Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM. The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”. The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.
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Today’s Podcast; Biodynamic grape farming; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-April-29-441372
Last week’s podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/
NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html
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Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip. Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com
Sleep City Missoula www.SleepCity.com
Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.
Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.
Green farming is a part of the “Green” movement we hear about every day. The word “Green” is the politically correct buzzword that is attached it seems to every advertising and marketing campaign initiative in the world today.
When green farming is utilized in the viticulture and winemaking process there are real consumer benefits. It is important as wine consumers to understand a little bit about all of this.
There are three levels of green farming; Certified Sustainable, Certified Organic, and Certified Biodynamic. My focus of this article is Biodynamic Farming but first let’s understand all three green farming methods.
Certified Sustainable – This farming method employs farming techniques that are environmentally sound. Biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are all techniques that are a part of this farming method. This viticulture program results in the cultivation of grapes with better varietal character of flavors and aromas. For the consumer this means more distinct wine products.
Certified Organic – This method of farming combines the Certified Sustainable practices with the organic grape growing techniques. Organic Farming permits no use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods of farming such as crop rotation, tillage and natural composting to maintain and promote healthy soil. Natural techniques to control weeds, insects and other pest management are implemented. Grape growers who utilize these farming methods can see the results in their vineyards and are inspired to continue their natural progression of green farming.
Certified Biodynamic – This method of farming developed as a result of instincts shared by philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Biodynamic farming is the culmination of sustainable and organic farming methods and the incorporation of these harmonious philosophy developed by Steiner that he referred to as “Anthrophosophy” which in this case views a vineyard as a single organism. Biodynamic farming incorporates biodiversity, independent nutrient system, homeopathic preparations, and a true spiritual connection with the land. This farming method utilizes sheep to control weeds, cattle for manure and compost, chickens for pest control, and the instinct and intuitive trust of the viticulturist working with the land and vineyards in a harmonious way.
Biodynamic farming has the capability to combine with terroir, or sense of place, to produce individual grapes of distinct varietal character with robust flavor and aroma. This is true value for the consumer, wines that are naturally healthy with enhanced flavors and aromas.
Biodynamic farming is an overall concept that is simple in theory, more difficult to implement. Let’s use an analogy of the human race and Biodynamic farming to better understand this concept. Every person is a unique individual who grows and develops and comes to a better understanding of who they are throughout the process. Through this process of evolution, growth, and understanding we become better at accepting who we are as a person. There is an understanding that allows an individual to work with their unique characteristics. A person in concept becomes whole and healthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Each wine region, area, vineyard, and vineyard block is unique unto itself in all respects. Biodynamic farming respects and understands this and approaches it as such.
There are some very interesting aspects of Biodynamic farming such as planting on the new moon and bottling wine on the waning moon and generally recognizing seasonal changes and effects. Horns from cattle are collected and stuffed with manure and buried. They are dug up in spring and the manure has been transformed into a rich hummus that is combined with water as a rich tincture treatment for the soil. This promotes healthy soil and root systems. Over summer months cow’s horns are packed with quartz and silica crystals and then buried. They are then dug up in the fall and combined with water making a tincture that is used on the grape leaves aiding in photosynthesis and naturally enhancing the flavor of the grapes.
Plants are also used in the Biodynamic farming process; Fermented Yarrow is used to help breakdown compost, fermented Chamomile aides the composting process and also nourishes the soil and stabilizes the nitrogen within the soil, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark, Dandelion, and Valerion aid composting and enrich the nutrients in soil, Horsetail Plant is made into tea and sprayed on vines to prevent fungal disease.
Conventional agricultural thinking views itself as a commodity while Biodynamic farming is focused on developing individuality. The concept of Biodynamic farming is a perfect fit for the grape farming sector of agriculture. The Biodynamic farming method has taken hold in the wine world as it is truly one area of agriculture that desires premium quality. Throughout history there are special places in the world that produce wine of distinct character just as there are unique individuals who can discern these characteristics while blind tasting wines. Few agricultural sectors in the world can match the ability of a unique vineyard for complete harmony of land, people, animals, plants, and environment. This is Biodynamic farming and as farmers embrace ecology, sustainability, and energy this concept of farming will become prevalent.
You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM. These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com
From my table to yours,