Biodynamic farming is a holistic approach to agriculture in which vitality has the highest priority. Biodynamic farmers return more to the soil than they remove in the process of cultivating crops and animals; the farm is considered as an organism in which plants, animals and human beings are integrated together.
The significant difference is that the Biodynamic method attempts to work with the dynamic energies in nature and not solely with its material needs. One aspect of this is the use of cosmic rhythms, for instance cultivation, sowing and harvesting are scheduled if possible on favourable days.
Its origin lies in the agricultural course held by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, eight lectures entitled « Spiritual foundations for the renewal of Agriculture ». This is a response to the concerns of a group of farmers asking questions about the evolution of agricultural practices at the start of the 20th century, particularly with the arrival of chemical fertilizers and the beginnings of industrial agriculture. The Experimental Circle of Anthroposophical Farmers immediately tested Steiners indications in daily farming practice. Three years later a Co-operative was formed to market Biodynamic produce.
Use of preparations made from healing plants, minerals (quartz crystal) and cow manure, sprayed onto the land or inserted into compost are used to enhance root growth and soil life as well as to fortify the plants. Small amounts of the spray preparations are stirred for an hour before bringing them to the fields. The process, parallel to dynamisation of homeopathic medicines yields healing for the earth.
The DOC-experiment (Bio-dynamic manuring / organic manuring/ conventional farming) run for over 20 years, has shown increased soil fertility on the Biodynamic fields, as well as 85% more micro-organisms than on the parallel conventional plots.
Biodynamics in wine
Biodynamic agriculture allows the vines to express themselves perfectly. The first quality of a Demeter wine is linked to the quality of the Demeter grapes. The goal of a winemaker is to obtain the best quality of grapes so as to use the minimum number of techniques and additives during winemaking, aging and storage.
In addition to being certified in organic farming, Demeter wines meet additional requirements both in terms of grape production (production specifications) and vinification (processing specifications).