what is biodynamics ?
In the vineyard
07 December 2018
An intimate connection with the land
Biodynamic viticulture is much more than organic farming: it totally rethinks the relationship between humans and the land. Maison M. CHAPOUTIER has been a pioneer in this field, and has made it the founding principle of its philosophy.
biodynamics dates to the 1920s, originated by the Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner, who was concerned to see soils becoming poorer and to note a drop in the Quality of the food being produced. His thinking resulted in the emergence of anthroposophy, a current of thought in which science is closely correlated with the psychic and spiritual elements of the world. This new philosophy gave birth to a new form of agriculture which attempted to respect the plants, animals, and profound nature of the earth and its soils. It became necessary to learn how to treat things differently. biodynamic had been born.
Bio meaning ‘life’. Dynamic meaning ‘action’. These two words perfectly sum up the challenge involved. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are forbidden in favour of natural substances. Mineral, vegetal and animal based matter is instead used to preserve the natural balances in the vineyards. The soils are nourished using organic matter. This means that the bacteria is protected and that is the real ‘mother’ of the vine which allows it to absorb mineral through vegetable. This precious bacteria is what imparts the terroir’s true character to the vine and the wine.
At M. CHAPOUTIER, by working with the soil we get to know it better every day. It is observed, listened to, smelled, and respected. It’s a process that generates a degree of wisdom as well as much inspiration. It’s the wisdom that farmers always used to have in the past, in their fusional relationship with their land that was their most valuable asset. In biodynamics, no attempt is made to change the nature of things. It means observing, perceiving, and being inspired, to accompany the life of the plant. It means weaving a link between the infinitely small - microbial life in the soil - and the infinitely large - the influence of the planets. Going the extra mile by applying green manure, which adds more organic life to the soil. The quality of work is always the sum of the positive actions already carried out. This is particularly true of biodynamics.
For winegrowers, winter is a very special season. It’s probably their favourite time of year, the season when they are most intimately in touch with the soil, before the new lifecycle begins. The vines’ wounds are healed using a wash that is painted on (diluted wash), while the soil is left to rest.
From the sky to earth.
Biodynamics also consists of understanding the cycles of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. When these rise and when these set. This observation gives us choices. When to prune. When to harvest. The yields are respected and each terroir is given the opportunity to offer its purest expression. Its truth.
At M. CHAPOUTIER, biodynamics is passed on from one generation to the next
Is there a manual on biodynamics by M. CHAPOUTIER? No - here, everything is passed on by word of mouth, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. At each stage in the chain, in every department that makes up the Maison M. CHAPOUTIER, the principles of biodynamics are passed on. Knowledge that also circulates outside the firm M. CHAPOUTIER shares its biodynamic convictions with everyone.