The hope for a healthier and more environmentally friendly agriculture
Biodynamic agriculture, more commonly known as biodynamics, is an agricultural production system that appeared in 1924, based on the dogma that every farm must be considered as a living organism. This principle gives rise to the idea that the health of ecosystems and soils is essential, and that it must therefore be protected by humans, which can be beneficial to them by tangible improvements in the quality and quantity of food produced. This practice, a pioneer in the organic farming movement, is based on the writings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, who strongly criticized the use of non-organic fertilizers and pesticides on our soils, which degraded the quality of the food produced.
The fact is that the organic balance of soils treated with chemical fertilizers is severely disrupted, contributing to the phenomenon known as “soil death” due to the reduction of fauna and the reduction in the number of micro-organisms that used to work on soil aeration and soil richness. Biodynamic agriculture is therefore intended to be sustainable and can be seen as a practice aimed at promoting greater soil biodiversity, which will be used through the use of humus to feed plants.
The concept of biodynamics therefore goes far beyond that of organic agriculture and the simple desire to preserve the environment. Indeed, we are witnessing the search for a symbiosis sometimes described as mystical between soils, plants, animals and humans. The aim is thus to achieve unique and mutually beneficial synergy effects, using simple methods: careful tillage (no tasks should be mechanized), setting up a crop rotation system to limit soil wear, using the lunar calendar to cultivate the soil, prohibiting any authorisation of sulphites (chemical compounds allowing better conservation of wine authorised in organic farming) or using bio-dynamic preparations based on the direct supply of organic matter to the soil.
The shortcomings of biodynamics: between esotericism and mysticism
It must be noted that biodynamics remains partly controversial nowadays, due to the fact that it was originally based on a more mystical than scientific approach to agriculture. Steiner rejects any science to prove the effectiveness of biodynamic preparations (mixtures with biodynamic cultivation based on organic matter), whose use he advocates in order to protect and strengthen the soil. The use of astrology has also been strongly criticized at the beginning of biodynamics.
However, biodynamic practices have developed and conquered the most sceptical, so it is frequent to notice that some uses are now used in organic agriculture, such as no-till soil preparation, compost use or polyculture. Biodynamic agriculture has therefore become a source of inspiration for farmers
What about wine in all this?
If biodynamics is nevertheless a practice of the future in viticulture, it is because it brings in its Biodynamic Wines the hope of solving the problem of soil degradation and erosion, which drastically reduce the quality of the grape and therefore directly of the wine. Soils that have become partially infertile due to the excessive use of pesticides are regenerated through these biodynamic practices that require little time and resources, which aim to increase the intensity of organic life in the vines. The vitality of the plants and the fertility of the soil are restored, the grapes produced are then more vigorous.
However, opinions remain divided as to the superiority of biodynamic wine. Indeed, while the gustatory superiority of organic wines over traditional wines tends to be unanimously recognized, that of biodynamic wines over organic wines remains to be demonstrated… No scientific measure has so far proven the prevalence of biodynamic cultivation over organic farming practices.