Biodynamic is similar to organic farming. Both rely on grapes being grown without the use of synthetic chemicals on soil and plants, but biodynamic farming stretches the ethos to the vineyard being seen as an entire ecosystem.
An Austrian philosopher called Rudolph Steiner started the concept of Biodynamics and believed it to be a homoeopathic way of farming. He described nine different methods necessary for biodynamic farming, ranging from the use of cow manure to the implementation of medicinal plants such as chamomile, dandelions and valerian flower juice.
Methods that are unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of soil, crops and animals as a single system, and taking astrological cycles into consideration when it comes to activities such as sowing and planting. Only natural ingredients are involved in supplying the nutrients and elements needed to fertilise soil and specially prepared homoeopathic remedies are used to treat vineyard diseases and pests.
It is often viewed as a little ‘hippie’ in the ethics and processes that farmers must follow, but you may be surprised to know that some of the most expensive producers in the world are now either certified or in the process of converting. A few great examples of these are Domaine Romanee Conti, a Burgundy wine that sells upwards of £3,000, Château Beaucastel, a premium Châteauneuf du Pape at £60+, and the critically acclaimed Australian winemaker, Henschke.