A post (above) that’s worth spending a little time over.
I try to avoid discussing Steiner, the man, for exactly the reasons that this author has enunciated. I do believe that there are some aspects of (let me shorten it to) ‘BD’ that, perhaps, science has yet to catch up with, but I wholeheartedly concede that the general critique levelled by Joshua is incontrovertible.
There were great wines before biodynamics – even in the ‘chemical era’ of the 1960s-1990s – though far fewer than today. I believe that organic approaches to viticulture have improved sustainable grape production radically. How much of that is down to BD is a moot point, certainly far, far, less than the recent benevolence of the climate and wine pricing that allows producers to experiment and not always aim for the highest allowed yields.
The ‘DRC Fallacy’ is something of a given, as one should note that not all great farmers are great winemakers – and vice-versa – the great names (labels) happen to combine both aspects. Save for certain ‘hard to explain’ rituals (including burials!) BD is essentially very close to organic farming. For that reason alone, I’m quite happy that more and more people are taking note. That’s possibly my philosophical side speaking but from the perspective of intellectual rigour…
There is one response to “text of the day – a biodynamic critique…”
Thanks for your always contemplative observations and engaging wine assesments. As a longstanding aussie BD vigneron and farmer might I suggest that any assessment of the BD method and its results is incomplete without consideration of the Australian Demeter Biodynamic method and the work of Alex Podolinsky, now practiced as well by many European producers.This comment can obviously not address what I see as the many weaknesses of the above piece however life (which is what the BD method is all about) is complex and difficult to condense into a few short paragraphs and this becomes impossible through a keyhole view. Its true that many wine producers (who after all are often more salesmen than farmers) have used the esoteric aspect of Biodynamics to further their cause but their shortcomings in attitude and results should not be used as an assessment of the method. Beyond tasting the results, the documented work of Dr Ehrenfried Pfeifer (Steiners assistant and the developer of the first practical methodology of BD), Podolinsky(the developer of the broad scale Australian Demeter BD method), and the recent work of Dr John Russell in Australia all provide objective evidence of the value of the method both in product quality and environmental outcomes.