Tutto Bene is committed to encouraging organic and biodynamic principles in
gastronomy and wine making. Therefore we would like to highlight to you
this collection of pioneering wine makers and encourage you to experience their wines.
Most people understand the basics of organics: no use of synthetic herbicides,
pesticides or fertilizers etc., sourcing nutrients and compounds needed to grow
your produce from natural and sustainable sources and being as self contained as possible.
Biodynamics, sometimes referred to as ‘enhanced organic’ or ‘super-charged organic’,
is all of the above but goes further. It employs an overlaying philosophy that comes
from the teachings of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, back in the 1920s.
His is a holistic approach to agriculture, where all animals, plants and the solar system
are thought of as living inter-related systems that impact on each other.
“we are helping wines catch the climate and soil” –
Nicolas Joly, renowned French biodynamic wine maker
In practical terms, biodynamic agriculture focuses on having healthy, alive,
nutrient rich soils and a well balanced environment to allow the plant to harness
everything it needs to grow. It uses specific herb and mineral preparations to
achieve this – quite similar to homeopathy. These preparations are used to enhance the
vitality of plants, soils, composts and livestock. One of the main preparations is called
preparation 500 or cow horn manure. It is produced by burying cow manure in a cow
horn over winter, digging it up in spring, stirring the resultant rich humus in water to
dynamise it and spraying it over your vineyard. Manual/mechanical weed control,
nontoxic pest management, and sustainable animal husbandry are also employed.
Biodynamic also teaches that all specific vineyard and winery operations should be
timed to coincide optimally with cosmic rhythms, particularly lunar cycles.
This concept is a bit harder to grasp for most of us. But in very basic layman’s terms,
just as the moon influences the tides, it also influences water in plants and animals.
“Biodynamic grapes are a great expression of terroir and a sense of place” –
Vanya Cullen, Cullen Wines
So you can see that some people might perceive biodynamic to be a bit strange
and whacky, but anything that we don’t yet have the knowledge to fully explain can be
seen as whacky. I think the farmers/grape growers that are walking around their
properties every day and observing what is happening are the best ones to judge, and the
rate at which more and more of them are burying their cow horns is quite convincing!