“Biodynamics is a religious fervor that has nothing to do with growing grapes,” said one Napa winery owner. A November 2006 poll by Decanter Magazine showed that 52 percent of respondents thought that biodynamics was, “a load of horse manure.” Biodynamics sounds alternative and hip, but is it? Two wineries in Santa Barbara, Melville and Presidio, employ biodynamic practices and help shed some light on this complex idea of farming.
With the US trend in organic food growing by more than 20% per year it is no surprise that organic wine has become a heated topic for debate. But with the organic food flood in the marketplace isn't the absence of organic wine curious? Wine, like food, in the US must comply with the USDA standards for "organic" certification. For farmers and vintners alike this provides numerous barriers and red tape to negotiate.
Toward the end of his life, in 1924, the Austrian philosopher and educator Rudolf Steiner gave his famous Agriculture Course lectures. These he had written in response to a group of farmers concerned for the increasingly mechanized and agrochemical methods which were already changing the face of agriculture. Even this early, it was obvious to some people that, though industrialization in farming might maximize yields and bring big profits, it was inevitably detrimental both to taste and health, and not at all practical in the long run.
In the U.S. and abroad, the movement towards embracing organic foods is evolving rapidly. It seems a day can not pass without new information emerging concerning the health benefits of organic foods. Major grocers such as Whole Foods and Molly Stone’s are popping up in cities across the U.S. as consumers embrace the health benefits –and better taste – of organic foods. IntoWine.com recently chatted with Celine Guillou and Chris Tavelli, the owners of Yield , San Francisco’s first and only “green” wine bar, about “green” wine and the Yield Wine Bar experience.