“I’m detecting aromas of blackberry, vanilla…. and cow horn!” Ok, you may not actually detect ‘cow horn’ aromas in your glass of wine but cow horn is an essential part the Biodynamic wine making process! So, what is Biodynamic wine and what do cow horns have to do with it?
A mixture of scientific fact and spiritual theory, Biodynamic farming focuses on sustainability and environmental renewal. Developed in the 1920’s as an antidote to the industrial revolution and industrial farming practices, Rudolf Steiner developed the theory in Austria in the last years of his life.
Biodynamic philosophy takes a holistic and spiritual approach to the vineyard. Scientific evidence shows some aspects of biodynamic farming improves the soil and positively impacts the resultant crops. The spiritual side is harder to quantify! Practitioners of biodynamics stuff a cow horn with manure compost and burry the horn in the ground through the winter months. The horn is dug up in the spring and the resultant manure, now rich with nutrients, is added to water. The mixture is stirred clockwise and then anticlockwise for exactly one hour then sprayed on the vineyard. Sowing and harvest follows the lunar rather than conventional calendar. There are skeptics and believers but what is clear: Biodynamics is a fascinating subject worthy of deeper study.
Next time you are in the wine shop look for Biodynamic wine. What do you think? Does the wine taste better than non-biodynamic wines? Can you taste cow horn…?