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15/01/2009

Digging deeper into biodynamic viticulture practices.

Tomorrow in Daily Wine News, our Friday Forum looks at biodynamic winegrape growing. Is biodynamics pseudoscience or truth?

In recent years, Winetitles journalists have talked at length to Australian grape and wine producers who accept the musings of the ‘father’ of biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1952) as folklore.

Organic One Wines co-owner Frank Bonic believes his biodynamically grown grapes from the Billabong Creek region of outback New South Wales “have higher levels of phytonutrients, higher protein levels and increased antioxidants”.

Owner of Delatite Winery and Barwite Vineyards in Victoria’s Upper Goulburn region, David Ritchie, says biodynamics is the best cost-saving idea he has implemented in his vineyard. He says less chemical input has allowed his vines to grow more naturally, and he is “repaid with much more intense and interesting fruit flavours and better structured fruit”.

But biodynamics has its share of sceptics. Wine Industry Journal correspondent PP Bradshaw says biodynamics “does seem based more on metaphysics than on any valid scientific principles”.

Sharing this view is John Hilliard, of Hilliard Bruce Vineyards of Lompoc in California, USA. Amongst other comments about Steiner, Hilliard says: “Why would I think Steiner is infallible when he has been so wrong on so many topics?” and “It seems that Steiner’s foolishness has to wait to be exposed after the thrill and trendiness of biodynamics wears down.”

In tomorrow’s Friday Forum, John Hilliard tells us why he chooses not to farm biodynamically, and Winetitles invites you to have your say on biodynamics: fad? Or a practice worthy of viticulturists’ attention.

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