamic wine after the jump.
Founded in the 1920's by Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic farming incorporates the belief that crops should be treated from seed to leaf as a life. Each crop is a small but contributing member of the entire being of the earth. The soil is a living orgasm as well, and the vine is its cohabitant. The concept stresses natural forces and energies that make up our planet and affect the foods we eat.
So let's slow down here. Energies? Forces? ...To stabilize our sanity and for a bit of clarity, we contacted Chris Costas, certified sommelier and beverage manager at Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. "It goes back centuries to the way people used to farm," says Costas. He explains that the concept has actually evolved from the basics of sustainable farming.
More or less, it's organic wine taken to an intense and sometimes creepy new level. Biodynamic wineries steer clear of chemicals, fertilizers, and other harsh treatments just like the practices of organic wineries. So what's the difference? This is when things get a little weird. "Biodynamic wine uses all of the same practices as organic farming but it also takes in and adds things like phases of the moon. So you try to harvest and do things according to the phase of the moon," he says.
Wait... what? Is this just based on moon lore? Do the farmers also hide their wives and children at the site of a full moon?
"It makes the most sense with racking. The gravitational pull of the moon pulls water and liquid. If you rack the wine when the pull of the moon is at its least you disturb the wine the least. With wine you want to disturb it as little as possible."
Ahh, now that we get. It's organic farming on crack. It's even more organic than organic. However, Costas doesn't deny that many wineries can get a little crazy. "There's some other things that are kind of kooky out there. There's even superstition that they bury certain horns and things like that in the ground -- it can get almost spooky," he says.
Spooky or not, the wine is gaining popularity and can be found at some favorite wine spots. People are latching onto the bandwagon for a sustainable pat on the back -- and they're even paying more for it. Without the use of pesticides and fertilizers, biodynamic wineries are not only running a risk, but putting more labor into keeping their crops alive. More labor and more risk means more price for a wine that tastes practically identical to its chemically charged counter-part.
"It's a huge marketing tool," admits Costas, who also discloses a bit of passion for his craft. "We want to do things that are healthy form the environment. You will feel good about buying that wine because you're buying a wine that took care of the earth at the same time."
Well, we like being green and we sure do love wine, so our conclusion: Why not go biodynamic? What do you think?
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