Biodynamic farming is the first system of farming that can be considered “organic” and is the root of the organic farming methods widely known and practiced today. Often confused with both organic and sustainable farming practices, biodynamic farming meets all of the criteria of both, while also implementing a set of eight naturally derived, non-chemical, soil and plant treatments known as biodynamic preparations (preps). These herb and manure based preps are applied to the farm in various seasons to help heal the earth and increase biodiversity, especially in the soil.
Based on the pioneering 1920’s work of Austrian philosopher and spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic farming offers a proactive (versus reactive) and holistic approach to farming. By treating our vineyards as complete and self-replenishing systems, biodynamic farming naturally builds soil life and vitality, while defending against pests and disease.
Listen to winemaker Steve Beckmen as he describes what it means to be a biodynamic farmer.
The preps are the defining feature of biodynamic farming, but another integral part is following the Biodynamic Calendar for Plantings and Sowings. This calendar allows us to understand how the cosmos affect our practices here on earth, how the greater pushes and pulls of the universe influence the flora around us. It’s more specific than just a full or new moon’s position. It doesn’t resemble the traditional farmers’ almanacs or astrology calendars we’re accustomed to seeing in magazines. We invite you to dive deeper into how it was created, here.
The Biodynamic Calendar allows farmers to proactively focus their work on the part of the plant that is most responsive on a day to day basis. We all know how powerful the moon’s affect is on ocean tides, so just imagine how powerful it is on the small parts of a grapevine. The Biodynamic Calendar breaks down each day as a fruit, flower, leaf, or root day, the four main components of a plant:
- Flower Day: a good day to harvest and work on white wine grapes
- Leaf Day: the plant is focused on producing chlorophyll, so best to avoid harvesting and spraying
- Fruit Day: best day for harvesting grapes, spraying preps, and composting
- Root Day: best day for pruning, good for tilling and composting, okay for harvesting red grapes; avoid drinking wine
Each day, the corresponding symbol is displayed on the top of our website. Look for it near the shopping cart symbol.
Demeter is the largest association in the world that provides biodynamic certification, a far cry from the nearly 80 agents just in the USA which may certify a crop as organic. There is one set of criteria all biodynamic farms adhere to, not because they have to, but because its the best way to heal the earth and increase biodiversity. The principles of biodynamic farming were established in 1928, but most people agree that these were not “new” principles since people have been using these methods to farm for centuries.
Discover why winemaker Steve Beckmen chose biodynamic farming at Purisima Mountain Vineyard, a process which began in 2002 and continues through today.