The moon may control the tides, but does it influence your wine too? Read on and discover if this Halloween’s full moon will make your wine taste better due to biodynamic winemaking.
If you’ve never heard of biodynamic winemaking, you’re not alone. In the simplest sense, it’s about making wine while staying in tune with the earth. Honestly, that sounds pretty great! One of the reasons we practice dry farming is to avoid the use of chemicals, additives, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. However, there are some aspects of biodynamic winemaking that require completing tasks on certain days of the lunar cycle.
Surprisingly, this isn’t completely new. There’s a ton of folklore surrounding the different phases of the moon and how they impact farming, but this particular practice takes it a step further. Keep reading and find out whether this Halloween’s full moon will make your wine taste better!
What is Biodynamic Winemaking?
In the 1920s, a scientist and philosopher named Rudolph Steiner spoke about the negative consequences of widespread chemical fertilizers. More than that, however, he spoke about how a farm can be viewed as a single, self-sustaining organism. He wanted farmers to create a more balanced relationship between soil, plants, livestock, and humans. Ultimately, his ideas about “the healthy interplay of cosmic and earthly influences” is what founded the basis of the biodynamic method.
Basically, he advocated for a less artificial approach to farming practices. That means working with the earth instead of interfering with its natural processes. That means no added chemicals and no unsustainable farming practices. The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association states the official definition as “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition.”
However, the spiritual and cosmic part is where this practice tends to become a bit polarizing (if not downright supernatural). Oh, did we forget to mention that Steiner was a self-proclaimed clairvoyant? While charlatans were pretty common in the 20s, who’s to say whether or not Steiner really did have some secret celestial knowledge about farming.
Biodynamic Winemaking, The Moon, and Deer Bladders?
Yes, you read that right (cue the raised eyebrows and skepticism).
According to biodynamic winemaking, growing grapes “in tune with the cosmos,” means scheduling farming practices around the lunar cycle. Theoretically, crops are more successfully fertilized, pruned, or harvested during particular phases of the lunar cycle. The same goes for different processes of winemaking.
Specific days are categorized into four distinct groups (flower, fruit, leaf, and root). These categories are determined by looking at the moon’s position in relation to specific constellations. Different days are supposedly more beneficial for different tasks. If, for example, you want to harvest your carrot crop, you should do it on a root day. You know, since carrots are root vegetables. Voila!
Since chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a biodynamic faux-pas, many followers use natural alternatives. That can mean using classic compost or even Stinging Nettle tea to fight powdery mildew. There are even a few compost practices that involve fermenting certain animal parts before combining them with traditional compost. The idea here is that it provides enhanced nutrition for plants via the soil. Some of these include yarrow and deer bladders, and chamomile and cattle intestines.
Will the Full-Moon Make Your Wine Taste Better?
We’ve all probably had a wine tasting experience where an old favorite just doesn’t taste as luscious as we remember. Perhaps we just remembered the wine differently. Maybe our allergies are acting up and our sense of taste is off. But is it possible it’s because we weren’t drinking wine on an optimal day? Not only are there specific days of the lunar calendar that are better for winemaking practices, apparently wine tastes better on certain days too.
The theory is that wine should only be opened and consumed on “fruit days.” If you follow the biodynamic logic, that kind of makes sense. Wine comes from grapes, grapes are a fruit, boom. There are even a few apps that help people determine whether or not each day is optimal for drinking wine. However, we really can’t judge too harshly. If we had an app like that, it would say EVERY day was a good day to drink wine 😄
With limited studies, it’s hard to say whether or not biodynamics is successful at producing a more delicious wine. However, it is likely this practice promotes sustainable soil management. In fact, that’s one of the main pillars of modern Biodynamics.
The director of biodynamic farming at Rudolf Steiner College even says that beautiful soil is often spoiled because modern farming practices exploit it. He emphasizes that the most important part of biodynamic farming is stimulating life, and that’s why we choose to practice certain aspects of biodynamic farming too. Respecting the soil preserves our land, and gives us a sustainable method for creating wine in the future. So, while our vegan vineyards probably won’t be adding any deer bladders to the fertilizer anytime soon, we take every step possible to respect and nourish our land.
Is Biodynamic Winemaking Debunked?
Not necessarily. We don’t know for sure that it makes more delicious wine, but we don’t know that it doesn’t! While it may sound kind of crazy, to us the mystery is kind of exciting. Steiner himself understood that these ideas probably sounded insane to a “modern way of thinking.” With so many zany ideas of the past now being widely accepted, who’s to say this isn’t another instance?
Perhaps in a decade from now, it’ll be completely normal to see farmers harvesting under the light of the full moon. Regardless, we definitely support winemaking practices that promote sustainable soil management and don’t rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or additives.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve experienced more delicious wine on certain days of the lunar cycle! And don’t forget to stock up on all your favorite bottles.