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Include me as another biodynamic debunker

41 comments

I have to agree, strongly, with Tom Wark’s take on biodynamic winegrowing from his blog, although I won’t go quite as far as he did in calling it “a hoax.” A hoax is a fraud or, at best, a practical joke–in either instance, it’s something committed by someone on a consciously false basis. I don’t think the practitioners of biodynamism are consciously doing anything phony. I’m convinced they’re convinced of the truthiness of their commitment. In other words, they’re sincere.

But Tom did nail it when he wrote, “Suggesting that Biodynamics is somehow at the forefront of any movement to capture terroir in a bottle is…insulting to many fine winemakers who would never think of adopting Rudolph Steiner’s snake oil…”.

I first became acquainted with biodynamics in some detail when I wrote about Javier Tapa Meza, who then was (and still may be) Jim Fetzer’s winemaker at Ciego Vinegarden, up on the beautiful shores of Clear Lake. It was Javier–a great guy, with a great back story–who first told me all about the cow horns, the phases of the moon, the dung soups and so on.

I was incredulous, and asked Javier all kinds of questions, to which he had ultimately to admit he had no actual proof these things worked. I left that visit thinking that a commitment to biodynamism was more of a religious conviction than a scientific approach to winemaking. That was about eight or ten years ago, and nothing I’ve seen or heard since then has changed my mind.

There are many talented and sincere people practicing biodynamism in California. Mike Benziger, at Benziger Family Winery, is one. They make very good wine, but there are others who profess to practice biodynamism who don’t. And there are dozens, even hundreds of wineries who don’t stick to 100% biodynamic practices that make wine so good, it blows my mind.

So what’s a wine critic supposed to conclude? This: I don’t care how you make your wine. Just make it compelling.

Do I care about the environment? Yes. Do I care about sustainability? Yes. But in the case of wine, I care far more about my actual experience of what’s in the bottle than I do about the political beliefs or agricultural practices of the proprietor. It seems to me that even when wine is made in the “ordinary,” i.e. non-biodynamic way, it’s a pretty clean, green product. Besides, most wine regions have strict local laws concerning runoff, watershed protection, etc., and I know for a fact that growers are loathe to use any chemical insecticides, pesticides or fungicides they don’t have to.

But let’s face it, grapegrowing is farming, and a grower can’t let some religious or spiritual belief prohibit him from saving his crop when mold is about to take it over. That’s the Christian Science way of farming: pray, and hope God rescues your babies. Well, that’s not the way it works.

If there were absolute proof that biodynamic wines are better, I’d be behind this movement. But believe me, there isn’t, so I’m not.

  1. That was a fun read. I’m glad you decided to get that off your chest.

    I’ve always assumed biodynamism is probably effective to a point because, amongst all the kooky stuff, it includes some sensible farming practices. Independent of all that it entails, the word “biodynamic” does kind of sound good in today’s green culture where I think being “green” may actually help sell some products, wine among them. I wonder if some winemakers adopt “biodymanic” not because they are true believers in all of the cow horn stuff but because they think it will help them sell the wine.

  2. Mike, I hope winemakers don’t practice (or claim to practice–we’ll never know) biodynamism just to help them sell the wine. That would be a level of cynicism I trust doesn’t exist in the wine industry. Maybe I’m too trusting…

  3. Here’s a link that identifies other wineries that evidently adopt biodynamics, seemingly as true believers. Includes: Bonny Doon, Bonterra, Grgich Hills, Quivira, and Robert Sinskey in addition to Benziger. Do they really all buy into all of it? Have they really looked into all the stuff Steiner was also a proponent of? He was one imaginative guy, I’ll give him that.

    http://www.demeterbta.com/members.html

  4. There is, in fact, no biodynamic standard for wine. Moreover, the Aussies practice biodynamics in very different ways from the Europeans for one very good reason. Their growing conditions are very different.

    Olivier Humbrecht told a bunch of writers at an SF luncheon that the best thing about biodynamics for him is that he now pays far more attention to his vineyards than he used to.

    Now that makes sense.

    But how about the winery that refuses to “stir” the watery to excite it and simply pours it through as series of little waterfalls on the theory that those water molecules are all excited by the ride.

    I don’t label BioD as a hoax or not. Obviously, it appears not to hurt. But, as Steve has so nicely pointed out, BioD wines do not show better or worse than their peers in blind tastings.

    And, some independent observers have claimed that “organically certified” wines have outperformed BioD wines in comparative taste evaluations. You can find a long series of carefully researched articles on the subject on the New York Cork Report website.

  5. Roger King says:

    Bout time we acknowledge common sense in the vineyard

  6. Carlos Toledo says:

    Steve,

    where i come from the focus on biodynamic wine is more towards “we make the best wines” than the eco-thing approach.

    I´d love to see the french radical biodynamic producers and advocates to make very good biodynamic wines in places where the terroir and macro climate are absolutely against good wine making.

    Too easy to make great biodynamics in Borgougne. Let´s repeat the experience in the amazon rain forest. to see what happens.

    Best!

  7. Patrick says:

    Steve~
    I know for a fact that many wineries adopt sustainable, organic, and bio-dynamic practices for mostly marketing gain (maybe less so bio-dynamic). I’ve sat in a meeting with a wine distributor who quite bluntly informed my winery that if they didn’t have something to that effect (sustainable, organic, etc.) on our wine label, he would not be able to sell the wine, no matter what score or medals it had. The distributor incidentally was working the SF market. The market in general is very rewarding to those who can make good wine in an eco-conscience way.

  8. Steve,

    Excellent synopsis, and I am with you 100%. I had the same reaction as you after I attended a lecture given by a Steiner devotee at the Wineries Unlimited conference in Philadelphia about 6 yrs ago. Nothing I heard was founded in science. In contrast, it was more akin to a religious cult. So… is it OK to ‘respect the religious freedom’ of good winemakers? Maybe… however, the harm I see is that many are likely using Biodynamics for marketing alone, i.e., alternative ‘green-washing’. I am a skeptic and against spreading myths for any reason, but when it is for monetary gain I am especially opposed. Biodynamics is the ‘creationism’ of viticulture.

  9. And I know of winemakers who won’t put biodynamic on the label just for the reason of all the negative press, hoax,not scientific. Since when does good wine come from only scientific principles? As a marketing ploy seems like a lot of extra work considering people aren’t even convinced to buy organic wines. In fact, I would say that purely organic wines, no added sulfites, give wine a bad rep. Wines from organically grown grapes is a whole other expression. BTW, there are hundreds of wineries in this country and abroad who use biodynamic practices. I’ve tasted good BD wines, bad and fair ones, just like conventional wine.

  10. Whether or not you believe in biodynamics, it’s unfair to criticize those who do. There’s also a lot of misunderstanding about the practices of many of us who do follow it’s tenets.

    It would certainly be easier not to go to the expense and added requirements of farming biodynamically. But those like Quivira who adhere to the practice believe it is both a responsible and a purer approach to grapegrowing that ultimately leads to better winemaking. That doesn’t mean we believe it’s the only method for making phenomenal wine.

    Does biodynamics in and of itself mean better wine? Absolutely not. If you’ve got lousy vineyard sites and an incompetent winemaker, farming biodynamically isn’t going to save you. In the end, you need all three but we do believe a biodynamically farmed vineyard gives you better raw materials to start with. As others have said, with biodynamics, you are paying more attention to your vineyards.

    So does that mean there isn’t a marketing side of this? Of course there is. Just like proclaiming yourself “family owned” or producing wine that “reflects the terroir.”

  11. I think there is evidence that hoax might be an apt description. If you go all the way back to Steiner and his time and place there was a revolution going on in farming. With mechanization and the industrial production of ammonia farming was changing from the medieval farm of the peasant who you kept 2/3 of his land fallow to allow it to recover with the slow fixing of nitrogen in the soil by bacteria. A peasant who had a horse and a cow, and chickens, everything to make the farm self sustaining to his family. The changes in ag meant you could now farm large blocks of land, never letting it go fallow, harvesting a crop every year. Ag prices fell, and these changes threatened peasants who did not change with the times. This is where Steiner came in ascribed spirituality to the produce of the peasants. It was marketing pitch which used pseudoscience and spirituality to claim that what the peasant produced was better than his competition. It was pure marketing bullshit that continues today. Steiners basic claim and the belief that there is a spiritual difference in ammonia produced from natural gas and ammonia fixed by bacteria also continues today, not just in biodynamics, but at the foundation of organic farming.

  12. Spot on! Thank you Steve for calling like it is!

  13. Here…Here… to Steve and Tom! Cheers

  14. Thank you Steve, light needs to be shined on Biodynamics. Out of about 8,000 lectures, Steiner gave 6 about farming, in 1924- he died in 1925. The other “7,994″ lectures: odd lectures claiming there were two Jesus Christs (one was the reincarnation of Zoraster), and he claims Jesus is from the sun. Others claim the most important event in human history was the dripping of Christ’s blood on the ground at the crucifixion. He lectures at length on humanity ‘s evolution on the planets in the solar system including the Moon, (except for Neptune and Uranus). This is what Steiner’s lectures consist of. Steiner thought 1.Einstein was wrong about relativity, 2. Darwin was wrong about human evolution, 3. Copernicus was wrong about the planets circling the sun. How wrong can Steiner be? His few books are delusional to the extent that I question his sanity. As an artist, and having visited Dornach, Switzerland, to inspect his art, I can verify his sculpture is that of an amateur, his dance (Eurythmics) is laughable, and his paintings would have benefited from a bit more effort in order to be interesting.

  15. Andrew:

    I’ve always loved Quivera wines, and especially loved spending time out there at the Dry Creek Estate.

    I wanted to make sure that was clear before I said this: Since when and why is it unfair to criticize a belief that makes claims that can’t be sustained by anything rational? It’s not unfair.

    When someone says they believe the President of the United States is responsible for the increase or decrease in gasoline prices, yet presents nothing to substantiate the particulars of that claim, I think it’s entirely reasonable to criticize that belief.

    When someone declares they believe that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together, and can present no evidence to that effect, the declaration is fair game for criticism.

    Likewise, when someone claims that the biodynamic system of farming described by Rudolf Steiner works, yet presents no evidence that the system is the cause of of the quality, that claim (belief) is open to criticism, particularly when the person doing the criticism has skin in the game.

  16. Ps to Mort, Steiner’s audience did not consist of peasants, but of spiritualists who believed Steiner could reveal the secrets of the universe to humankind. Steiner was revealing secrets, he could go into his personal seance and see the past, present and future.

  17. Hello Steve,
    Just read this piece, find it very interesting, I also often agree with Tom Wark, especially with regards to “natural” wine. But in this situation I feel compelled to raise a few points.
    Let me first state that I personally believe a lot of Bio-dynamics to be absolute rubbish, but a lot is also sensible organic farming. To be honest this is the first time I have come across your site, I read your article and thought you must have some background in viticulture, but on reading your bio that seems not to be the case, so to put it bluntly: what the fuck would you know? I have worked in both Bio-dynamic and conventional vineyards, as well as non-bio-dynamic organic vineyards. I would like to point out that Bio-dynamics is essentially just a form of Organic viticulture! You can see that a properly run bio-dynamic vineyard is far superior with regards to soil and vine health than a properly farmed conventional vineyard. Just LOOK at it!
    It is not okay as you suggest, to use chemical insecticides, pesticides or fungicides, because proper farming methods should ensure that the need for such sprays does not arise.
    But hey none of this matters to you because you “don’t care how I make my wine” well I’m sorry but that is completely irresponsible. You should care. Because wine made in a “ordinary way” as you write is far from a “clean, green product”. If I coat my vineyard in pesticides and fungicides and then take those grapes and make for you a wine, that doesn’t in any way concern you?
    Just a reminder that I don’t believe in Bio-dynamics but some of the principles are legitimate with regards to Organic viticulture.
    A major problem though is the use of the term Bio-dynamics by farmers who do not truly practice it, much like the problem with winemakers claiming wines to be “Natural”. But this is marketing, and is the source of the problem here really with the producers or the market? I’d like to here your thoughts on that.
    Cheers!

  18. Hear are a couple of my questions on the subject I recently brought up with Randy Caparoso.

    (disclosure: I went to a Waldorf School for 8 years, grew up farming Organically and Biodynamically, and dropped our certification in 2006.)

    1) Why does there seem to be a difference in BD Vineyards vs BD Farms? If you go to any real BD farm around the world, you see so much diversity on the farm in equal parts whether its crops or animals. Go to a BD vineyard and most of the time it looks like a organic vineyard, with maybe a couple chickens for show, maybe a sheep you two and a log of the preps that were applied.

    2) Why is there such a variance in certified Demeter vineyard operations? You may have a couple that are close to a “BD farm” and really put in the extra effort, while the majority of vineyards that practice BD to the minimal for certification.

    3) Are most BD vineyards operations then misleading the public in leu of sales and marketing?

    I’m in the mind that talking care of the land is of top importance, but the way the system is set up doesn’t seem right. Do BD vineyards make better wine than Organic or conventional vineyards at the end of the day? Do BD vineyards show a truer expression of the site? When we talk about true expression of a Pinot Noir vineyard, who is to say that a vine that has been grafted onto a
    specific rootstock that suits a site’s soil, isn’t as manipulating as a conventional PN vineyard on it’s own roots?

  19. Good vineyard practices will not overcome poor winemaking, just as great winemaking can’t turn poor fruit into great wine. Biodynamics is practiced by so many of the world’s great wineries, from Araujo to Pingus to Zind-Humbrecht, precisely because it gives winemakers the best quality fruit the vineyard can healthily supply. I’m a believer in biodynamics, not because I’m some kind of spiritual mystic, but because I’ve happily tasted the results for almost a decade now. If you’ve had a biodynamic wine that doesn’t taste good, look to the winemaker. Not all chefs can turn great quality meat and produce into a 3 star Michelin meal.

  20. Biodynamics is the Scientology of the wine industry. I have no problem with either group as long as they do not try to make their beliefs my beliefs or attempt to take away my customers with invented stories and myths. In the case of Biodynamic producers, grow your crops however you want but when you publicize it you are marketing it and it is now open to debate. I actually have more respect for practitioners of Scientogy and Biodymanics who follow it for financial gain than I do for those who actually believe in that nonsense. As often noted the benefits of Biodynamics are more “footprints in the vineyard” which is always a good thing but you can do that simply by going out in your vineyard more often! Pay attention, give your vines everything they need but not everything they want, NO “STRESS.” In this Olympics year, are the athletes withholding water, nutrition, sleep, etc? Absolutely not, to perform at peak performance every living thing needs adequate fuel. Biodymanics is one more example of wine producers who want people to buy their product regardless of what is in the glass. The same goes for wine writers who want extensive “technical sheets” for wine tasting. What is printed on a piece of paper should never influence what is in a glass…and yet it often does. And as long as it does, fairy tale belief systems like Biodynamic will continue to be followed.

  21. I believe in Organic and Biodynamic farming and have seen the results, better fruit and better wines, that said its all common sense, don’t poison your soil or vines and look after them. I believe it’s principally the fact that the winegrowers are very connected to what is going on in their vineyards, NOT ANY STEINER SH!T. Look after your vines and they will look after you.

  22. I guess a few questions come to mind. How many BD farms have you visited?Did you study the science related to BD farming thatid available?Have you sat across the table from Aubert de Villian and discussed why he uses the practices? Have you tasted the impact it made for the quality of Ann Claude’s wines? Have you experienced the difference between natural yeast ferments and cultured yeast. Have you read or studied any of Steiners works. What is the basis for your comments????

    Sometimes it is easy to get on the naysayer bandwagon with out really researching thoroughly.

  23. Paul, life’s too short to research everything thoroughly! Sometimes, we have to make decisions based on the limited knowledge we have. For example, Obamacare. Some people are for it, some people are against it, probably none of them has taken the time to completely understand it. I’m not “against” BD, I’m just saying as far as I can tell, it doesn’t improve wine quality. You can always cite a handful of BD people making fantastic wine, but they’d probably be making fantastic wine if they were farming conventionally.

  24. Debunk is a pretty strong word to use without a lot of evidence, I would suggest.
    You have the choice of what you write about and your readers trust you to be an authority in those areas you chose to make comments about.
    Unfortunately there are far too many uninformed opinions today that are often times heard as truth.
    All the best in your future article.

  25. IF anyone happens to follow the Heimoff-Wark dirt-and-dung-horn-crystal trail of links from this post, it will lead you to Stu Smith’s (of Smith Madrone) highly entertaining and researched blog where many of these things were already addressed a good while ago. It’s called, Biodynamics is a Hoax ( http://biodynamicshoax.wordpress.com/ ) Stu’s last post was around a year ago, as Tom W pointed out, but what STU pointed out in his writings seems to be the basis of what y’all are talking about here, and worth taking the time to read through.

    Tally-ho!

  26. Rebecca Work says:

    We do biodynamic farming and believe it results in healthier vines. Biodynamic to many appear very spiritual; however, we know that ancient cultures frequently used the moon phases to ascertain when to sow and when to reap their crops. Astrologers throughout the ages have charted the progress of the sun, moon and stars through the heavens. The belief that heavenly bodies influence the growth and development of plants and animals is found in many cultures from the ancient Mayans to the Greeks.

    Thomas Jefferson, who did not subscribe to lunar gardening methods, kept a detailed gardening journal at Monticello. He was an avid vegetable and flower gardener and his journals are famous for their detailed insights into agriculture. Using Jefferson’s writings, Peggy Gilmour, a gardening writer, constructed a chart comparing his plantings to the moon phases. She discovered that when Jefferson planted peas on a favorable moon phase, he harvested them on average ten days earlier.

    Thorough the principles of biodynamic agriculture were first proposed by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Maria Thun of Germany, was a leading authority on “biodynamics”. Beginning in the 1950s Maria Thun decided to subject his principles to controlled trials on her farm on the outskirts of Darmstadt in Germany. Over a ten-year period, she kept detailed tracking of each planting and weighed each crop keeping careful records of the lunar effects.

    I suggest folks read her works to get a better understanding of why many of us believe biodynamics does make a difference and “yes” there will always be those who will jump on any movement if they can gain financially.

  27. doug wilder says:

    As mentioned earlier, I think the results of a properly managed vineyard (BD or otherwise) will manifest themselves in the glass. One of the top wines I tried recently was the 2009 Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel, from a site that has been farmed BD before it became fashionable to debate the practice. I have no issue with how a grower farms as long as they are conscious of the impact their philosophy and practices has on the environment.

  28. Tom:
    Glad you love Quivira wines. So then you’ve experienced how farming biodynamically translates into great wines.

    But seriously, I’m unclear how you might conclude that biodynamics is predicated on the irrational. At its core, what we practice is organic farming taken to the next level. So we’re not using substances derived from petroleum distallates and a whole host of other synthetic chemicals used for herbicides and pesticides and fungicides. We’re using cover crops and compost and green manure (and no it doesn’t come from dinosaurs). By approaching this biodynamically, we are looking at organics in a more wholistic sense. For example, the chickens and the cows on the farm are the source of the manure and the cows have the added value of being great mowing machines.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, we aren’t telling anyone this in and of itself means we can make great wines. There are other parts of the equation that are just as important. But we do firmly ascribe to the notion that if you take care of the land, it will take care of you. In short, biodynamics, as practiced by many folks is far from a bunch of hocus pocus.

  29. Dear Andrew Freeman, thanks for your comment. I hear you. What no one has managed to explain to me is how so many fabulous wines, that I give such high scores to, come from non-BD vineyards.

  30. I would love to see the scientific proof that conventional farming grows healthier grapes and makes for better tasting wine. Having tasted wines for fifteen years, I find BioD wines to taste better, they offer a more generous tasting experience, they tend to further develop after being open for 3+ days, there is a brightness to the wines that I don’t find in comparable wines. I enjoy them because they taste better.

    This BioD as a “marketing ploy” is a humorous statement coming from a professional winery PR person and a California wine critic. If someone in Napa would just please start naming the producers who are in it to just sell wine…where is the proof? Of course, nobody names names, it’s all just BS. My other favorite blogger rouse is the “insulting” stance. How ludicrous. I’m wondering if there is this same outrage towards the cooperage sales rep, the Scott Labs sales rep, the Lallemand rep, or the Monsanto rep who make even grander claims of their products and/or methods.

    Funny, we haven’t seen too many blog posts lately on the “insulting” nature of these practices.

    The only thing that is insulting here is the blatantly obvious anti-BioD campaign that is being waged here. I suggest that you come up with some harder proof that BioD is one big scam, instead of recycling this “insulting” schtick.

  31. I see so many wineries being referred to as biodynamic, but I wonder if frequently the person saying that (often a sales rep) is simply lying, or maybe fudging things. Does one have to follow Steiner’s program to be considered bio, or are there other definitions? Andrew of Quivira makes a lot of sense in what he says about vineyard practices. When he says Quivira is bio, does it mean all the Steiner stuff is followed? Personally, I’m not doctrinaire about the whole thing. I think a winery’s vineyard practices are very important, but I don’t fault a winery if they’re not certified organic or not biodynamic. I feel the same way about farms. I prefer to buy from local farmers whose practices I know, even if not certified organic, rather than supposed organic produce from a giant California or Mexico farm.

  32. Bob,

    Good for you, and thanks for bringing up this important point. If you want to do something good for the planet – Buy Local. You also hit the nail on the Bio-Head. If you happen to farm 99.999% biodynamically and only refuse to buy their preparations and pay your dues to Demeter you will be warned (and then sued) by Demeter if you even put a sign in your vineyard saying you farm biodynamically.

    Steve, thanks for being in a debunking mood and bringing out a colorfull cast of characters into the open, and it wasn’t even full moon!

  33. Back when Anne Claude LeFlaive was first experimenting with bioD she was conducting an honest comparison against conventional viticulture. I had the opportunity to taste the wines from tank. There was a difference – no question in my mind that the bioD practices were having an effect in the vineyard that was evident in the finished wine. However, my preference was for the wine produced from conventional farming. It had elegance and finesse, where the bioD wine was closed in. chunky, ungainly and just weird. Yeah I know those are difficult descriptors to “quantify” but it created an archetypal signature in my sense memory that I have since found in many other bioD wines. More often than not, I just don’t like them.

    Therefore, to me it seems a matter of faith that bioD produces “better” grapes. Better how? As I said, so far as I am concerned the wines from bioD grapes are not better, therefore the grapes are not better.

    This is the problem I see, and the common thread through the comments here by proponents of bioD farming – that the grapes are inherently, and apparently self-evidently, better. It circles back to the same mindset that seeks to assert that “natural” wines are “better.” Excuse me, but simply putting a label on a wine – be it bioD or natural – simply does not make it better, and no amount of wishing or faith will make it so.

    I also have a problem with the implication by bioD proponents (as well as many organic proponents) that everyone else must be drowning their grapes with fungicides, pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Look more closely at Jake Fetzer’s comment.

  34. Always enjoy a healthy debate. Steve, to your point about giving high scores to non-biodynamic wine, we’re not so presumptuous to say that biodynamics is the only way to go and you can certainly make great wines from all kinds of vineyards.

    My point is that it’s important to us how we treat the land. I invite you or anyone else, to come to Quivira and learn what we do put into our vineyards or more importantly, what we don’t. We just think farming in this manner, aside from being the responsible thing to do, leads to a better expression of the fruit from our vineyards, but it also takes the skilled hand of our winemaker, Hugh Chappelle, to ultimately shape that into what we think are some pretty well-made wines.

  35. Andrew, I hear you. But I have to say I’ve been to many vineyards that are not farmed biodynamically and never will be, where the owners love and respect the land, protect its habitats, and take great pride in their stewardship. So it’s a bit of a canard to suggest that BD growers treat their land more respectfully than non BD growers.

  36. Jeff:

    Concerning the view that Biodyanmic farming is a hoax, let’s consider “Preparation #502″ which involves the burial of yarrow flowers in a stag’s bladder.

    The originator of this preparation, Rudolf Stiener, explains it this way:

    “The bladder of the stag is connected . . . with the forces of the Cosmos. Nay, it is almost the image of the Cosmos. We thereby give the yarrow the power quite essentially to enhance the forces it already possesses, to combine the sulphur with the other substances.”

    “The forces of the cosmos”? Really? The stag’s bladder? Really?

    Of course Biodynamics is a hoax.

    You find it insulting that some might observe this blatant nonsense and conclude that Biodynamics is silly and become anti-BioD. That’s fair. We are all in a discussion here and we all have our own opinions.

    BioD is touted as a some special and enhancing method to produce better grapes. Ok.

    But really, A stag’s bladder being connected to the forces of the Cosmos? Nay, but the actual image of the Cosmos? Doesn’t one have to believe this in order to implement it? Do Biodynamic grape growers believe the Stag’s bladder is the actual image of the Cosmos?

  37. I would like to invite both Tom and Steve to visit Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena who have developed a comparison garden showcasing (among other things) vegetables farmed organically versus biodynamically. The results, quite frankly, are evident. To my knowledge, no one else is doing this and I was super impressed when I took the tour. I work at Boisset Family Estates now and would be happy to set up a tour with our Head Gardener who formerly worked at Slide Ranch on the Sonoma Coast. It might shed light on this rather divisive topic. It did for me.

  38. William Egosum says:

    Steve:

    You need to consult a dictionary re: the meaning of the word “debunk”.
    Not believing is not the same as disproving.

  39. Im so happy for everyone that takes a stand for common sense and against the superstition and pseudoscience of BD.
    Glad to have found your blog through Alice Feiring (oh the irony). Now I’m going to visit Tom Wark. :)

  40. It seems strange that even though ‘science’ and ‘society’ are aware of such phenomena of women’s menstrual cycles aligning with the period of the moon, tides whihc are pulled daily by the moon, and police forces who need to put extra feet on the street on full moon nights (note the source of the word ‘lunatic’), that there are so many on this board furiously looking for ‘blood’ and to ‘debunk’ Biodynamic agriculture which farms according those same rhythms.

    It’s also worth learning about traditional foresters who know that if wood is ordered to be on the more springy and sappy side to cut it during the full moon phase, or if ordered to be stiffer and drier to harvest it during the new moon. These effects have been well known for centuries, and now suddenly some “expert” on a message board in 2013 has the ‘ego-authorization’ to refute it all as hocus pocus without having seriously researched it? Seriously? Most innovative knowledge gets refuted by those more comfortable with the status quo. Look how long it took people to be convinced that smoking caused lung cancers and deaths. Those suggesting it were called ‘cranks’ and ‘troublemakers’ and were not accepted for a long time. The same for Copernicus and van Gogh. It is helpful to be open-minded and research new things fully, thoroughly and experientially before either taking them on board or refuting them on good grounds. Don’t ‘take my word for it’. Go eat biodynamic vegetables for a month instead of regular ones, or better still go work on a biodynamic farm for a month. Then have your say, rather than adopting the ever-critical ‘armchair expert’ approach, throwing out negatives and criticisms at will with the hope that some of it will ‘stick’ and give them some ‘credibility’.

  41. John Hilliard says:

    Dear Richard, Couldn’t you do a little research? Please read this about the full moon, I think it will lead you to retract your post: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lunacy-and-the-full-moon/

    Richard, you are wrong on so many points I can assure you The National Academy of Sciences is not considering you for membership. By the way… think about this for a second: there are no tides in the Great Lakes.

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