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Biodynamic Wine Growing

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  1. Biodynamic Wine Growing

  2. R E G A N K I L M O R E D E M E S N E

  3. B Y L A N D S

  4. When Orion and the Dog Star move into the mid-sky, and Arcturus sees the rosy-figured dawn Hesiod 8th C BC

  5. Historical references • In ancient Greece and Rome wine was a cultural symbol of death and regrowth. • Louis Pasteur’s understandings of alcoholic fermentation changed the nature of wine growing and winemaking • Scientific and rational agriculture replaced spiritual approaches with N K P

  6. Rudolph Steiner 1861 – • The Agriculture Course, June 1924 • Koberwitz, former Eastern Germany • a series of 8 lectures to farmers • became the foundation for the Biodynamic method of Agriculture

  7. “The best sound a vine can hear is the noise of the wine-grower’s feet” Nicholas Mills Rippon Vineyard Central Otago NZ

  8. The Soil • The Vine • The Cosmos

  9. The Soil

  10. Conventional Organic Biodynamic

  11. A system of manuring will maintain and sustain the humus content, microbiological life, and earthworm activity of the soil. Peter Proctor Grasp the Nettle N leaf growth P root development, respiration, photosynthesis K sap flow and photosynthesis

  12. Biodynamic Compost Preparations 502 – 507 • Combine with “forces” or “processes” and “substances” to vitalise ordinary compost into biodynamic compost. • 4 elements of nature: earth, water, air and warmth

  13. Biodynamic Compost Preparations 502 – 507 • Yarrow • Chamomile • Stinging nettle • Oak bark • Dandelion • Valerian

  14. Biodynamic Compost Preparations 502 – 507 • Yarrow The lungs • Chamomile The stomach • Stinging nettle The liver • Oak bark The brain • Dandelion The self • Valerian The blood

  15. 502 Yarrow (lungs) • Breathes in cosmic influences. • Connection to sulphur and potassium. • Contains potassium and selenium. • Potash forming

  16. 503 Chamomile (stomach) • Digestion • Contains sulphur • Works on calcium and potash • Prevents malformations

  17. 504 Stinging Nettle (liver) • Cleanses • Decomposed organic matter into mineral • Makes compost and soil sensitive • “Intelligence” and awareness

  18. 505 Oak Bark (brain) • Reigns in excess • Protects, heals • Tannic acid give insecticidal properties • Calcium (living form) for health and growth • Prevents fungal attack • Prevents excess vine vitality • Raises pH without lime

  19. 506 Dandelion (self) • Inner body, or the self • Holds the other energies together • Perfect potassium:silica relationship • Silica draws in outer planets cosmic forces

  20. 507 Valerian (blood) • Warmth • Concentrates phosphorous in the soil • Attracts light for photosynthesis

  21. Preparations 502 - 507 • Don’t worry about the detail • Concentrate on the principle • Aim for balance • Quality is more important than quantity

  22. “The vine must be made to struggle, but not to the point of serious stress. So balance is important.” Mme Lalou Bize Leroy Domain Leroy, Burgundy

  23. Maria Thun Barrel Compost Spray • Called “cow pat pit” in Australia and NZ • Improves soil quality • Repairs chemical soil damage • Activates decomposition and microbial processes • Aerates soil and improves soil structure • Balances and stabilises soil nutrients • Stimulates formulation of humus

  24. Spreading biodynamic compost • On soil in autumn when the earth “breathes out” • Worms take compost into the topsoil • Roots busy in autumn • Lightly turn topsoil after spreading

  25. How cow pat pit is used • Sprayed in soil in Autumn when the earth inhales • Used as a primer before solid compost and Horn Manure 500 • Spray two times a year to every 2 years • Aim to get soil in balance by Spring

  26. Cow pat pit raw materials • Cow manure • Biodynamic preparations 502 – 507 • Basalt (ground) • Grains (ground) • Eggshells (or dolomite or bentonite)

  27. Cow pat pit preparation • Insert solid biodynamic compost preparations separately into mixture • Stinging nettle (504) in the centre to represent the sun • Liquid valerian (507) sprinkled on top to warm it up. • After 27 days dig and aerate with spade • Two weeks later use on soil • Looks very rich, dark, fine earth with a clean, earth smell

  28. Cover crops • Stimulate humus formulation • Used to bring elements like N and CO² from the atmosphere the soil CC’s also: • Biodiversity in monocultural vineyards • Provide shelter for beneficial fauna • Protect soil from erosion • Improve soil structure (chicory and lucerne) • Competition for weeds (clover) • Force lateral or shallow vine roots deeper

  29. Cover crops • Why do biodynamic farmers sow cover crops instead of leaving natural soil cover? • Cover crops provide greater nutrients than weeds • If you want to grow wine you must compensate • Vines are perennial plants • Weeds are left in place, mowed, mulched or ploughed

  30. The Vine

  31. The Vine Preparations Steiner devised three further preparations used as sprays: • Horn Manure (500) • Horn Silica (501) • Horsetail (508)

  32. First Use of 500 and 501 • Use horn manure (500) before starting with horn silica (501) when converting to biodynamics • Encourage strong root system (500) before developing upper part of plant (501)

  33. Horn manure (500) • Grass is energised in the cow’s stomach • Cows give powerful force and energy digesting the grass • Grass is released as manure • Manure is buried in cow horn for 6 months over winter • 501 Stimulates the soil but is not a “fertiliser” • Contributes to veins taste of place, terroir and soil

  34. Raw Material 500 • Cow dung from pasture – grazed, pregnant or lactating cows, cow horns of native breed; should have previously calved • Collect fresh cow pats in Autumn • Make preparations immediately • Bury filled horns at autumn equinox in a shallow pit in well drained earth, horn facing down

  35. 500 When Ready • Dig up in Spring equinox • Should be slightly loose, dark brown, smell of humus rather than manure • Can be mixed with Cow Pat dung, chamomile, willow or nettle tea, horn clay • Spray on soil in large droplets • Penetrates soil more easily after light rain • Can keep for 36 months well stored in a dark place surrounded by peat

  36. Horn Manure 500 Benefits • Builds soil structure and humus • Attracts and stimulates beneficial soil life • Mycorrizal fungi interface between vine and soil • Brings energy and life to roots • Stimulates deeper stronger root growth • Stimulates release of soil trace elements • Helps regulate leaves by lime and N in soil • Increases water holding capacity • Stimulates generation of seeds

  37. “Ideally, biodynamic agriculture should bring about a balance between the calcium and silica forces, between inward growth and outer form, between dark and light, between the tangible and the intangible, between the inward pull of gravity and the outer pull of the cosmos” Rudolph Steiner

  38. 500 Polar Opposite to 501 Horn Manure 500 • Acts on calcium or lime processes (terrestrial), in dark earth, roots • Calcium works from inside out Horn Silica 501 • Horn silica acts on silica processes • Silica works from outside in • Growth above and drawn to light

  39. When to Apply 500 500 • Filed horn with 500 soil through winter solstice (days are longest) to spring equinox when the earth exhales and atmosphere above brightens • During a root period when earth is breathing in during the descending moon in the afternoon

  40. How Often to Apply 500 • 2 to 4 times a year • Once or twice late Autumn after harvest when earth breathes in • Again once or twice in early spring as first shoots appear before earth breathes out • 60 to 120 grams (1 horn) into 30 – 120 L water for 1 ha vines

  41. Horn silica 501 • Silica makes up nearly 50% of earth’s crust • Clear relationship between light and heat of the sun • Sowers millions of tiny mirrors over the vines, intensifying the sun’s effect • Brightens both the vines and the soil

  42. Raw Material 501 • Quartz in crystalline form ground into a fine powder • Can be collected any time • Ground down to fine powder during winter • Mix powder with water into dough-like paste and fill horns • Bury in shallow pit in good earth, open site • with Spring equinox or Summer solstice Moon in front of an air/flow sign • Underground all Summer when earth forces directed outwards to cosmos

  43. 501 When Ready • Dig up at Autumn equinox or Winter solstice • Spray over tops of vines and on leaves as fine spray • Keep in glass jar, in light, sunny position • Growers in hotter climates such as Australia (and specific regions within Australia) are wary of over-using horn silica and burning the vines

  44. Horn Silica 501 Benefits • Influence seem in upper (cosmic) part of plant • Allows leaves and shoots to enhance use of light and heat • Improves photosynthesis • Augments plants’ assimilation of atmospheric CO²

  45. Horn Silica 501 Benefits • Encourages ‘light’ or Summer processes to strengthen plant against fungal or insect attack • Augments ripening, raises sugar (baumé) levels in both sap and crop • Allows crops to keep longer once picked

  46. When to Apply 501 • In spring stimulates vines upward growth towards the sun in 2 ways: encourages cell division and fruitfulness (consistent crop and reserves buds for following year) • Avoid during flowering (inhibits fruit set) • Moon-Saturn opposition in months before ripening • Ascending moon under Leo favours seed ripening and stable yields • End of ripening pushes vine into Autumn mode • After harvest leaves falling, to ripen shoots ad prevent disease in leaf stem opening

  47. When to Apply 501 • Spray early morning as vines warm up • 2 to 6 grams in 30 to 300 L water • Dynamise for 1 hour • Spray within 3 hours of dynamising • Can add 508 Horsetail (Equisitum)

  48. Horsetail 508 (Equisetum) • She-Oak or Asuarina Stricta is used in Australia • 70% silica relates to light • Strong sulphur component is antifungal • Counteracts excess moon influence in soil that encourages fungal diseases • Treats vines directly not via compost • 100 g p/ha • Stir 20 minutes • Fresh 508 preparation fine spray on vines • Fermented 508 droplets sprayed on soil

  49. Horsetail 508 (Equisetum) • Concentrated concoction diluted as needed • Use as often as needed between Spring and Autumn • Use in Summer during flowering mid morning when flowers open and receptive to solar forces • Spray before strong lunar influence or wet weather • Reduction in need for sulphur dust for Powdery Mildew or oidium • Reduction in need for Bordeaux Mixture (copper sulphate, lime, water) for Downey Mildew

  50. Celestial bodies • Inner celestial bodies closest to the sun (e.g. our Moon, Mercury and Venus) favour the calcium force • Outer planets (e.g. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) bring silica influences • Biodynamic calendars show the position of the planets • Moon-Saturn opposition reinforces the action of horn silica 501