Biodynamic® agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Regarded by some proponents as the first modern ecological farming system,
biodynamic farming includes organic agriculture's emphasis on manures
and composts and exclusion of the use of artificial chemicals on soil
and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use
of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and
field sprays and the use of an astronomical calendar to determine times of planting and harvesting.
Biodynamic wines are made using the principles of biodynamic agriculture. In most cases, one speaks of wine made from biodynamic grapes. Increasingly these biodynamic wines are becoming known as BD wines.
The practice of biodynamics in viticulture
(grape growing) has become popular in recent years, especially in
Europe, particularly in France, but also in the "New World" (i.e.
California, Washington and Oregon; Australia, Chile, South Africa,
Canada; and, back in Europe, also in Switzerland, Italy, Austria and
Like biodynamic agriculture in general, biodynamic grape-growing stems from the ideas and suggestions of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), who gave his now famous "Agriculture Course" in 1924,
predating most of the organic movement. The principles and practices of
biodynamics are based on his spiritual/practical philosophy, called anthroposophy, which includes understanding the ecological, the energetic, and the spiritual in nature.
Many grape growers claim to have tried biodynamic methods and found immediate improvements in the health of their vineyards,
specifically speaking in the areas of biodiversity, soil fertility,
crop nutrition, and pest, weed, and disease management. Winemakers
claim to have noted stronger, clearer, more vibrant tastes, as well as
wines that remain drinkable longer. Critics say that many of these
improvements would have happened if organic farming was used, without the mysticism involved in biodynamics. Nonetheless, there is an upsurge of interest
among grape growers worldwide and in the media, with a number of very
high-end, high-profile commercial growers also converting to biodynamic
As a practical method of farming, biodynamics embodies the ideal of
ever-increasing ecological self-sufficiency just as with modern
agroecology, but arrives at this goal via ethical-spiritual
considerations. Intention, focus on detail, inner attitude and so on,
are valued as part and parcel of mastering excellence in grape growing
and wine making.