"...The more we think we know about
The greater the unknown
We suspend our disbelief, And we are not alone...
We sometimes catch a window, A glimpse of whats beyond
Was it just imagination Stringing us along?
More things than are dreamed about, Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief, And we are entertained..."
RUSH, Mystic Rhythms 1985
What, didn't anything front-page-worthy happen on Saturday October 10th, leaving the paper scrambling for something to fill the void?
Kudos to the Press Democrat for giving away yet another front page spread - this time to Biodynamics.
Yet more free press for the Benzigers, and another shot of their comments as fragments left hanging for the public to absorb, without much in the way of explantion of the oddities they practice, and why or why not those practices should work. I do feel Guy Kovner was trying to write something that presented both sides...but it doesn't seem he understood the foundations of Biodynamics himself, or perhaps the editors didn't give him enough space to present it...
More likely it was the first. I doubt many people wold suffer through Steiner's Agriculture lectures if they didn't have to...I almost didn't finish it, and I had reason to read the damned thing! Maybe this reporter wasn't given enough time to research fully.
Shall I go into the multitude of errors he made in his farming philosophy? Maybe, but what I really want to focus on is the way wineries which practice this "spiritual science" -even though it has nothing to do with science- can capitalize on the articles it generates. Witness the quote by Mike Benziger:
“I can't look you in the eye and say it's better,” said Mike Benziger, head of the family-owned winery. “I can say it's different.”
Making biodynamic wine isn't about “technical perfection,” Benziger said. “It's about an authentic vintage, an authentic place.”
See the way in which he disarms you and "doesn't" throw mud in your eye, but then throws mud in your eye at the same time?
It's NOT about it being better...but it IS about BEING BETTER than the rest. The slight is that everything else is NOT AN AUTHENTIC vintage, and doesn't REPRESENT an authentic place
Answer me this Mike Benziger....if Biodynamics is so great, why is it you only bottle up ~30,000 gallons as BD certified and not ALL your production?
Is it because you don't have to risk your entire production volume this way, yet still get all the talking points?
Large companies are starting to take notice of the BD movement, and are looking to remove your talking points! For example, I have heard from several sources within Kendall-Jackson that they (one last year, and again this harvest) are now starting to farm using Biodynamic methods. I doubt they will convert their whole vineyard empire over to the practice, or even to get the certification, but undoubtedly they will have a few blocks they can use as a talking point. There are a few articles out in the past about how the Jackson empire had approached Biodynamics years ago [Alice Feiring], but passed on the idea of implementing it at the time.
Hopefully this move by large companies will sully the image enough for the "true believers" to abandon their odd ideas...
Read the article by Smith & Barquín at Fine Wine Magazine.com listing well thought out criticism of the movement, and link here to follow up on it with the comments.In the meantime, I'll leave you with my past posts about the subject [link here].