biodynamic Tour de Belfort

When I shared the exciting news that our vineyard was adding “biodynamic” to “organic”, I was met by very surprised looks as to what that meant. This made me realise that 'biodynamic' is only exciting to a very small fan club as not many have heard about it.

There are about 140,000 vineyards in France, out of which less than 300 have biodynamic certification. Although biodynamic vineyards are small in number, some are very famous such as Chateau Pontet-Canet in Bordeaux- Pauillac, Domaines Chapoutier Vallée du Rhône, the renowned Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, Cristal Champagne, Louis Roederer, also in Champagne, and not least, one of the best vineyards in the world: Domaine de la Romanee Conti in Bourgogne.

Biodynamic winemakers claim to have noted stronger, clearer, more vibrant tastes, as well as wines that remain drinkable for longer. Fortune magazine conducted a blind tasting of 10 pairs of biodynamic and conventionally-made wines, judged by seven wine experts. As a result, nine of the biodynamic wines were judged to be superior to their conventional counterparts. The biodynamic wines were found to have “better expressions of terroir, flavour, and texture”.

But the wine world is divided. Biodynamic viticulture attracts extreme reactions, ranging from “it’s alla hoax”, “it’s Vaudou” to “it can’t hurt” to “it absolutely improves the wine”.

These reactions are largely based on the mysticism involved in Biodynamic which originally stemmed from the ideas and suggestions of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). The principles and practices of Biodynamics are based on his spiritual/practical philosophy, called anthroposophy, which calls for an understanding of the ecological, the energetic, and the spiritual in nature.

For us at Tour De Belfort, Biodynamic is about keeping our soil alive and healthy. Organic means we use no pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in our vineyard. With Biodynamic viticulture we are adding the use of preparations as described in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner, which even include seven medicinal plants. We believe we will improve naturally the health of our vineyard; its Biodiversity, soil fertility, crop nutrition, as well as its pest, weed, and disease management. The healthier the soil, the better the fruit - and great fruit makes great wine!

In the same way as we are certified organic by Ecocert, Biodynamic wines are certified by Demeter - and in the next stage of our progression as a vineyard, we hope to add their certification soon on our labels.