More and more wine growers are becoming interested in biodynamic agriculture. The good results obtained by the use of biodynamic practices, both in terms of increased soil fertility and in terms of wine quality, convince many winemakers to convert to biodynamics. In addition, the conversion of some famous wineries has encouraged more wine growers to try biodynamic methods. However, the complete conversion of a vineyard into a biodynamic farm organism, poses many questions and challenges for winemakers. How to transform a vineyard, which is usually a monoculture, into a farm organism? How can animals, or at least the animal quality, be introduce in a vineyard?
Nowadays, most vineyards are very susceptible to "diseases" and "pests". Is the creation of a biodynamic farm organism and the application of biodynamic practices enough to establish healthy and productive vineyards? Rudolf Steiner warned in 1923 that fundamental mistakes were made after the phylloxera epidemic and that the vine will continue to degenerate:
“... phyloxera appeared and is destroying the vineyards of Europe, over immense areas. (...) People began to wonder why the American vine appeared immune to this disease. But what did it all amount to? It amounted to this, that the remedies by which the disease could be got rid of with the American vine, could not be used with the same result on the European vine. The consequence was, that even when everyone began to cultivate the American vine, they could succeed in keeping it in health, whereas the European vines died out. The cultivation of the European vine had to be given up altogether; the whole cultivation of the vineyards was Americanised, and everything has been completely changed. This has happened in many places. To think in this mechanical manner is valueless; one must be quite clear that things through their whole nature may be bound up with definite localities, and this fact must be taken into account. Otherwise though some temporary success may follow, it cannot be permanent.” (GA 351, Lecture XII)
How can the cultivation of vine be thought through in a new way, so that the vine plant can be regenerated? What role will the vine and its products (wine, juice, vinegar, remedies, etc.) have in the future?
The Section for Agriculture sees it as its task to contribute to advance these questions, in cooperation with other partners of the biodynamic movement. The Biodynamic Viticulture project focuses in on the essential questions concerning Viticulture and organises and promotes exchanges on these questions. In this way research and practical experimentation in the vineyards will be promoted, to find new ways for the regeneration of the vine.
New ways for the regeneration of the vine