Why Biodynamic Matters
Biodynamic is more intensive, and also more controversial. Following the tenants of philosopher Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic farming, in short, seeks to improve the overall health of the vineyard as an ecosystem by increasing microbial life in the soil, allowing and managing cover crops for biodiversity, and timing certain actions with the phases of the moon (thus, the icon).
What could be controversial about that? Well, the devil is in the details. Certain biodynamic tenants could still use more support from scientific study, and some feel that we should be leery of the absolutism the movement sometimes engenders.
That said, if an approach works for a winemaker and their particular vineyard and winery, and they have evidence to suggest its the right approach for what they want to accomplish, I am all ears. The jury is still out for me on biodynamics, but I do find aspects of the practice compelling, such as treating the vineyard as an interconnected part of the ecosystem, as well as timing certain procedures with plant cycles. I'll also say that many of my favorite wines happen to be biodynamic. What I'll likely never know is if they are my favorite because they are biodynamic, or just because they are meticulously made wines.
As with the organic icon, if the biodynamic moon is colored dark green, that means they've gone the extra mile for biodynamic certification through Demeter or Biodyvin.
As you can see, I am not dogmatic on this topic, but I do want to celebrate the commitment to reducing the use of chemicals, or at the very least, limiting their application. There are other certifications that I hope catch on as well, most notably certifying wineries for operating with biodiversity in mind. This will be an evolving subject matter for sure.