Saturday, September 6, 2008

Winemakers Are No-Brainers (What Are You?)

"I bumped right into [a problem] while out for dinner,...at a Toronto eatery that specializes in ethically raised meat, local produce and sustainable alcohol. Reading through the list, I noticed they offered both an organic wine and a biodynamic one.

Unsure what, exactly, the term biodynamic meant, I asked the waiter. He said something about the grapes being grown according to the lunar cycle.

Sounded kind of hokey. Was this moon-based method of viticulture somehow greener than simply growing organic grapes regardless of the time of day?

The waiter responded that he didn't really know but thought it had more to do with spirituality and the holistic approach to wine making -- that is, from the seed through to the glass.

Still sounded hokey.

The principles of biodynamics are largely based on Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner's teachings from the early 20th century and revolve as much around the spiritual aspects of agriculture as the scientific ones. Some biodynamic winemakers are simply taking organic principles to a higher level; others go so far as to include elements of astrology and homeopathy into their technique. As Ray Isle, a senior editor at Wine & Spirit magazine, has said: 'It's kind of a no-brainer as a consumer.'"
-- Vanessa Farquharson, on the NewAge lunacy (and lies) in the world of wine, for Canada's National Post.