What are Biodynamic Wines?

International Certification

Rudolf Steiner can be said to be the father of Biodynamic Farming. He set up the Demeter Association in 1928 in Europe, to ensure that Biodynamic agriculture was controlled through a farming standard, unilaterally applied through a strict audit and certification process. The standards set could be marketed and its products promoted to the public.

Demeter Certification extends to both the viticulture (growing the grapes) and the viniculture (making the wine). It is used worldwide.

In biodynamic viticulture, grape growers utilize practices such as:

  • Compost: Natural compost made from organic materials is used to enrich the soil and provide nutrients to the grapevines.
  • Fertilisation is partly achieved by utilising Cow Horns filled with manure and a mixture of humus and sometime stone. These are buried tip upwards in a section of the vineyard. They are replenished every six months.
  • Herbal Preparations: Various herbal preparations, such as camomile, nettle, and valerian, are often fermented and applied to the soil or sprayed on the vines to promote plant health and vitality
  • Biodynamic Calendar: Planting, pruning, and harvesting are timed according to the phases of the moon and other cosmic rhythms believed to influence plant growth and vitality.
  • Biodiversity: Biodynamic vineyards typically encourage biodiversity by planting cover crops, maintaining hedgerows, and creating habitats for beneficial insects and wildlife.
  • Avoidance of Synthetic Chemicals: Biodynamic farming avoids the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, relying instead on natural methods to control pests and diseases.

Biodynamics could be summarised to be “Vineyards which create their own fertility”. This covers the development of soil humus, so field sprays must provide natural minerals and food (bacteria yeasts fungi and humus) but also the immeasurable forces of nature from the process of digestion within the cow.

Autumn Vineyard
Wine Bio
Eco System

Key Differences To Organic Wine:

When treating the vines and the soil the compost must be biodynamically produced as must any field sprays to combat, mildew, insects or disease.

Acidity adjustments
Only naturals yeasts are permitted to ferment the wine. Acidity adjustments are not permitted in the wine making process.

The Vineyard as part of an Ecosystem is central to the Biodynamic culture. The grape crop growing cycle follows a timetable that is determined by astrological influences and the lunar cycle.

So, it is possible to have a wine made “using biodynamic grapes”, but it would only be Biodynamic if the Grapes were both farmed biodynamically and the Vintner followed the stricter Biodynamic rules such as Sulphite use, natural yeast and the control of acidity.

Demeter, SIVCBD and Biodyvin

Biodynamic wines are both Organic and adhere to the regulations set out by the Demeter Association, who govern and certify, as of 2018, 616 wineries worldwide, covering 20 countries and 13,158 hectares of Vineyards.

An alternative body was founded in 1995 by five winegrowers, the Syndicat international des vignerons en culture bio-dynamique (SIVCBD). It is an independent group that now numbers 215 winegrowers who have produced biodynamic wines for more than four years. These wineries are all Biodynamic whose standards are independently assessed by Ecocert. Ecocert are the main body who assess and approve Organic status in Europe, so all the wineries within SIVCBD are Organic as a starter. At the same time of inspection the SIVCBD ask Ecocert to review its members’ biodynamic oenological practices. Once the members have practised Biodynamic methods for four years they receive Biodyvin certification , again after an Ecocert inspection.

SIVCBD members are spread across France, Italy, Germany Switzerland, Portugal, and Greece. Biodyvin differs from Demeter in that the members just produce wine, as opposed to other methods of farming, such as vegetables, dairy, fruit and meat products.

Biodyvin has it’s own logo and is equal in status to the Demeter Certificate.

Biodyvin logoDemeter Logo

sunset vineyard
white wine glasss

Get in touch