Winery • Santa Ynez Valley

Biodynamics

Creation of the finest wine is a journey. For every journey, there is a first step. Each year this begins with the nourishment of the soil, which precedes the growth of exceptional grapes. Inspired by the holistic stewardship and environmental reverence of the philosophy, we began farming our Estate property by Biodynamic principles in 2005.

Biodynamic farming is based on the philosophy that our entire property is a living organism. We use no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers (much like organic farming), and, in addition, we farm by the phases of the planets and the moon and treat our vineyards with various preparations to promote health and vitality in the soil, plants, and animals.

One key goal of the philosophy is to reduce our dependence on imported inputs of all types and increase the living dynamics of the entire farm: just as minimal handling in the cellar promotes a purity of expression in our wine, so too does this deeply traditional form of agriculture.

Biodynamics is based on the lectures of Austrian teacher/philosopher/author Rudolph Steiner (the founder of Waldorf Schools, among other things). These teachings and writings from as early as 1924 have helped shape an agricultural revolution. His philosophies were embraced and built upon in post-war Europe as a new generation saw first hand the destructive effects of pesticides used in their vineyards.

We are proud to be one of the first practitioners of Biodynamics in Santa Barbara County, and to continue in the footsteps of such legendary growers as DRC, Leroy, Leflaive, Joly, and Chapoutier who have achieved such great results.

Biodynamic agriculture originated out of the spiritual scientific research of the Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposphy and Waldorf education. In 1920s Europe, the use of chemicals in agriculture was causing great concern for a number of farmers and soil scientists; especially with regard to its effects on seed viability, deterioration of food quality, and health related problems in both livestock and crops. In 1924, Steiner presented a series of eight lectures on these issues, which are now published as Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture. During this lecture series, Steiner gave indications for producing several different preparations to be used in agriculture which are now referred to as Biodynamic Preparations (BD preparations).

A different viewpoint is required when approaching agriculture from the biodynamic perspective.
In our “conventional chemical” or “organic” approach to agriculture, we tend to think in terms of substances (or more specifically, chemical requirements that can be met by this or that substance). In chemical-based agriculture, we bring trogen to the soil via ammonia or urea, and in organic-based agriculture we bring nitrogen via manure. For phosphorous the substance of choice is super-phosphate or rock phosphate. We are thinking in terms of chemical substances or NPK, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil. With biodynamic agriculture and biodynamic preparations, we learn to think in terms of forces in addition to substances. This does not mean discarding all knowledge of soil chemistry; it means we need to go beyond solely the chemical point of view. Just as the effects of the force of gravity or the force of magnetism can be observed without actually being able to see these forces, so too can we recognize the forces that are released though biodynamic preparations.

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