I was at a wine trade tasting this week and heard the man next to me ask, "Biodynamic wine? So is it really true? They use a cow horn to make wine?"
This is an expected comment whenever people talk about biodynamics. I've heard "the horn comment" dozens of times. I just finished an internship at a biodynamic vineyard so I have hands-on horn experience. At the tasting, I chimed in to explain it the horn mystery, and now he doesn't think biodynamics is so crazy. #myworkhereisdone
I'm going to explain why the horn isn't such a crazy idea.
The Horn Sounds Like a Weird Idea
First, I'm going to confirm the rampant skepticism. It's a little strange to hear that a cow horn has a role in the vineyard. It sounds like voodoo. We are used to buying gardening supplies at big box stores, and using commercially-made fertilizers. Farming and gardening is a hard science that you learn about at the university. All you need is a big, red tractor and a machine harvester and you can get the job done, right? How on earth does a horn make sense, compared to these solid options?
I'm a sommelier who is currently living and working on a biodynamic farm and vineyard called Abbondanza. It is the creation of Daniel D'Agostini, and his farm is Demeter Certified Biodynamic. He is a third generation grape grower in the Amador County, CA.
Biodynamic wine can be more nuanced, surprising, flavorful, terrior-driven, and exciting than commercially made wines, in my humble opinion. Biodynamics does not permit chemical use in the vineyard or in the winery. I think this is the key to soulful winemaking. Because I am already a big fan of drinking biodynamic wine, I am having an incredibly educational experience working in the vineyard.
The word biodynamic is a little mystifying and it's practices are misunderstood. Is it the same thing as organic? Is it regulated in any way? What does it do to the farm?
I'm a novice, but I'll break down the basics.
My name is Floreana and I'm a sommelier. I think that natural wine is the shit. I also think that sustainable farming might just save the world.