ABOUT OUR BIODYNAMIC ORGANIC VINEYARD & WINERY
Certified since 2007
The decision to farm biodynamically and make biodynamic wine at our Hunter Valley Vineyard was an easy one…“It’s better for the environment, better for the people that live and work on the farm and it gives us a better quality wine that is ultimately better for our consumers to enjoy! We have been using these principles for 18 years now, over this time we have noticed our vineyard is able to better withstand our forever challenging climate conditions and we are seeing wines with greater expression of aromas and textures specific to our terrior” – Rod Windrim.
Biodynamics is a homeopathic medicine for agriculture, using natural means to obtain a better, more sustainable and healthier end product. Rudolf Steiner introduced the philosophy in 1924. Bio refers to the life in the soil and dynamic refers to the energy. Biodynamic is Organic, but differs in the use of BD preparations, which are applied within the natural rhythm of the cosmos.
Krinklewood Vineyard and Farm started conversion in 2002 and became Certified Biodynamic Organic in 2007. The whole property including the winery is certified with Australian Certified Organic and is audited annually to maintain biodynamic organic certification.
What Is Biodynamics?
Biodynamics is a homeopathic medicine for agriculture. We use natural means to obtain a better, more sustainable and healthier end product. At Krinklewood, we grow biodynamic fruit and make biodynamic organic wine using sustainable methods. The impact on the wine that you are drinking is that it’s the most pure reflection of the individuality of our Hunter Valley vineyard. We are pleased to see more Hunter Valley wineries and vineyards moving towards biodynamic and organic winemaking and would love to see more biodynamic wine produced in the Hunter Valley.
Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner during his series of lectures on agriculture in 1924 formalized the modern Biodynamic approach. European farmers had come to him for advice on their problems with soil fertility, the spread of animal disease and poor crop quality.
- Bio [meaning ‘life’] refers to the life in the soil. Having a large number and diversity of beneficial bacteria and fungi will protect the vines from insects and disease.
- Dynamic [meaning ‘energy’] refers to the energising forces. Life is achieved in the vineyard by harnessing all the forces of the sun, the moon and the constellations.
Biodynamics is a science of life-forces. Steiner believed every plant is influenced by the two major energy forces in the world – the earthly and the cosmic.
Biodynamics considers the farm in its entirety as a living system (even the soil is seen as an organism in its own right) and it is the most natural agricultural ‘farming’ philosophy. At Krinklewood we strictly adhere’s to this philosophy, every activity is carefully considered and timed, right through to the final stages of making our biodynamic wine.
Nothing but live things should nourish the soil, and nothing dead or scientifically fabricated should be added to it. Hence the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is prohibited. The soil at our Hunter Valley Vineyard is full of life and active biology, giving our vines the best nutrition possible.
As biodynamic farmers, we are in search of the higher quality not quantity of biodynamic wine. Whereas chemical agriculture has developed short-cuts to quantity by adding water soluble minerals to the soil. The plants take these up via water, thus bypassing their natural ability to seek from the soil what is needed for health, vitality and growth. The end result is a deadened soil and artificially stimulated growth.
How Does It Differ To Organics?
Biodynamic IS Organic. No chemicals, herbicides or pesticides are used.
We officially produce certified biodynamic wine (which is also certified organic) from our Hunter Valley vineyard, Krinklewood.
Biodynamic differs from Organic in that….
- Biodynamic farmers use special biodynamic preparations, such as Prep 500 and 501. The natural ingredients for these preparations are ideally sourced directly from the farm on which they are going to be used, creating a self-sustainable cycle. This is a core focus of ours at Krinklewood in the Hunter Valley.
- Biodynamic farmers apply and execute agricultural practices within the natural rhythm of the cosmos; at Krinklewood all our activities are timed in line with the lunar calendar.
The light of the sun, moon and stars reaches the plants in regular rhythms and by understanding the gesture and effect of each rhythm, we can time our ground preparation, pruning and harvesting to the advantage of the vines…and ultimately the biodynamic wine we produce. The BD preparations act like a catalyst if used in the correct rhythm, increasing the life in the soil, improving the health of the plant and positively impacting the biodynamic wine we produce.
BD Prep 500 – ‘Horn Manure Prep’ is for the health of the soil. It’s made of cow manure from lactating cows placed into horns and buried in the soil over winter. It brings in the calcium forces and helps the soil develop hummus and structure. It also attracts earthworms and soil micro-organisms such as good bacteria and fungi, creating deeper soil and root depth and, most importantly in Australia’s climate, it increases the water holding capacity of the soil. (Prep 500 is applied to the farm in droplet form in the late afternoon of a descending moon or when the moon is in oppostion to Saturn)
BD Prep 501- ‘Horn Silica Prep’ is more for the health of the plants themselves. It’s made from ground quartz crystals placed into horns and buried in the cow horns over summer. It aids photosynthesis, helps uptake of minerals and trace elements in the soil, and increases resistance to insect attack and fungal diseases by increasing the sugar content of the plant sap. Prep 501 can also be sprayed when fruit is ripening to increase sugar levels and maintain fruit quality. (Prep 501 is sprayed in a light atmospheric mist into the air in the early morning with an ascending moon and usually back to back with the Prep 500)
BD Prep 502-507 are compost preparations. These preps are used in making compost or in a liquid manure or tea such as fish emulsion, seeweed tea etc.
NB: As the moon is descending the earth breathes in and all forces pass to the root. As the moon is ascending the earth breathes out again and forces concentrate on the growth above the ground.
What About The Weeds & Pests?
The goal in biodynamics is ultimately to have the healthiest possible living soil and plants. They will then naturally deter pests through their own strength or through the unified force of the entire ecosystem.
We have a diversity of grass species which provide a natural habitat for bug life on the farm. When we mulch, we only ever do every second row so as to allow the bugs to live in their own little environment and not bother the vines. This also attracts natural predators which then creates a natural balance.
At certain times of the year, we use Biodynamic preparations to prevent bug attacks ie: Prep 501 is sprayed at bud Burst to strengthen against insect attack.
Weeds are useful indicators of imbalances in soil, plants and animals. BD farmers learn to understand their purposes and obtain relief through developing active, healthy soils.
Activities At Our Hunter Valley Vineyard
Being a biodynamic vineyard and farm means there is no ‘normal day’ in the vineyard. Our seasonal activities are aligned with the moon cycle, meaning some are stopped and started to ensure they are completed in line with the appropriate lunar forces. Krinklewood is dynamic in the true sense of the word. We are committed to being a biodynamic producer and know that this is the right approach for us.
We are using biodynamics to farm biology, to build numbers and diversity. We do this by making our own preparations and utilising cow manure from our own herd. We also make our own biodynamic compost, made up of leaves, manure, paper, water, straw and BD preps 502-507. This compost is mixed for hours in a special spa like tub and this tea is then sprayed onto the soil and leaves in the vineyard. We have geese, guinea fowl, cattle and sheep that all graze inbetween the vineyard rows during winter grazing on the weeds. In the summer months prior to vintage, we do a lot of canopy management to ensure there is good air flow amongst the vines and fruit. This is known as suckering and thinning and it’s done in time with the cosmic rhythms, just like the actual picking, harvesting and or pruning is.
All these activities play a small but important role in producing Krinklewood’s certified biodynamic organic wine.
Have We Noticed Any Differences In Our Wine?
Yes, we have seen noticeable increase in the varietal fruit intensity over the years as our biodynamic activities have bedded in. We are also seeing some common vineyard characteristics across our different white grape varieties (hints of passionfruit and also vibrant citrus flavours). Overall with each vintage we are seeing our organic wines reflect more truly the Krinklewood terroir which is exciting for us. Krinklewood is located in the southern end of the Broke Fordwich Valley and is well suited to all our varietals, but the grape that tends to show the climate affects most is our Chardonnay. Being a more cooler climate than the rest of the Hunter Valley, our Chardonnay exhibits those lovely cool climate characters such as grapefruit and stone fruits.
How To Get Started With Biodynamics!
We are passionate about spreading the word on the how-to and benefits of biodynamics and seeing more primary industry producers shift to biodynamics and biodynamic education is imperative in making this happen.
There are no biodynamic workshops planned for 2018, although in previous years we have hosted annual biodynamic workshops as a way of engaging others in the process. This event focuses on how to bring fertility and balance back into the soil, ultimately so you can grow healthier plants or healthier animals and produce healthier, tastier produce for a healthier lifestyle. In the past we have had Hamish Mackay and John Priestly take this workshop with our team, they share a wealth of knowledge and experience, for more information please go to http://biodynamics2024.com.au/
And for those of you interested in learning more, there are many local biodynamic groups around Australia, the ones we recommend are :
Biodynamic Agriculture Australia http://biodynamics.net.au/
Hunter Biodynamic Group http://www.purplepearfarm.com.au/
Sydney Biodynamic Group https://www.facebook.com/biodynamics.sydney/