Overheard: if you are biodynamic, you’re not making wine in 2007


“We’ll see who are the real biodynamic producers this year. If they’re really biodynamic, this year they won’t have any wine.”

Such was the provocative statement a French wine insider told me last week. He was referring to the gray and damp vintage of 2007 in France. Time will tell.

The reason that it’s tough for biodynamic producers is that various vine maladies can creep in with rain. Treating them with chemicals is fairly easy, treating them without chemicals, as is the wont of BioD producers, is very labor intensive–or impossible, as this guy was implying.

“Bordeaux vineyards lose 90% of crop as rain and rot threaten French harvests” [Decanter.com]
“Bordeaux 2007 in progress: weather” [Dr. V]

(image, with permission)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

5 Responses to “Overheard: if you are biodynamic, you’re not making wine in 2007”

  1. A proponent of bio (like myself) could argue that because the soil and micro-fauna in bio-dynamic vineyards is healthier and because without pesticides vines develop natural immunities to many “maladies” this need not be the case. I am personally convinced that at least quality wise bio-dynamically farmed wines fair better than similar non-bio wines in poorer years and that across the board bio producers achieve more consistent wines quality wise. But hey, thats just me.

  2. Hmmm. This is of course the argument for non biological agriculture. Let us not forget, that “bio” was practically how things had been grown for millenia until the turn of the 20th century. Agriculture has always been the source of abundant food (thus the raise of the great ancient cultures) and it was not as precarious as we would like to believe. Populations did not die of starvation every decade on a bad weather year. But we have lost the continuity of knowledge and do not even begin to see how it could be achieved without the chemical soups we so happily spread around. Ever since the FDA appropriated the organic certification standards, it has become even worse. People’s idea of ecologically produced is free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. A large monoculture vineyard region is in peril during bad weather years and may need chemicals to keep it going. Such an environment is just not diverse enough to sustain itself. But at least in theory, monoculture is not “bio”. Smaller, ecologically integrated vineyards will definitely fare better in bad years than the rest, organic or not.

  3. That’s total bullshit. Of course we biodynamic growers will be bringing grapes in this year, rain or no rain. I think there’s just a lot of backlash against biodynamics because of all the press growers have been getting, because people are excited about it, and because it isn’t well understood. I also think that maybe a lot of french wine insiders are nervous about the growth of biodynamics because it underlines the fact that much of the french vineyard landscape has been horribly treated from an ecological standpoint.

    Besides that, any chemical treatment of the vineyards to prevent molds close to harvest is a bad idea anyways. Fungicides applied within a month of the vineyard will find their way into the must. Because of that, the must may not ferment well, go off, get stinky, and otherwise be a fairly lousy wine.

    But, with careful canopy management and crop selection, botyritis and mildew can be prevented and avoided. These things aren’t solely in the realm of biodynamic or organic growers, they’re merely sound viticultural techniques practiced by agriculturalists as early as Columella.

    That’s a beautiful picture of a vineyard above. Maybe it’s biodynamic, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be mowed and weeded. Sound biodynamic practices don’t mean that all other knowledge is thrown out the window. It’s merely a more nuanced and spiritual approach to winegrowing.

  4. […] vintage 2007 turn out in France where it rained much of the summer? A few weeks ago, I posted a comment that someone in the trade in France told me: “We’ll see who are the real biodynamic […]

  5. […] Thanks for visiting!Tom Lubbe, a biodynamic vigneron in Roussillon, writes in responding to the statement, “We’ll see who are the real biodynamic producers this year. If they’re really […]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.” -Forbes.com

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: