Fiona C. Phillips' Article On
Biodynamic Farming And Wine

What does biodynamics mean?..

Biodynamic Pyramid

Biodynamic pyramid in organic wine making
This pyramid sets out the principles of biodynamics.

Biodynamic Wine Regions
Author: Fiona C. Phillips

Biodynamics may be described as being the science of the earth's life forces. At one time, the earth was designed to heal and sustain itself. However, humans and the pollution that accompanies them have managed to damage this earth to such an extent that it is no longer able to renew itself at a rate faster than that at which it is being destroyed. Biodynamism recognizes the basic agricultural principles in nature and attempts to work along with these principles rather than against them. By promoting them in this way, the biodynamic farmer seeks to allow the earth to regain some of its unique ability to heal and restore itself. By its very nature, biodynamism continues to develop and evolve, rather than being a set formula.

Italian biodynamic wine in organic wine making
Sesti Winery, Tuscany, one of many Italian biodynamic winemakers.

One of the methods that set biodynamic agriculture apart is that of working according to a calendar that respects the earth and its many intricate systems and unspoken laws. This calendar takes cognizance of the magnetic fields of the planet, as well as the way the sun, moon, stars and planets interact with ours. The preparations for this type of agriculture, whether for cultivating grapes for wines or other crops, are often rather unsophisticated and even rudimentary. Herbs and minerals are infused into the soil according to the farmer's experience and knowledge and based on what the soil would, under ideal circumstances, receive and generate. Packing these herbs et al into the horn of a dead cow, which is then buried in the soil for slow infusion, is a common practice on biodynamic farms, both in South Africa and around the world.

Most of the original supporters and developers of biodynamic farming are from the generation born in the 1960's and 1970's. They were the generation that lived through the movement towards environmental sustainability, recycling, etc. Such is the benefit of their efforts towards biodynamism that even the skeptics are reconsidering their stance on this alternative agricultural method. Wine farmers all over the world are included in this movement. As a key player in the wine market, South Africa displays a firm determination to explore and implement such effective initiatives. However, despite even the most wholehearted support, many of these biodynamic supporters will confess to not understanding the full intricacies of the process or why it has proven to be so successful. What they do know is that their love, respect and commitment to the land is yielding tasty, healthy grapes, ideal for fantastic wines.

Fiona Phillips has an M.B.A. from the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business and completed several Cape Wine Academy courses, culminating in Diploma II. Her passion for wine and her fascination for the limitless possibilities of the Internet motivated the start-up .

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