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The Magic of Biodynamic

The origin of Biodynamic winemaking goes back to the 1920’s and Rudolf Steiner’s philosophical approach to agriculture which incorporated spiritual, ethical, and ecological considerations into farming. Over the past 100 years this holistic approach has garnered many supporters who claim that it has both a beneficial impact on the farmland and the produce. Supporters of biodynamic wines assert that these wines have a greater level of vivacity and energy than more commercially made wines. Whilst it is hard to prove such a subjective point of view there are more and more producers switching to biodynamic wine production, including some of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world.

Biodynamics is similar to organics but with something extra, I like to think of it as added witchcraft as so much of it is not fully understood, even if it does appear to be effective in increasing biodiversity in the vineyard and promoting the health of the vines. Biodynamic producers use special preparations at specific times of the year to improve the health of the vines and soil. An example of a biodynamic practices would be performing vineyard jobs, such as pruning or applying treatments to the vines, according to the phases of the moon. Like organic winemaking there are legal expectations for vineyard and winery management that must be met for at least 3 years before a wine can be called certified biodynamic. There are also stricter legal requirements in place for the addition of sulfite preservatives and commercial yeasts and other additives are not allowed in this low intervention style of winemaking.

If you want to learn more and taste some biodynamic wines for yourself, we are hosting a An Evening of Biodynamic Wines with Chateau Maris on Friday 8th March, 7.30pm, at South Downs Cellars, Hurstpierpoint. Chateau Maris is one of the pioneers of sustainability and biodynamics in France. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Alternatively, why not check out one of these fantastic biodynamic wine producers? We are proud to stock all these wine makers and believe that their wines are all great examples of this philosophical approach to winemaking.

Musella

Musella is set within the beautiful, green hills of San Martino Buon Albergo, near Verona. Its vineyards cover three different hillside locations on south and west-facing slopes, which offer a remarkable differentiation of soil types: the Monte del Drago, Perlar and Palazzina hills. Maddalena Pasqua is the incredibly talented winemaker at the helm of the winery. Her love for nature and deep respect for the soil led her to become one of the most fervent ambassadors of biodynamics in Italy. The result is wines with incredible elegance and focus, brimming with life and tension. You can find Musella's Amarone here and their Recioto della Valpolicella here.

Guillaume Gonnet

The energetic and charismatic Guillaume Gonnet is not your average Rhône winemaker. Extremely open in his attitude, his curious, boundary challenging approach extends beyond wine. Pursuing biodynamics wherever possible, allowing his fruit to express itself freely through hands-off winemaking and displaying his fascination for the varying soils of the Rhône through his diverse range of wines, he's just the sort of restless creative that we love to have on our list with. You can find Guillaume Gonnet’s Cairanne here, their Cotes du Rhone Blanc here and their Muscat de Beaumes de Venises here.

Umathum

Josef Umathum is well-known and widely admired as a senior figure throughout the Austrian wine community, and has given enormous help and support in different ways to many producers, particularly young ones just starting up. His philosophy epitomises the idea that we have far more to gain by working together than against each other. The winery is mainly known for its authentic red wines but also produces some very fascinating white wines. The vineyard operates under clear structures and principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture, according to the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. You can find Umathum’s Gruner Veltliner Beerenauslese here.

Domaine Capmartin

Under the skilled and insightful guidance of Simon Capmartin, his Madiran and Pacherenc de Vic-Bil Domaine has kicked this most traditional of appellations into a new, more progressive age. Certified organic for the best part of a decade, Simon now has his sights firmly set on biodynamic certification. Natural, low-intervention winemaking is the very essence of his approach. Vinification with no added sulphur, all wild ferments, plus lighter extraction of tannins makes his Madiran Tannat a step apart from the region’s more usual impenetrable blockbusters… certainly a winemaker to watch with interest. You can find Domaine Capmartin’s Pimpant Rouge here and their Tannat here.

 

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