Biodynamics ® has inspired a complete change in the way we approach grape growing and wine making. All it takes is a sip of one of our wines to know what a profound influence these practices are having. From pruning to bud break, to bloom, to verasion, you really form a relationship with the vineyard and a bond of trust. We look at, smell, touch, listen to, taste the grapes . . . it’s the thousand little things that we pay attention to now, that inform us about the health of the soils, the grape and the land, that let us express the traits of a particular vineyard and vintage. To me, that’s completely awe inspiring.
Biodynamic winemaking is also exciting — the most exciting (and dangerous) part of biodynamic winemaking is making the decisions about what not to do. You have to resist your instincts to overreact or interfere, to trust the wine to evolve to let the natural yeasts go to work, to let nature take its course. Like letting a kid ride their bike without training wheels for the first time — you have to just stand back and watch the wine do its thing. It can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. The goal of a Biodynamic wine is not perfection per se, but rather to truly and authentically reflect the variety, vintage, place, and passion of the people who make it.
I’ve watched the biodynamic movement grow exponentially over the last decade, from just a handful of winegrowers ten or more years ago to now, with nearly twenty certified Biodynamic producers in California alone, each producing distinctive and noteworthy wines.
Yet there is still so much to come. Awareness of Biodynamics is still in its infancy. Most people out there don’t know what Biodynamics is really all about, or they’re skeptical of its efficacy. But I have faith that, just as Biodynamics builds biological capital year after year, I expect that more and more people will embrace concepts beyond the typical garden varieties of sustainability and “green.”
A leader in the American Biodynamic ® wine movement and the winemaker of the first certified-Biodynamic wine from Sonoma County (Benziger Family Winery), Mike Benziger is foremost an impassioned educator, sharing his knowledge of holistic farming with his grower partners, neighbors, and an international community of winegrowers and enthusiasts. Recently, his vision became the driving force behind a comprehensive training program that would see all Benziger growers embracing certified-sustainable, organic, or Biodynamic winegrowing.