Sunday, January 28, 2007

A few comments re Biodynamics

A slightly contentious thread regarding BioD is going on at (click on the link, and head to the Biodynamics comments). This in response to an article rebutting the practices of BioD, and has some interesting comments so far - including some by Beverly Blanning (MW) in favor of BioD...

Shocking, I say! Just shocking!
To have an MW who has in the past written quite well regarding wine and health spouting off the same dogmatic anecdotes of the cult followers who've already sipped the metaphorical Kool-aid.
Specifically, she comes to the aid of BioD by regurgitating the old wives tale about wines being easier to filter during certain phases of the moon, Steiner's followers not needing to produce proof of their claims, etc.

Bah! Hogwash!
In fact, I've been racking
wines for decades and haven't witnessed this effect, though perhaps by some misfortune I have always done so over some gravitational anomaly...though some local winemakers seem to have alleviated that pesky gravity problem by "open[ing] up the floors in their barreling rooms so the earth's gravitational forces can better meld with the wine's energy".

Have a good read at the link & make up your own mind...

(I wish I could reproduce the original article here for you in its entirety - I'll check to see if that is possible, if not I may be able to reproduce parts here and there with permission from the two authors.)



Blogger caveman said...


Seems to sneaky.... Thanks for the heads up.. I might have to dive into this one...


January 29, 2007 5:02 AM  
Blogger St. Vini said...


Two typos: "that" instead of "than", and "Heiß" instead of the intended "Speiß"...

January 29, 2007 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

I appreciate your commitment to this topic. As someone who supports organic and biodynamic wineries (by buying their wines) I am dismayed by the lack of logic and convincing arguments about the validity of BioD as anything more than marketing gobbledy-gook. What I like about BioD is that I assume it includes and incorporates organic methodology but also that it suggests that the BioD winemaker may be paying more attention to and committing more time to the total winemaking process which may naturally result in a more carefully crafted wine. What I dislike is the ridiculous assumption that any valid methodology cannot be measured by conventional scientific technique and reasoning.

January 29, 2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

"assumption" should have been "assertion"

January 29, 2007 9:07 PM  
Blogger St. Vini said...

Thanks Erwin.

Good for you searching for committed winemakers who are really paying attention to the processes of their offerings. But I'd like to point out that it's the fact that you're following a "suggestion" the BioD winemakers are paying more attention to the right things, which is rather questionable...

I know many conscientious winemakers who don't follow BioD, in fact I can only think of a few I've ever met who weren't interested in making the best wines they could...

The fact is nobody needs to follow a sham system to be a better winemaker or produce a better wine.
And it's doubtful anyone would be spending more time in the cellar making better wine when they then have to give some of that time over to packing old horns with cow shit, picking nettle flowers, "dynamizing" water, etc.

I'm all for better winesmaking, wines and land stewardship...but I think it needs to be something that actually works - not just the image (read: suggestion, assumption...) on the part of the consumner that I'm doing so...

Marketing image...yikes!


January 30, 2007 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 30, 2007 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

oh nuts - I triggered a macro and didn't mean to include my email address - is it possible to edit that out?

January 30, 2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger St. Vini said...

But I can repost your comments w/o the address & delete the original:

"Erwin Dink said...

I don't assume that these winemakers are "paying more attention to the right things" but you're right that I am making assumptions: that they are willing to experiment and try new techniques; that they may already be well versed in "conventional" techniques and therefore the exploration of organic and/or BioD is additive, meaning that by trying more things they may be more likely to stumble on something good (and hopefully repeatable); that maybe there is more to BioD than I know and maybe it isn't all as suspect as the more sensational silliness. I guess I pretty much agree with your stance regarding the science (or lack) of it all but I'm also willing to accept that there is much that I don't know and I care more about the end result of a wine than how it was made." [address redacted/ V]

January 30, 2007 7:35 PM

January 31, 2007 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Doug Smith said...

Hello erwin. Actually, there is good peer-reviewed scientific evidence that shows the BD preps are ineffective. That is, there is no salient difference between organic and organic + preps.

And as the Demeter BD certification bodies only require that a field be organic and use preps in sufficient quantity to be certified BD, it's pretty clear that BD certification means nothing more than that a field is organic.

Now, there are all sorts of BD practitioners, and part of the problem is that it appears each has his own techniques. Nobody should deny that it's possible some of them are effective. That said, the techniques that are traditionally considered BD (pest ashing, homeopathy, astrology, 'geo-acupuncture', etc.) have either been demonstrated ineffective in other contexts or have no recognized method of action. So it's pretty clear that insofar as any BD practitioner claims to have an effective add-on to the preps, really the onus is on him to provide the controlled, peer-reviewed evidence. The fact that someone claims to be BD should necessitate caution on our part rather than hope.

January 31, 2007 7:56 AM  
Blogger St. Vini said...

Thanks for the comment, and hope that takes care of the macro problem.

My point is that we should be striving for reproducible results, and the lack of logic for the proponents of BioD doesn't help that at all. I do heartily agree that we don't know everything, but I feel that too much we do know is ignored/discarded in order to accept these tenuous foundations of BioD.

Good wine is indeed the object, but no less so is good husbandry and sustainability. The fact that pest problems may be exacerbated by following Steiner drives me nuts - how can that be considered good farming? Sorry, I have a tendency to rant on those points, and it's not directed at you, Erwin.

If people want to experiment, then great. Almost every harvest will find winemakers experimenting. But it's still ludicrous to me to step backwards five centuries in technologic advances and pronounce that good farming, especially without much in the way of proof, and needing to cast out many things which do play a part in the areas of good husbandry and sustainability.


January 31, 2007 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

I appreciate your rants, St. Vini, no matter where they're directed. I do agree with you about the importance of reproducible results. That is, after all, the basic tenet of the scientific method. I'm generally a skeptic with all things that require belief before logic and so have to admit that my willingness to support BioD wines is largely romantic. As much as I want to (and do) support organic and sustainable methods when possible that still doesn't prevent me from buying lots of great wines that aren't made that way. In a kind of illogical reverse logic I also will support BioD but not if the wines don't taste good.

February 12, 2007 11:31 AM  

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