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06.30.2004

Makers of Organic and Biodynamic Wine

A good friend of mine is heavily into organic food and drink and is constantly talking to me about it. Inspired by a recent conversation with her combined with a recent trip to see The Corporation and all the attendant guilt associated with supporting large corporate interests in just about everything we consume, I thought I might dig up some information about organic wine and see what was in the offing.

I've had some organic wines before, which range from the lousy (shall remain nameless) to the pretty good (Yorkville Vineyards). I was surprised to find that a few large producers like Niebaum-Coppola actually produce a large number of organic or partially organic wines.

Organic is cool, but then there's biodynamic, which when I heard about it recently seems more like witchcraft than a legit farming method -- as if a bunch of high(ly) new age spiritualist vegans got together and came up with a set of practices that would ensure their vineyards would always have the right aura. According to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association of America: "Biodynamics is a method of agriculture which seeks to actively work with the health-giving forces of nature." Sounds kooky right? Well it turns out that this isn't just some small movement, but some serious, big time wineries are starting to go biodynamic, including Benziger which is in the 3 year process of transitioning to a Certified Biodynamic system, and Fetzer, which established several biodynamic vineyards in 2001. Several of France's largest producers have been using biodynamic techniques for decades.

Regardless of whether they are organic or biodynamic or simply adhere to a few tenets of either, an increasing number of winemakers are moving towards these ways of cultivation, not because of a serious commitment to the environment, surprisingly, but because they think it simply makes the grapes taste better.

ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC WINE RESOURCES:

Here's a listing compiled by the Bay Area Town Hall Coalition of organic wineries in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.

This list has been updated in PDF form and can be downloaded here.

Here's a great series of articles on Biodynamic wine and Biodynamic winemaking from the Wine Anorak, a UK based wine site.

Here's another good article on Biodynamic Winegrowing from the New York Times.

This is a beverage industry article written by Sandy Block, one of the USA's few Masters of Wine on organic and biodynamic wine and consumer perceptions and misperceptions.

A 1998 Wine Spectator Article, entitled Grape Growing by the Stars.

Comments (7)

CM Frank wrote:
12.23.04 at 3:46 PM

Look into Nicolas Joly's (Coulee de Seurrant) book--Wine, from Sky to Earth. He is the biggest and most well know proponent of biodynamics--since the 80s.

Monty Waldin wrote:
01.08.05 at 9:46 AM

You'll find a list of Biodynamic wine producers in 'Biodynamic Wines' published 2004 by Mitchell Beazley, written by Monty Waldin

Alder wrote:
01.08.05 at 6:29 PM

Thanks for the comment. For thos who are interested here's a link to the book on Amazon.

Michael wrote:
05.23.05 at 10:14 AM

I have just read the article titled 'makers of organic and biodynamic wines'
and thought you might be interested in checking out:

www.biodynamicwineforum.com.au

It is the site of the First International Wine Forum which was held here in Australia in November last year. Whatever is they are actually doing it seems to be working and the wines are testamony to that. Cullen, Jasper Hill, Castagna are a few of the Australian standouts.

Anton wrote:
05.14.06 at 3:50 AM

http://www.organic-wine.bien-boire.info/
This site gives descriptions of a large number of domains and the wines they produce. It also gives information on retail outlets, both national and international.
In addition, you can read tasting notes about the wines

Carole Omalley wrote:
06.04.09 at 3:30 PM

Here is a corrected version - I came upon your blog a while back and find it very interesting. Have you heard about the new organic wine directory? I saw a news release for it today. You can find out about it at www.millenniumstarpublishing.com. Apparently they are accepting free listings for those that produce or distribute natural wines. If I remember, the book was called The Worldwide Guide to Earth Friendly Wines. Thought you'd be interested.

Law Less wrote:
12.15.11 at 7:00 AM

I am curious if anyone would be so kind as to point me in the right direction in order to accumulate information concerning the cultivation of grape vines whereas it concerns the general life cycle of the plant. My purpose is not to grow the plant, but rather to sharpen a metaphor in a poem I am currently composing. I seem to remember hearing that this plant's root structure produces at it optimum when they are stripped bear of soil at specific times during its season, but have failed to find definitive references supporting it. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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