Today we are tackling a somewhat complex concept: biodynamics.
“ Agricultural method, mainly applied to the vine, using neither pesticides nor chemical fertilizers and taking into account the rhythm of the seasons and nature. “according to the Larousse.
To learn more about biodynamics, we spoke with Nicolas Joly, a pioneer in biodynamics; Frédéric Geschikt (president of the DEMETER France biodynamic label); Gérard Laurent, a DEMETER certified winemaker. The three of them spoke to us about nature with great respect !
According to Nicolas Joly: "Life does not belong to the Earth but Life is a gift to the Earth" This vision offers another perspective on how to deal with the earth.
What is the difference with organic farming?
The nuance is subtle but important: organic farming lets nature express itself whereas biodynamics, as Frédéric Geschikt explains, "uses small quantities of material to have positive impulses on the soil or the vine, and thus have healthier plants.
For him, the conversion to biodynamic agriculture came in stages. It all came from a simple observation: "putting something (a weedkiller) on the ground that kills plants when I wanted to grow plants, it didn't seem coherent to me"
Biodynamics goes through a real (re)learning of working the land . It is by observing, by interpreting the appearance of the leaves or the soil, that the winegrower adjusts his gestures. Gérard Laurent spends 3 hours a day in his vines to observe them and understand their needs. He also relearned how to use natural compost and how to make it.
Biodiversity is at the heart of the process with the planting of “green manures” (clover, radish, legumes, etc.). The latter, in addition to enriching the soil with nitrogen, bring insects and earthworms to the soil.
The results of biodynamics can be seen both by the winegrowers who realize that the vines are in better health, but also in a scientific way. The idea is to relearn how to work the soil. Winemakers use the lunar calendar to know when to perform certain actions. They also adapt to the weather. Diseases exist, and I wanted to know how a biodynamic winemaker can treat them. “ A disease should not be fought but understood ”
In biodynamics, a disease is treated by the effective application of treatments . The winemaker will pay more attention to the spray quality of the treatment rather than the quantity. Treatment with “alternative medicine” (as with us humans) is also a possibility. Thus, last year to treat mildew (a widespread disease for vines, which attacks the leaves), Gérard used sweet orange essential oil.