Organic & Biodynamic Winemaking

In 1924, an Austrian architect, educator, literary master, and philosopher was enlisted by a group of farmers to explore the onset of various agricultural problems. Rudolf Steiner answered with a series of lectures exploring what we now call organic and biodynamic farming.

And while today many suggest that “going green” is a fad or a marketing gimmick, oenologists, viticulturists and winemakers across the world have always had great respect for the astounding benefits of carefully crafted farming practices—for the environment, the health of their farms, and the flavor of the wines they bring to market.
Today, grapes are at the top of the list as one of the most chemically treated fruits on the market—enabling rapid growth of popularity (and credibility) of organic and biodynamic (BD) wines.

Farms regulated under these certifications tend to achieve greater cost efficiency, produce healthier trees and grapes, and of course, are within the parameters of increasing numbers of organic and vegan lifestyles. While these methods are hotly debated, statistics now show that wine grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and growth stimulants provide a most favorable effect on the grape quality, shelf life, and terroir of wine.


Becoming a certified organic farmer is no easy task. Certified organic wines are defined by the National Organic Program as “…made from organically grown grapes without any added sulfites.”

The highest tier of organic farming, biodynamic wine (BDW) uses different compost preparation techniques than all other forms of agriculture. Preparing a crop for biodynamic farming takes nearly a year. A mixture of quartz crystals and water is sprayed onto the plants attracting greater and more intense sunlight, causing the crop to bare more pronounced flavors and increased aging ability.

Farms observing this method produce entirely from within the farm and 100% without the use of pesticides. A certified biodynamic vineyard is the super power of organic farming and usually surpasses organically certified farms.

A winery with biodynamic farming may fall under one or more of the following categories:

Certified Biodynamic
Certified Demeter
Certified Organic with some BD practices
Practicing Organic with some (BD) practices
Experimenting with Bio-dynamics
Converting to Biodynamic

Stefanie Payne

I am a product development lead in NASA's human exploration deep space program at headquarters in Washington, DC. When I am not telling the story of human exploration in space, my focus is on writing about travel on Earth—with articles appearing in The Huffington Post, The Travel Channel, blogs for The National Geographic Society, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessInsider, IBTimes and more. ...(Read More)

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