Does Biodynamics need to explain itself?

Read this blog post:

According to Woolf, there is no such need. Biodynamics, like homoeopathy and the placebo effect – or indeed like religion – should be free from having to explain itself.

I have to say I heartily disagree with Woolf here. We actually don’t know if biodynamics “works” except on the personal experience level, which as any reasonable person will admit is fallible at best. There can be little doubt, if you ask me, that biodynamics does not “work” for the reasons given by biodynamicists. Just read Nicolas Joly’s completely garbled, utterly nonsensical book on the subject if you need convincing.

If indeed biodynamics does “work”, there must be other reasons why it works than those given by biodynamicists. Examples could include increased care for the vineyard, the focus on returning nutrients to the soil, and – for me an important point given what we know about how vine roots cannot extract nutrients from the soil without the help of bacteria (and funghi) – the focus on healthy bacterial populations in the soil.

However, if we do not study what it actually is that “works”, it is all of little use in terms of improving viticulture everywhere and will remain a niche occupation for nutters and kooks (and in consumption terms merely a big-city preoccupation on the part of hipsters). Now, if biodynamics is such a boon, would we not want for it to become much more widespread, and for us to actually understand what goes on (if anything)?

I am here ignoring the global discussion on the sustainability of organic and biodynamic practices in terms of reduced yields etc., and whether we can then feed our growing population. An important discussion, but not in terms of wine quality.

Yours truly

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2 Responses to Does Biodynamics need to explain itself?

  1. beyond.pbr says:

    All the restrictions and rules needed to be certified biodynamic aside, there is something to be said for creating a farm that is NOT a monoculture, as well as the attention to detail and care given to such a vineyard. It’s not necessary to be full on bio (too many crazy rules) but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for smaller producers.

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