jamie goode's wine blog: Fun article of biodynamics

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fun article of biodynamics

Regular readers will know that I'm quite a fan of many biodynamic wines, as well as being interested in biodynamics as a way of running vineyards. But, as a scientist I'm sceptical about some of its claims, although I do recognize that there are aspects of it that could have efficacy in the vineyard and be explainable by mechanisms other than those claimed by biodynamic practitioners.

Here's an article from the USA that puts the boot into biodynamics (I was alterted to this through a post on the erobertparker forum here. It's rare to see biodynamics criticized in the wine press, even though there's plenty people could go after. In particular, many BD practitioners believe in 'sensitive crystallization'. Here's a v. funny quote from the article on this topic:
Bonny Doon's Randall Graham doesn't need a consultant he hired Biodynamics expert Corderey as his full-time viticulturist. Corderey, a brusque, strapping Frenchman who rolls his own cigarettes, has turned Graham on to the power of sensitive crystallizations. Originally developed by Steiner disciple Ehrenfried Pfeiffer in the 1930s, crystallization is a process in which a dab of material in this case, wine is mixed into a copper chloride solution in a Petri dish. It is left in a small oven to evaporate overnight, leaving a residue of intricately formed crystal patterns. Corderey claims the crystals are the tangible mark of the "life forces" within the wines. Boltlike veins of crystals indicate that the vines are young and unfocused, like a child with a short attention span. Denser and more organized patterns indicate maturity and age. He glances up from his computer. "You know," he says with a smile, "I also crystallize people."
Corderey had a co-worker spend the day with a vial of wine in her pocket. He then crystallized the wine from the vial and compared it to a control sample. He would not reveal what he divined from the crystals, but said that he stunned the co-worker by pinpointing "exactly where she was in life." When SF Weekly suggested that someone could merely take a sip of wine, spit it out, and have Corderey crystallize that, he nodded that could work, too. "You see this?" he said, gesturing toward a choppy swirl magnified many times on his computer screen. Beneath the crystallization, a label read "2007 Albarino exposed to AC/DC Highway to Hell." Corderey had played the 1979 rock anthem to a glass of wine. He then played Native American music to another glass resulting in a much smoother, more organized crystallization. "You can see the connection these people work with nature and not against it."



At 4:20 PM, Blogger Nick Sweet said...

Here's a really interesting site about crystals.

It's only too easy to take the mickey out of biodynamics, but more and more good estates are changing over.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Nick, thanks for that. I admit, I was a little uncomfortable by the way the piece was poking fun at biodynamics. But the bit about highway to hell was very, very funny.

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

I would like to think that Corderey saw Joe Eskenazi coming!


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