What is "Biodynamic Viticulture"?


Biodynamic viticulture, or biodynamie is roughly similar to organic viticulture, except more extreme. This method of grape-growing has its roots in the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who advocated a combination of spirituality and farming, and believed that a farm should be considered as a complete, living system. Normal fertilizers are forbidden in this method. Instead, specific preparations of vegetable extracts are used to supplement the soil. What is especially unusual about this method is the fact that the timing of all farming practices is based on astronomical phenomena. That is, positions of the planets and phases of the moon. Thus, biodynamic viticulture has a commonality with Astrology. Evidence of improved results from biodynamic viticulture is largely anecdotal, however a few French domaines converted entirely to the practice in the 1990s, when they experienced a surge of popularity.

What is the difference between aroma and bouquet?

“Aroma” and “Bouquet” seemed to be used interchangeably when describing the scent of the wine, yet technically they refer to different and separate characteristics. Originally the word aroma comes from the Greek term meaning “spice.” The definition of aroma has evolved in today’s English to mean a pleasant smell (as opposed to odors which may be unpleasant). Wine tasting professionals tend to use the term aroma to distinguish the smells associated with the grape, fermenting must, or young wine. Bouquet on the other hand is used to describe the more complex flavors of wine that result from oak aging and extended bottle aging. When you think bouquet, think of the smells from a bouquet of assorted flowers verse the smell of just one single bud.

What does table wine refer to specifically?

The term table wine has two different meanings depending on where you are in the world. In America and most of the New World, table wine refers simply to non-fortified wines that rely solely on natural fermentation for their alcoholic strength (which will average between 9 and 15 percent). In Europe, table wine is a lesser quality wine that is fortified with additional alcohol and usually will have more than 15% percent alcohol by volume.

Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, Contrada by Michael Pozzan.