The principle of "all is well in moderation" is successfully applied to the field of alcohol. 1-2 glasses of quality wine a week will definitely not do any harm, on the contrary - they contribute to high spirits and well-being. But the concept of quality wine is ambiguous. The most useful organic alcohol is biodynamic wine. How does it differ from natural, organic, and how often can you afford an alcohol trip?
What you need to know about biodynamic wine
Biodynamics is so shrouded in secrets that it is often mistaken for a worldwide conspiracy or sect built around secret knowledge. It is applicable not only to winemaking, but also to any branch of agriculture. The basics of biodynamics were written by the Theosophist Rudolf Steiner. The doctrine was a universal agricultural method that helps to increase productivity and harmonizes production with natural biorhythms. Biodynamics helped attract the strength and energy of water, air, light, earth.
In 1924, a group of farmers turned to Steiner. They asked for help and advice to improve their production, attract investors and increase income / productivity. Steiner’s response was a series of lectures on an ecological and sustainable approach to agriculture, which will enhance soil fertility without the use of chemicals and pesticides. Later biodynamic ideas were accepted by the public, and are still being applied internationally. Steiner's ideas are practiced in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
The central aspect of biodynamics lies in a completely new perception of the earth. Soil - an organism that must independently provide itself with a system (animal feed / fertilizer) to support life. The disease of a certain plant or animal (one of the components) was perceived as a disease of the whole organism, and not a separate organ.
Another Steiner idea is to align the plan for sowing and harvesting with the rhythms of the moon. He pointed to the use of natural, specially prepared organic materials for working with soil, plants and compost. The philosopher always encouraged the audience not to blindly follow his instructions, but to make sure from their own experience that the judgments were correct. Steiner himself had no work experience in agriculture, and his biodynamics was only a hypothesis that could successfully be put into practice.
What wine can get a biodynamic mark
To obtain a biodynamic mark, the manufacturer must adhere to the following rules:
- vineyard care is carried out according to the phases of the moon and special indicators of the rhythms of nature;
- the winemaker is obliged to prepare organic fertilizers independently (also taking into account natural biorhythms);
- the vineyard must be clean and correctly located in terms of biochemistry;
- the winemaker uses the maximum number of manual operations, the mechanical effect on the process of creating wine is minimized;
- the winery should be designed so that the wine moves through it due to gravity, and not mechanical stress;
- mandatory fertilizers - manure that is aged in a cow horn for soil microbiology and quartz aged in a cow horn to enhance photosynthesis;
- It is forbidden to use chemical pollination of grapes. To protect the vine from aphids, rose bushes are planted next to it - the aphids will rush to the roses, leaving the grapes intact. Biodynamists should promote the development of ants that rid the vineyard of insects harmful to the vine;
- wine must be aged in oak barrels. It should not contain any chemical additives, the exception is the minimum sulfur concentration;
- Demeter or Biodivin certification available.
The popularity of biodynamic winemaking is growing every year. At first glance, the absurd following of the lunar calendar was really effective. The gathering of natural forces in a bottle has paid off - biodynamic wines periodically receive top ratings from Bettane & Desseauve (France's most progressive wine guide).
The relationship between sulfur, winemaking and biodynamics
The only thing winemakers never learned to avoid is sulfur dioxide. It is this substance that stops fermentation in wine. Manufacturers like to point out on the bottles that their wine does not contain sulfur, but this is nothing more than a lie and a marketing move.
All wines contain sulfur dioxide in a minimal concentration. It is so far impossible to do without substance in winemaking.
The only thing that may differ in wines from different vineyards is the concentration of sulfur dioxide. In biodynamic wine, its content will be an order of magnitude lower than in ordinary or organic wine. How important is it?
Sulfur dioxide is added to wines, which will have to endure a long transportation. The producer literally pours a large amount of sulfur into the wine, which is why in the morning, even after 1-2 glasses, you will have a terrible hangover. After a few glasses of biodynamic wine, a battered condition, headache and lousy well-being are hardly possible.
But there are exceptions to the rules. Some biodynamists have completely abandoned sulfur. They do not stop the process of fermentation of the liquid, so the substance simply has nowhere to come from in the prepared wine. For example, the Frenchman Pierre Frick makes just such a biodynamic wine. The taste of the finished product is very specific. Fermentation of the drink continues not only in the bottle, but also in your glass. Some biodynamists add sulfur dioxide immediately before serving wine, and at the winery you can taste a “clean” drink without impurities.
Where to buy and how to choose biodynamic wine
Such a serious approach to the drink must pay off. A special approach to creating wine forms a specific price - a biodynamic product costs 20-30% more than the average market price of a drink. But this is precisely the case when price justifies quality. It is believed that 1-2 glasses of biodynamic wine per week can improve health, psychological comfort and even appearance.
To distinguish the biodynamic wine on the shelf, they came up with special certificates that are placed on the labels. The most famous and oldest confirmation is the Demeter certificate. It does not certify the wine itself, but the vineyard in which it was born. But not every biodynamist will have money, and the desire to pass an international test. Certification is a rather lengthy process, therefore, there are many "not certified biodynamists" on the market. It remains only to take their word for it and trust your own feelings after drinking a dubious drink.
Biodynamic wine can be distinguished from ordinary wine even in appearance and smell. In a glass, it looks completely different - the smells are more lively, non-ironed. The fragrant palette may seem strange at first glance - an energetic wild bouquet reveals brighter and more intense than ordinary wines. The main thing is harmony, which is very difficult to achieve. Even if the vineyard received a certificate, then its taste may simply not suit the consumer. The search for the ideal biodynamic wine is a trial and error path that is built on individual taste preferences. Try, explore, and in the process, you can definitely feel the subtle world of biodynamics.
What You Need to Know About Organic Wine
Organics is a less radical technique compared to biodynamics. The essence of the method is to get the maximum benefit from the soil, without exerting special influence on it. Organic vineyards do not use non-degradable manure or inorganic fertilizers. Plowing on horses, refusing to interrupt fermentation, tracking the phases of the moon - all this goes by the wayside. Particular attention is paid to the chemical purity of the soil and the grapes themselves. All fertilizers must be natural, but without fanaticism and special scrupulousness. Organic production involves machine labor and mechanical production processes: the land is not plowed by a horse, but by a tractor, grapes are harvested not by hand, but by a special combine.
What wine can get an organic mark
To obtain an organic mark, the manufacturer must adhere to the following rules:
- the biochemical purity of the vineyard must be confirmed by regulatory authorities;
- the vineyard should be at an acceptable distance from sources of various pollution;
- it is forbidden to use inorganic fertilizers (pesticides) for soil care, only organic ones are permissible;
- requirements for the use of machine labor are less stringent than in biodynamics.
Organics is the basic step for natural and biodynamic winemaking.
Where to buy and how to choose organic wine
All organic drinks are easily recognizable by the certificates on the labels. To get a certificate, you must pass a test of the vineyard and samples of the finished drink. In most European countries, such checks are the prerogative of special units that are associated with local agriculture. Buy wines that have certificates on their labels:
- BIO (Germany);
- Single certificate of the European Union;
- AGRICULTURE BIOLOGIQUE (France);
- Ecovin (Germany);
- USDA Organic (USA).
Organics is considered the most acceptable commercial unit. They are easy to find on store shelves at a very affordable price. Taste, at the same time, can both encourage and disappoint, so focus on your own taste and wallet.
What you need to know about natural wine
Natural Wines - a completely unexpected trend of our time, which holds the primacy for the past few years. The first Natural Wines were created in France a hundred years ago. If in biodynamics and organics, winemakers focused on soil quality, then adherents of natural wine try to squeeze the most out of each stage of preparation. Everything is taken into account here - from the biochemical purity of the vineyard to the material used to make industrial containers.
What wine can get a natural mark
To obtain a natural mark, the manufacturer must adhere to such rules:
- wild yeast must be used to stop fermentation;
- the winemaker must completely abandon the use of sulfur dioxide;
- Non-traditional methods of antibacterial protection of the finished drink are typical for production;
- it is necessary to use the maximum number of manual operations and abandon the mechanical impact.
Adherents of the fashion movement lack the ecological purity of the vineyard. They formed their own fix idea - to completely abandon sulfur dioxide, which has been used since ancient times and is contained in any wine that is on the market.
The minimum sulfur concentration is practically harmless to the human body. Problems can arise only with excessive addiction to alcohol or the wrong concentration of the substance in the production of the drink. The most common consequence of consuming sulfur is a hangover.
Adherents of the natural drink decided to sacrifice the shelf life of the wine, which affected its taste, fragrant palette and market price.
Inexperienced consumers will not notice much difference between the three varieties of the drink. But if the wine list is for you something like a fascinating book, then be sure to try all three varieties of wine and make a choice based on individual preferences.