Biodynamics is a method of farming based in a holistic way of understanding the relationships within Nature. The sphere of life on Earth in its mineral, plant and animal diversity, in seen as a whole and connected to the larger context of the rythms and forces present in the Cosmos.
As a general principle it is emphasised that each farm should be understood as a self-sustained system, to be created out of its own bio-diversity, in a harmony between soil, plants, animals and human activity.
It is a method of farming that has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures andcomposts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants.
Most of our practices are in fact the same as in organic, such as the use of cover crops with plants that are vine friendly. Some of these plants are sown for specific purposes, such as water retention, structuring or aerating the soils, and Nitrogen fixation. At the same time they help to keep the soil alive, and allow for colonies of micro organisms to develop around their roots, which will in turn perform mineral exchanges with the vine roots.
Differences lie in special practices that are specific to Biodynamics, such as the use of homeopathy (biodynamic preparations), and the Astronomic calendar - a guide to performing agricultural operations according to planetary rhythms.
The biodynamic preparations are divided into 3 main groups: the compost preparations, consisting of 6 specially composted plants that are homeopathically inoculated into the compost heap; the 500 (composted cow manure), which is applied over all the property to activate the life of the soil; and the 501 (quartz powder), which is applied to the vines in order to activate vegetative processes with influence in growth, maturation, natural defences and ultimately the taste.
In our properties, besides applying the biodynamic preparations, we have been experimenting and developing other treatments based on natural plant extracts, to be applied as bio-stimulants or help us control plant diseases. It is the case of plant decoctions and macerations, hydro-alcoholic extracts (made with our own brandy), and essential oils.
In the cellar, we follow the same philosophy as in the vines, excluding chemical treatments, relying on natural processes, and making a minimal use of soft mechanic operations. Maceration and fermentation for the reds is always made with foot treading in our ancient granite tanks (lagares). We only use indigenous yeasts, and follow as far as possible the best moments for cellar operations (harvesting, bottling, filtering) according to the astronomic calendar. We make a soft filtration just before bottling, and add minimum sulphite quantities (average 50mg/litre for reds, 70 mg/litre for whites) for preserving the wines.