April is here and it’s the month of rebirth. Spring and sustainability is in the air! The earth is a hot topic and so is organic and biodynamic, if you’re a wine drinker. Do you know the difference between organic and biodynamic?
Here is a start to an explanation, that boils more down to the art of farming and “holistic” practices. Many modern vintners who farm organically choose to follow an even more rigorous and sustainable standard known as “Biodynamic” viticulture. All biodynamic viticulture is organic, but not all organic culture is biodynamic. First explored by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the early twentieth century, biodynamic farming stimulates biodiversity, treating the vineyard as a self-contained ecosystem. In essence, the vineyard is conceived as a whole, single, living organism of plants and animals that can be brought into self-regulating balance with as few outside inputs as possible.
While organic regulations prohibit treating soil, wines or fruit with synthetic chemicals, biodynamic principles prohibit even naturally derived treatments if they are not native to the vineyard. For example, an organic grower could purchase imported seabird or bat guano (controversial and popular with Chinese Medicine but has a high level of minerals and nutrients) as a fertilizer and soil enricher, but a biodynamic grower would rely on their own compost and the manure of their own livestock.
My grandfather was a farmer in Iowa and had the chance to see biodynamic farming firsthand as a child. Today, I am proud to represent the Boisset Family Estates (a collective of 18 wineries in France, Napa and Sonoma), which began farming according to Biodynamic principles in Burgundy in 1994, where they were an early leader in embracing Biodynamic methods. Today, Domaine de la Vougeraie is the leading organic and Biodynamic domain in the Cote d’Or with more than 95 acres under cultivation.
In California, Jean-Charles Boisset began implementing Biodynamic farming at DeLoach Vineyards in 2003, which was certified organic by CCOF in 2008 and Biodynamic by Demeter in 2010. Followed by our flagship, Raymond, also CCOF and 100% run on solar energy. The CCOF seal on a product guarantees to the consumer that the food they are purchasing has been grown and produced according to federal organic standards.
There is so much more to explore on this topic, so will take readers on a journey to our wineries in France this spring. In the meantime, here is an introduction to some of our organic wines.
Nichole Wright has a wine blog at http://wwwnicholewright.com and can be found on Instagram at @yourbonvivant and @winevivant.