Biodynamic wine by Monty Waldin
There is no one better qualified than Monty to write a book on biodynamic wine. As he says in his introduction, he has worked first in conventional, then in organic and finally in biodynamic vineyards and wineries on and off since 1984 and he is convinced that biodynamics remain ‘the best tool with which to make terroir driven wines of the highest quality while enhancing rather than depleting the vineyard it came from’. The very first biodynamic vineyard he visited was in Bordeaux in the appellation of Canon Fronsac, in 1993.
Month first of all gives an in-depth exposé of the origins of biodynamics, which date from 1924. He covers the work of the pioneering Austrian Rudolf Steiner, with the philosophical reasoning behind the practice. Biodynamics depend upon key preparations and these Monty covers in exhaustive detail, providing details for the professional wine grower who may be considering converting their vineyard to biodynamics. The scope is far beyond the requirements of a mere layman and I found myself at times overwhelmed by some of the minutiae, but then there were some charming details. It is for instance best to use cow horns from their own locality. From cow horns Monty moves onto the various compost preparations, discussing stinging nettles and oak bark, dandelion and so. Dynamizing (or stirring) is a key part of biodynamic practice and that Monty discusses in great detail. And then he considers other sprays and techniques before concluding with a chapter on the celestial rhythms. This is a significant part of biodynamics as 'it is modern farming's first attempt to take account of the movements of and forces exerted by the moon and other planets, and by the sun and other stars, when timing agricultural work'. The lunar cycles and their effects are covered in detail with many pertinent observations.
In short this is invaluable for anyone who wishes to understand the intricacies of biodynamics in any detail and it is undoubtedly relevant to the continuing growth of biodynamic viticulture in the Languedoc.