Representing wineries that practice Sustainable agriculture, Organic grape growing, or the science of Biodynamics has always been important to the staff of Artisan Vineyards, but never before have these ideas and practices meant so much to our customers. We are proud to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit of information that will not only make you a better-rounded wine drinker, but a more eco-conscience resident of planet earth.
A commitment to Sustainable agriculture gives a drawer the flexibility to address potential cataclysmic threats to their vineyard while remaining a faithful steward of the lands they are working. The goal of Sustainable agriculture is to farm Organically when possible, while retaining the ability to react to problems that might otherwise ruin a harvest. Many Sustainable producers are growing grapes in marginal climates that simply do not allow them the luxury of farming entirely Organic every vintage. Other Sustainable grape growers are working towards their own organic certification but do not yet have a long enough history of Organic farming in their vineyards to qualify for Organic certification. Sustainable growers use synthetic chemical additives in their vineyards only as a last resort and not at all in many vintages.
The large priority of Organic wines are in fact made from Organically grown grapes but not vinified organically. The obstacle to organic winemaking is the prohibition of sulfur compounds in the winemaking process. For better or worse, the addition of minute levels of sulfur dioxide at the end of the winemaking process is what keeps wines stable in the bottle long term. Not to add a few parts per million of SO2 when finishing your wines is to invite disaster your cellar. Organic grape farming, however, is becoming widely popular as more and more winemakers have recognized that they simply get better fruit from the vineyards that are farmed organically than those that are farmed using conventional methods. Organic certification, which is currently handled by a number of competitive entities, at its base requires the drawer to demonstrate that they are working without chemical fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, and other synthetic chemicals. These wineries must demonstrate that the vineyards in question have been handled in accordance with these Organic prohibitions for between five and seven years before certification is possible.
Based on the teaching of Rudolf Steiner, Biodynamics is a response by farmers who are concerned about the degradation of their lands. The basis of Biodynamics is more than just the prohibition of synthetic chemicals, but a commitment to actions which ensure a proper balance and harmony between land, plants, and the environment. The guiding principals of Biodynamics are:
1) to upgrade the soil and plant life in its natural environment through the use of product made from vegetable, animal, and mineral matter,
2) the application of these products at specific times during annual cycles,
3) working the land by tilling and hoeing so as to enhance the soils natural capacity to nourish the plants and animals within its reach.
In effect, Biodynamics simply takes many of the principals of Organic farming and puts them into a structured program which includes an awareness of terrestrial and lunar cycles and the natural energies of all living things.
Source by Larry Colbeck