The Octavian Vaults blog was created to give both discerning fine wine experts and novices, all the information they need about the world of wine. If you have read some of our articles before, you will have found features about everything from PH levels and the ageing process to investing and wine tasting notes.
Following some feedback from our valued customers, today's feature will give you the lowdown on biodynamic wines and how they are used. Read on to find out all you need to know about one of the fastest emerging styles of wine harvesting.
Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing, using the principles of biodynamic viticulture. The method takes organic farming to a more spiritual level and was championed in the 1920’s by Rudolf Steiner and then Maria Thun, who continued publish biodynamic calendars until her death in 2012.
Essentially, nothing. Critics of the process criticise biodynamic wines as “hippy” due to the fact that they are centred around celestial energy whilst others argue that it is the only way to really allow the terroir of a wine to express itself. So, it really is organic farming and then some.
When looking for a truly natural wine, one should look no further than biodynamics and you can see a list of certified biodynamic producers here. There are others on the list who have been involved with biodynamic farming methods whilst not strictly speaking gaining accreditation as they see the process as a philosophy rather than a set of rules.
Biodynamic viticulture and the wine production based on the method uses organic farming methods such as employing compost as fertiliser and avoiding most pesticides – as is the case with most organic processes. Soil supplements are also prepared according to Rudolf Steiner's formulas, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, the earth is also treated as a living and receptive organism. This is the aspect of the production method which divides opinion as to its efficacy but as already mentioned, his work has been continued right up to this present day.
Since its inception nearly a century ago, a variety of countries have adopted some form of biodynamic wine production including France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Australia, Chile, South Africa, Canada, and the United States. Indeed, as of 2013 over 700 vineyards worldwide equating to over 10,000 ha/24,710 acres were certified as biodynamic.
Perhaps the best endorsement of the production of truly natural wine has been the fact that a number of very high-end, high-profile commercial growers have converted recently to biodynamic practices. The aforementioned list shows some very credible producers and vineyards and as the global interest in organic products continues to rise, biodynamic wine will surely follow suit.
Despite some criticism from those not inclined to believe in the spiritual side of life, naturally produced wine seems to have a bright future. As has been discussed in the mainstream media, many of the top estates in France such as Domaine Leroy in Burgundy and Château de la Roche-aux-Moines in the Loire have started to adopt the process and even label some of their merchandise as biodynamic; suggesting a shift in attitude from classic areas of fine wine production.
In conclusion, it appears that although biodynamic wine production still accounts for a tiny percentage of the world’s fine wine yield and has some critics, it is a process that should certainly not be ignored. As cities such as London and Manchester continue to be gentrified and show a desire for organically, ethically produced goods; biodynamics could well grow significantly over the coming years.
If organic produce and the spiritual side of life are of no concern to you then biodynamic wine is likely to be of little interest but there could well be some merits to considering these wines as an investment opportunity.
You can find out more about a range of fine wine cellarage and storage topics by perusing the rest of the Octavian Vaults website, including our state of the art facility – Corsham Cellars. If this tickles your interest in fine wine investment or perhaps you are a seasoned investor looking for options, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our team via the site or by giving us a call on 01225 818 714.