A COHERENT AND EFFICIENT PRODUCTION METHOD
As with organic farming, this type of agriculture bans synthetic products and GMO’s. All the preparations are of natural origin and are spread on the vine and/or the soil in homeopathic doses.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
In order to rehabilitate and intensify organic life in the environment where the vines live, we use dynamised preparations (the 500 based on horn manure and the 501 based on silica), as well as decoctions and infusions (horsetail, nettle, comfrey, etc.). The latter allows the assimilation of elements into the soil, but also to fight against cryptogamic (fungal) diseases.
In addition, the soil is either worked mechanically or grassed on every other row. We use, in some years, organic fertilisers such as mustard, horse beans, radish, clover, rye, etc. The aim is to capture nitrogen from the air to then redistribute it into the soil, de-compacting and oxygenating the soil at depth. Destroyed in the spring, these green fertilisers provide the organic matter the soil requires. We also use copper sulphate and slaked lime (Bordeaux mixture also called Bordo Mix) against cryptogamic (fungal) diseases. These elements can be mixed with the preparations but are made up separately. For example, as Bordeaux mixture gives ‘shocks’ to the vine, it can be combined with stimulating liquid manure.
Photo drone : Laurent Granier
Photo credit: From the “Vif” series produced by Productions Bien Joué.
It was in 1924 that the Austrian intellectual Rudolf Steiner first spoke of ‘biodynamics’. This approach uses the concept of the ‘agricultural organism’, which consists of looking at every farm as a living organism, as diverse and as autonomous as possible. Biodynamic farming mainly seeks to strengthen the vitality and resistance of the vines by improving the natural exchanges between the soil and the roots on one hand, and between the sky and the leaves (sunlight, lunar calendar, solar system), on the other. Instead of treating the vines against diseases, the winegrower strives to correct the imbalance that causes them by preserving the life of the soil and stimulating the plant's defence capacities. The ultimate goal is to optimise the expression of the terroir in the grapes and, therefore, in the wine.
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Some, like the wine grower Nicolas Joly (La Coulée de Serrant, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant), explain that biodynamics consists, more fundamentally, into taking account of and using the energy frequencies (electromagnetic, in this case), that travel through the solar system, the air and the earth to intensify the life of the soil and the plant. ‘What must be understood here, underlines Nicolas Joly, is that life is only a sum of frequencies or rhythms; it is a vibratory world’, and biodynamics will strive to harmonise this set of vibrations and intensify their circulation between the plant, the earth and the sky. To this end, biodynamics takes into account lunar cycles and planetary positions, which have an influence on plant life and growth, as well as on the quality of the must and the wine during vinification. According to Frédéric Duseigneur (Domaine Duseigneur, Lirac), biodynamics will consist of ‘recovering this asset that was swept away by agrochemicals’, an asset that goes back to the beginnings of agriculture, in the Neolithic period, and that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. ‘Up unto a hundred years ago, farmers felt things in their skin, in their bones.’ It will be a question of recovering the knowledge that has been lost in our time because of agrochemicals, and of finding, at least partially, the ancient knowledge, this understanding that was once global.