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Biodynamic Viticulture

Biodynamic farming looks at the farm and surrounding land as an eco-system to determine the best ways to control pests and get the best yields.

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You've heard of organics, but what about biodynamics? Biodynamic agriculture and organic agriculture have a lot in common, but while organic farming focuses on limiting synthetic inputs, like chemical fertilizers, biodynamic farming looks at the farm and surrounding land as an ecosystem to determine the best ways to control pests and get the best yields. Basically, biodynamic farming uses organic methods, but is more big-picture focused, treating the land and the farm's micro-climates as living things that need to be nurtured [source: Morganstern].

More and more winemakers are turning to biodynamic viticulture (aka grape-growing) because not only does it help conserve precious soil, but many believe that biodynamically grown grapes just plain make better wine. At a 2004 tasting that put biodynamic wines up against conventional wine varieties, the biodynamic wines won eight out of 10 times and tied once [source: Morganstern]. That means conventional grapes only outshone biodynamic ones one out of 10 times in that blind taste test!

Biodynamic agriculture got its start in 1924, but it started gaining hold in the wine world in the early 2000s [source: Morganstern]. French vineyards were some of the first to start producing biodynamic wine, such as Domaine Leroy and Chateau de la Roche-aux-Moines [source: Reilly].

Since then, biodynamic wine has taken off in wine-growing regions all over the world. Ceágo, founded by Jim Fetzer -- formerly of Fetzer Vineyards -- was one of the first American biodynamic vineyards [source: Isle]. These days, you can find biodynamic wines in all tastes and colors.

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