Thursday, March 10, 2011

Biodynamic. Is Truth stranger than we can think?

Here's another highlight from the Vineyard Light book I'm creating.
Before we plow ahead, first, a simple definition for those who are not familiar with Bio
dynamic farming, which is gaining popularity among vineyard owners. It sprouted in the 1920s, when Rudolf Steiner, yes, the very same founder of the Waldorf School, developed a rigorous farming system that’s organic agriculture–which prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides–combined with an overlay of Steiner’s holistic philosophy and the use of nine preparations in miniscule doses applied according to planetary cycles.
So what's this planetary cycles stuff? And what the heck would the guy who developed a learning system know about farming? Some vineyard managers think it's pure voodoo, but more and more are adopting the techniques around the world.
That's Doe Ridge Vineyard pictured below. The part on the left is biodyanmically farmed, the part on the right farmed with more traditional techniques. (I organized a taste off between wines from the two parts. The results: surprising.)

The truth isn’t just stranger than we think, its stranger than we can think.
Niels Bohr
19th & 20 century Nobel Prize winning Danish physicist

I had an interesting experience with Matthew Baker, my BD consultant. Most of the biodynamic preparations are buried in the ground for a period of time to compost. When I told Matthew that I had buried some nettle in a clay pot out in the oak savannah, but had forgotten exactly where,he said, “lets go down and see if we can find it anyway.” Within a minute of walking through the field, Matthew said, “Kevin, it’s right there.” It was fascinating, the vetch and the grasses were all a foot higher in this circular area where I had buried the clay pot. Nettle is a stimulus. While it is also considered to be antifungal, its really used to stimulate plant growth, to move the plant from one physiological phase to the next. So if you want to encourage the vines to bloom earlier, you would spray some nettle on them. Kevin Chambers, owner/grower Resonance Vineyard and chief executive of Oregon Vineyard Supply, McMinnville, Oregon

So what do you think?

No comments: