Biodynamic Wine – What is it & What Makes it Different?

The world is running towards everything green and clean. And the wine world is no different. Biodynamic wine is one of the many ways the wine industry is keeping up. 

Biodynamic vineyard with sheep

What is Biodynamic Wine?

Biodynamic wine is an holistic approach to viticulture. 

Biodynamic agriculture goes back more than a century. The idea behind the phenomenon is that all things are connected. When it comes to biodynamic viticulture the vines, humans, earth, and stars are all one. Think of it as “wine grown by the moon”.

Biodynamic vineyards use a calendar to help them determine when they should plant, harvest, prune, or water their vines. The calendar is based on different moon phases and the days are put into 4 categories

  • Fruit days are best for harvesting grapes. This is when the moon & stars are any fire sign such as Aires, Leo and Sagittarius.
  • Root days are best for pruning grapes. Root days are when the moon and stars are earth signs like Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo.
  • Leaf days are great days for watering the plants. Leaf days are based on water signs such as Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
  • Flower days are meant for you to just leave the vineyard alone. This is when the moon and stars are representing air signs like Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

Farmers take these days very seriously! Harvesting your grapes on a leaf day would be horrible because your grapes could be full of water and not as good as they could be if they were harvested on a fruit day.

These days are selected due to moon phases along with the astrology calendar. Think of it as the vines’ horoscope. When your horoscope says you shouldn’t leave the house today, you take that as an excuse to not go to the gym. Just like when it is a flower day, farmers do not touch their vineyard. 

what is biodynamic wine

What’s Up with the Cow Horns?

Biodynamic wineries use safe, no artificial additives fertilizers as well. But they take it a step further with stuffing cow horns with a manure fertilizer compost and burying them in their vineyards during the early winter months. 

Later in the spring, the cow horn and the mixture inside is taken out of the ground and the contents are spread around the vineyard. There isn’t much information about why a cow horn has to be used. But it HAS to be a cow horn, never another animal horn. 

Is Biodynamic Wine a New Thing?

Actually no, it isn’t! 

There really isn’t anything new behind the idea of biodynamics. In the early 20th century an Austrian philosopher and educator named Rudolf Steiner developed the idea. He believed that the moon and stars played a very important role in agriculture. 

In 1969 the movement took off in Alsace, France. This region remains to be one of the highest producing regions of biodynamic wines. The movement caught on in the United States in the 80s. And Frey Vineyards was the first biodynamic certified vineyard in the US in 1996. 

full moon - biodynamic wine

Difference Between Biodynamic and Organic Wines

There are a lot of different buzzwords in the green movement. Biodynamic, organic, sustainable, and natural are all different ways to describe wines. Each has some minor and major differences. 

So here is where things can get a little murky and confusing. Organic wines come from vineyards that don’t use any synthetic fertilizers when growing their grapes. Also, anything added to the wine during the winemaking process must also be organically sourced. However, no sulfates can be added.

Organic wines are NOT grown based on astrology or the moon phases. That is one of the biggest differences between these two. While Biodynamic wines also don’t use synthetic fertilizers, they are allowed to use a VERY small amount of sulfates. Which would not make them certified organic. 

Biodynamic wines use organic practices, meaning biodynamic wines can also be organic wines. But not ALL are. 

Want to Try Biodynamic Wine?

We are excited to announce that very soon we’ll be launching our very first biodynamic wine, Dark Turn Biodynamic Petite Sirah!

Watch your inbox for the official announcement coming soon! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of our first biodynamic wine – perfect for the Halloween season!

In Vino Finito

Biodynamic wine can be pretty tricky. We like to think of it as that friend who always blames everything on mercury being in retrograde. This trendy holistic approach can leave some stumped, but one thing is for sure, the wine is amazing! 

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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