Getting into Biodynamic Wine

I have recently been delving into the world of biodynamic wines. Biodynamic wines are starting to gain visibility and popularity around the globe. The movement is gaining momentum as more people are becoming aware that conventional agriculture is not environmentally sustainable and additives that we may not want in our beverages, such as glyphosate, are used.

What Does Biodynamic Mean?

The concept behind biodynamics is that everything in the universe is interconnected, giving off a resonance or ”vibe”. At its essence biodynamic is the practice of balancing this resonance between vine, man, earth and stars. Essentially, it is a holistic view of agriculture.

What Makes Wine Biodynamic?

Biodynamics occur in the vineyard before the actual winemaking even happens. Planting, pruning, and harvesting are regulated by a special biodynamic calendar that follows the Lunar calendar. Each biodynamic calendar day (see below) coincides with one of the four classical elements of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. 

  1. Fruit Days: Best days for harvesting grapes. Fruit days are when the moon is in any of the Fire signs, such as Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Fruit days are also the best days for wine tasting.
  2. Root Days: Ideal days for pruning. Root days are when the moon is in any of the Earth signs, such as Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo.
  3. Flower Days: Leave the vineyard alone on these days. Flower days are when the moon is in any of the Air signs, such as Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
  4. Leaf Days: Ideal days for watering plants. Leaf days are when the moon is in any of the Water signs, such as Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.

Biodynamic wines contain no chemicals, no pesticides, artificial herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers or ”manufactured” additions (like commercial yeast).

Biodynamic  wine growers make special compost preparations with natural ingredients to bolster their vineyards. These wines must also be certified, and strict rules and regulations are overseen by governing bodies.

What are Sulfites and why are these added to wine?

Sulfites are a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation. When yeast and sugar come together to create CO2 and alcohol, minimal amounts of sulfur dioxide are also produced in the process. .

Sulfites are also added to wine post-fermentation as a preservative to prevent browning and discoloration. Sulfites, also known as sulphites, have been used in wine making for centuries.

The level of sulfites in wine is measured in parts per million (ppm). Sulfites within the range of 6ppm - 6,000ppm can be found in everyday foods such as canned goods, jams, cheese, dried fruit, sauerkraut, bottled lemon/lime juices, deli meat, and even prescription foods. Surprisingly, wine is one of the few products in the marketplace that carries the phrase “contains sulfites” on its label.

The level of sulfites that occur from the natural fermentation process in wine ranges from approximately 5ppm - 40ppm.

In the United States, conventionally made wines are permitted to contain up to 350 ppm of sulfites whereas biodynamic wines are limited to 100 ppm.  

What is the difference between Biodynamic Wine and Organic Wine?

You may have seen biodynamic and organic wines grouped together. Biodynamic wines employ organic practices as they also avoid pesticides and depend on compost rather than chemical fertilizer.


Both certified biodynamic wines and organic wines are permitted to contain up to 100 ppm of sulfites. The major difference between biodynamic wines and organic wine lies in farming practices. Biodynamic wine producers look at their vineyard as an ecosystem, and account for things such as astrological influences and lunar cycles. Organic producers do not.

Biodynamic wines are now becoming easier to find and can be found all over the world. B.C. is home to one of my local favourites, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located in Kelowna, B.C.  Additional favourites are Cooper Mountain Vineyards, located in Beaverton, Oregon;  Nicolas Joly, in the Loire Valley, France and the Boisset Collection, with vineyards located in California, France, England and India. 

As the costs of producing biodynamic wine is higher, expect to pay a slight premium. I feel the value outweighs any added cost, as these wines are produced in a more sustainable way than traditional wines and are less toxic to ingest. Try to support organic or biodynamic vineyards when you can!

If you're interested in knowing more about my passion for health +nutrition, you can read about my journey into wellness HERE


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