Sycamore Vineyards and Biodynamics

Welcome to our video podcast Sycamore Vineyards and Biodynamics – Video Show #41.

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The name biodynamics might be a term you recognize – or maybe not. Strictly speaking, biodynamics is an agricultural process that places first emphasis on the soil as a living organism. Possibly one of the least understood and/or controversial wine practices in present day enology, the term is derived from Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual beliefs and philosophical teachings. These beliefs stress the merits of using organic methods to maintain the health of land that is producing crops, and the practice is steadily gaining a foothold in current-day winegrowing practices throughout the world.

Join us as we hear from biodynamic consultant Philippe Armenier, and John Bryan, owner of Napa Valley’s Sycamore Vineyards, about what the process has done for this winegrower for Freemark Abbey winery.

For more info on Freemark Abbey and Sycamore: www.freemarkabbey.com

Click Here: Freemark Abbey Winery

22 Responses to “Sycamore Vineyards and Biodynamics”


  1. 1 Doug Smith Sep 17th, 2008 at 6:19 am

    There is plenty of evidence that organic farming techniques, using compost and manure for fertilizer, can add to the health of the soil and the quality of the plant material. However, it bears repeating that there is absolutely no good evidence that the additional esoteric practices involved in Biodynamic farming make any relevant difference. These include paying attention to the phases of the moon, to astrological forces and “cosmic energies”; burying stag’s bladders filled with yarrow, or animal skulls filled with oak bark, or preparations made from similar odds and ends. It also bears repeating that Steiner himself had no background in agriculture. These wineries have been taken in by well-spoken mystics.

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 18th, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Doug, I don’t know if it is smoke and mirrors or there is something real to it but I can say that I was at the vineyard and it was one of the most health looking vineyards I have ever seen – the leaves were so dark and thick they looked like leather.

    Brian
    Your GrapeRadio Crew

  3. 3 Doug Smith Sep 23rd, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hi Brian,

    It’s not smoke and mirrors, but your experiences do not establish what the causes were of vine health in this case. Controlled and peer-reviewed investigations have found advantages to using high-quality organic fertilizers, and to avoiding certain very powerful poisons. But none of this has anything to do with the mystical stuff. When the mystical stuff is tested, there is no effect to it. The problem is that the esoterica is sold along with the more comprehensible organic program, and it would appear that most people are confused about what is actually doing the work, and what is little more than a version of New Age marketing.

  4. 4 Katie Sep 25th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Doug, one thing you mention that I have to disagree with is your disregard for the phases of the moon. How can we dismiss the fact that the moon would influence any living thing composed at least partly of water, when we know darned well how it influences our oceans and our force of gravity?

    http://gonzogastro.wordpress.com

  5. 5 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 25th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    To me the moon phases are one of the strongest points I agree on the biodynamic. The moon has a major impact on the tides and I assume the water tables as well. But what do I know. I think we will have a few experts (real scientist) on the show in the future to discuss this.

    Brian

  6. 6 Katie Sep 26th, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Look forward to it, Brian! Ever consider trying to nab Randall Grahm for an interview!? I’m sure he’d be a wonderful addition to the panel.

  7. 7 Doug Smith Sep 28th, 2008 at 11:19 am

    The moon’s effect on the tides is due to the tidal force, which decreases as the cube of distance. The tidal force of the winemaker walking among the vines is stronger than the tidal force of the moon. The moon is bigger, but the winemaker is much closer.

    There is no good evidence that moon phase has anything to do with plant development. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that the moon is involved in romantic stories that humans tell themselves.

  8. 8 Charlie Oct 8th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Doug has it exactly right.

  9. 9 Hank Oct 21st, 2008 at 10:23 am

    And Doug is who?

  10. 10 Medyum Jun 6th, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Doug has it exactly right. Thanks muck .)

  11. 11 Metin2 Jun 16th, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Doug has it exactly right. Thanks

  12. 12 Video izle Jun 16th, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Doug has it exactly right.

  13. 13 Dizi izle Jun 16th, 2009 at 3:36 am

    There is no good evidence that moon phase has anything to do with plant development.

  14. 14 medyum Jul 5th, 2009 at 1:30 am

    It’s not smoke and mirrors, but your experiences do not establish what the causes were of vine health in this case. Controlled and peer-reviewed investigations have found advantages to using high-quality organic fertilizers, and to avoiding certain very powerful poisons. But none of this has anything to do with the mystical stuff. When the mystical stuff is tested, there is no effect to it. The problem is that the esoterica is sold along with the more comprehensible organic program, and it would appear that most people are confused about what is actually doing the work, and what is little more than a version of New Age marketing.

  15. 15 gazeteler Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:07 am

    a very good article da a very useful information ..thank you has to share this information.

  16. 16 Sikiş Jul 22nd, 2009 at 7:15 am

    There is no good evidence that moon phase has anything to do with plant development.

  17. 17 ssk sorgulama Jul 23rd, 2009 at 6:41 am

    The moon’s effect on the tides is due to the tidal force, which decreases as the cube of distance. The tidal force of the winemaker walking among the vines is stronger than the tidal force of the moon. The moon is bigger, but the winemaker is much closer.

    There is no good evidence that moon phase has anything to do with plant development. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that the moon is involved in romantic stories that humans tell themselves.

  18. 18 zerrin egeliler Jul 23rd, 2009 at 8:55 am

    a very good article da a very useful information ..thank you has to share this information.

  19. 19 Metin2 Yang Oct 4th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks.

  20. 20 araç sorgulamaa Dec 29th, 2009 at 4:17 am

    It’s not smoke and mirrors, but your experiences do not establish what the causes were of vine health in this case. Controlled and peer-reviewed investigations have found advantages to using high-quality organic fertilizers, and to avoiding certain very powerful poisons. But none of this has anything to do with the mystical stuff. When the mystical stuff is tested, there is no effect to it. The problem is that the esoterica is sold along with the more comprehensible organic program, and it would appear that most people are confused about what is actually doing the work, and what is little more than a version of New Age marketing.

  21. 21 sohbet Mar 30th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    thank you for admin post very much

  22. 22 Soğutma Büyüsü Aug 25th, 2010 at 5:23 am

    I pride to be citizen of the world, so I am also hoping that the Hindu’s class system of “Royal(lords) and peasant (commoner)will change”, so the education level will improve together with the knowledge, virtues and economy.
    China had forgotten the past history with Japan. The former Premiere Mr. Deng Xiao Ping , when asked by the Japanese premiere about twenty five years ago.” about the return of the northern island back to China.” Mr. Dan replied:” Slow down, we wouldn’t know how the politics of the world is going to be fifty years from now.” Most recently, Mr. Hu said:” We hope Japan will involve in greater part of the affair of the world. We are happy to see the peaceful path Japan takes since the thank you for sharing:)

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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

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