One of the essential foundations of biodynamics is the perception of the agricultural organisation as a distinct organism, which, like all other orgnisms is tied into the living rhythm of the cosmos. In this endeavour to see, think and act holistically probably lies the central difference in comparison with conventional agriculture. Not only the four seasons play an important part in biodynamics, but also the smaller units of nature`s rhythm - from the phases of the moon to the time of day, which can be suited more or less for certain applications.
The application of the compost in our vineyards happens once a year or every other year - ideally after the end of the crop cycle, so that the vines can profit from the nutrients in spring.
As a preparation yarrow acts vitalising and strengthening. It enhances the connection between vine and soil.
Stinging Nettle has many “talents” and takes on the position of mediator in nature. It acts as a sensibly distributing and balancing force.
Chamomile is a pioneer species. It colonises uncultivated soil and makes it arable for other plants, thus giving the impulse for the enlivening of the soil.
Turning over the compost serves its aeration and mixes it, and happens several times during its 1-2 year ripening period - whenever it is required by the decomposition process.
Our composting-plant is the “kitchen” in which we prepare nourishment for our vines: from animal manure, clay rich soil, green waste, grape pomace, our own biodynamic preparations, and with the help of countless little “helpers” such as worms and micro-organisms.
By virtue of its seven stomachs the special digestive system of the cow makes cow dung especially valuable, forming the main component for our compost. In addition other dung types are also employed.
Oak bark acts stimulating and contributes to the compost as a preparation by lending the vital forces a structure and guide them towards building a stable plant structure.
Dandelion with its brightly yellow flower, striving upwards, and its deep tap root, connects the energy of the sun with the strength of the soil.
The Valerian-preparation is sprayed as an embracing, protective gesture over the compost. With its calming and warming character it supports the vines in the growing phase.
The compost worms are named here as representatives of countless small and smallest life-forms, which assist in the making of the compost, if we provide for the right composition of the organic material.
As vintners it is part of our task to intervene with nature by sensitively cultivating it. The idea of biodynamics is to disturb nature as little as possible, creating a balance between nature and plantation. We achieve this for instance by applying natural compost, this way returning to the soil what our vines drain as nutrients. Due to these and other measures - like diverse planting - we sustain the quality and vitality of our soil also long-term. The compost, which mainly consists of cow dung is “inoculated” with various compost preparations, which in turn we also make ourselves from organic substances and plant parts. These preparations are applied similarly to homoeopathy in minimal doses. It is their task, to initiate and regulate the rotting process.
When pruning, we position the cut so that the vessel elements are kept intact, thus preserving the vitality of the whole vine. This way the vines stay healthy until they are very old.
The soil treatment between the vines is conducted entirely without herbicides and happens only by mechanical means. It requires much more attention to detail and often means laborious manual labour. However, only working without herbicides enables a real dialogue between vine and soil, which later expresses itself as the Terroir in the wine.
By hand picking the grapes selectively and sensibly with an experienced team of grape pickers we try to bring out the individual vintage.
Cow horn manure is sprayed in the vineyard as a preparation primarily in spring to give the vines the impulse to emerge from the soil after the winter.
Herbal infusions of Equisetum arvense, Chamomile or Stinging Nettle is used to fortify the vines and also as a gesture of closeness and bonding in our biocoenosis with the vines.
Horn silica is sprayed after frutification. It picks up the light impulse, thus supporting a balanced ripening process.
By deliberate, manual defoliation of the inner and outer fruit zone we provide our grapes with light and air. This strengthens their hardiness and contributes to maintaining their health.
By winding the shoots of our vines around the topmost wire, the shoot tip as the most important growth regulating organ remains intact. This way we avoid intense stress and maintain a lovely calm in the sap flow of the vines.
Biodiversity is a prerequisite for the balance between nature and plantation in the vineyard. By annually sowing species-rich greening we promote biodiversity, on top, as well as beneath the ground.
Above all, biodynamics has also changed us profoundly and has brought back sensitivity and empathy to us. Today we have a real relationship with all living things in our vineyards, as we understand them better and know of the part they play in the ecosystem. We don’t just encounter weeds, vermin, and diseases, but a contained and logical system of cause and effect, which we just need to understand better and that we can influence gently but efficiently. This changed perspective of things, and especially the change in the fruits of our labour make us today deeply happy and grateful.