Biodynamic Wine 101 With Club W
Since becoming a mom, living an organic and healthier lifestyle is a top priority. I definitely try to implement this into every part of my life by consciously understanding what certain chemicals or additives are doing to our environment and bodies. From the products we use for cleaning to the food we are putting in our body, I’m always eager for new and useful knowledge on the topic.
Fortunately, especially in Los Angeles, there is a wealth of knowledge on this subject. The same day I had the opportunity to learn about grain-free baking with the adorable girls at Sweet Laurel, I also took part in a “biodynamic” wine tasting with Club W. I walked out of that workshop with a whole new outlook on what goes into making the perfect wine starting with “biodynamics” being better for our environment. And trust me, you can taste the higher quality in the wine too. I’m OB-sessed!
After the tasting, I sat down with Brooke Matthias who is the Associate Wine Director (aka wine guru) at Club W and got the low down about the environmentally responsible process. Oh, with a glass of rose in hand, of course!
1) What is biodynamic winemaking?
Biodynamic winemaking takes a holistic approach to agriculture, including paying attention to celestial bodies (the moon, planets, and stars). All biodynamic farming practices take place according to the lunar cycle, in accordance with the belief that certain days are better for certain farming rituals and will yield better results. There are also nine different compost preparations that are required for the wine to be biodynamic — including burying cow horns!
Biodynamic farming encourages biodiversity in the vineyard. For this reason, you might find an increased presence of animals such as cows in these vineyards — as well as a diverse array of plant life and insect life. It’s a very “circle-of-life” philosophy, and though you might find it hippie, many of the best-renowned Old World producers have practiced this type of farming for millennia.
2) What is the difference between biodynamic and organic?
Biodynamic winemaking goes one step further than organic when it comes to farming the grapes. In addition to avoiding pesticides and chemicals in the vineyard, biodynamic producers use natural, herbal sprays and compost preparations to nourish the soil and vineyard. Biodynamic winemaking takes into account ethical and spiritual considerations as well as sustainability.
3) Is it healthier? What are the benefits?
Biodynamic winemaking puts an emphasis on doing what’s best for the soil and the surrounding environment, so there are clearly benefits to the vineyard and biodiversity surrounding the area. Because of this emphasis on natural processes and the total lack of pesticides and chemicals, the health benefits are similar to organic wines. It’s widely believed in the biodynamic winemaking world that wines made in this way are the best expressions of terroir — meaning they represent the land and where the wines came from the best.
4) How do I know if a wine is biodynamic?
The most common governing body that certifies whether a wine is biodynamic is Demeter International. If a wine is certified biodynamic by Demeter, there will be a little icon on the wine label that has the association's name on it. However, there are many biodynamic wines in the world that won’t have that symbol on the label because it can be a costly, paperwork-heavy process to get certified. Therefore, the best way to find out if a wine is biodynamic is to ask the producer!
5) Where can I purchase biodynamic wine?
There are more than 600 biodynamic wine producers in the world. On the Demeter website, you can find a list of all of them! These include Bonny Doon Winery, Benziger Family Winery, and Qupe/Verdad Wine Cellars, just to name a few. You can also ask your local wine shop or your favorite online retailer to see what wines they have that are biodynamic.
For more information on biodynamic wine and Club W, visit their blog “The Juice” for recommendations and yummy pairings!