Biodynamics is a fundamental part of our holistic corporate culture: we see it as a method for the renewal of agriculture. Biodynamics understands that the earth is a living organism possessing a soul; in linking us back to the origins of life, as rooted in the whole of the cosmos, it finds its basis in the intuition and wisdom of our forefathers. As human beings of the twenty-first century we have forgotten to instinctively understand the relationships between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The anthroposophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Biodynamics, are helping us to broaden and deepen such an understanding. Because of that about fifty hectares of our vineyards are operated according to the guidelines of biodynamic agriculture.
“Biodynamic agriculture,” remarks Alois Lageder, “is the most comprehensive method of working the vineyards in ways that accordance with nature. It respects the principles that make nature a single, unified whole, and brings the grapevines to their natural state of equilibrium, as inter-related with both the earth and the cosmos.” Biodynamics is a method for the renewal of agriculture, and rests on the basic tenets of Anthroposophy, the concept of the world and of human life developed in the 1920s by the Austrian philosopher Rudof Steiner. Biodynamics views the earth as a living, besouled organism, and in linking us back to the origins of life, as rooted in the whole of the cosmos, it finds its basis in the intuitive knowledge and wisdom of many generations. As modern day human beings of the twenty-first century we have forgotten to instinctively understand the relationships between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The anthroposophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner are helping us to broaden and deepen our understanding of these relationships. Using these precepts as our basis we attempt to work in harmony with the cycles and rhythms of nature, the sun, the moon, and the other planets, and to be aware of the cosmic and terrestrial forces that influence the formation of humus in the soil, increase the vitality of the grapevines and improve their quality, thus creating the essential preconditions for the crafting of good grapes.
Biodynamic agriculture means, first and foremost, a complete rejection of synthetic and chemical and of artificial fertilizers. Instead it relies on methods, similar to homeopathy, that increase the resistance of the grapes to the point where at the first appearance of for example fungi or insect pests they are effectively able to defend themselves. The soil and the vines are treated with biodynamic preparations that increase the grapes’ resistance even further. The vintner thus works at many levels to help the grapevines help themselves. Additionally, shunning chemical agents is beneficial to the entire ecosystem, not just the grapevines.
Increased humus increases the health and fertility of the soil so that it is better able to hold its water and moisture; artificial irrigation ceases to be necessary and the soil is protected from erosion. Emphasis is also placed on maintaining the natural varieties of the types of plants that live in the vineyards, and thus an increase biodevrisity and hence a balanced ecosystem. Our work adheres to the strict guidelines of the Demeter association.
This method of viticulture requires more manual labor and a greater expenditure of time in the vineyard, but the results speak for themselves. Grapes that grow in conditions of the best possible harmony with their vineyards produce authentic wines. They are individual expressions of the specific sites in which they grow, and thus of the concept of terroir. The roots of such vines go deep, and the fertile subsoil can lend the grapes its typical characteristics. The grapes ripen more uniformly, and when fully mature result in must of lower sugar concentration. The wines made from such grapes are harmonious in taste, well-balanced, and elegant, and possess the character and appeal of products of fully organic cultivation.
We regard Biodynamics as a part of our holistic corporate culture. Alois Lageder remarks, “From my point of view, biodynamic agriculture is today an evident conclusion for vintners who aspire to the production of top quality wines.”
We launched a project several years ago with the concrete goal to raise the awareness of our partner companies for sustainable agriculture. Of the approx. 110 hectares of land from which we obtain grapes, a quarter - at the beginning of 2015 - is already under biodynamic cultivation. We regard that as a major success – one which we couldn't have imagined only a few years ago. The fact that we already converted our operations to biodynamic cultivation methods years ago is sure to have played a part in their decision. We were thus able to demonstrate that these sustainable agricultural practices can be successfully and economically implemented.