California Wine, All the Time | Poppy & Quail Blog

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April 18, 2018


Due to climate change and global warming, we are living during a time in which sustainability is at the forefront of our minds. This lifestyle includes buying organic, recycling more often and using less plastic. But what is the biodynamic movement and how does it factor in?

What is Biodynamic Wine?

According to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, biodynamic farming is “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition.” Biodynamic wine is made with a particular set of farming practices, which view the vineyard as one solid organism. The idea is that each portion of the vineyard contributes to the next.

How is Biodynamic Wine Made?

Biodynamic wine is made on a vineyard that eliminates the use of chemicals and opts for natural materials and composts. In addition, the vineyard follows the biodynamic calendar, which breaks all the farming tasks into four kinds of days: root days, flower days, fruit days and leaf days. Each day is assigned a certain task that is associated with the Earth’s four classical elements. For example, fruit days are reserved for harvesting, leaf days are for watering and root days are for pruning. On flower days, the vineyard is left alone.


Biodynamic farming demands very specific and sometimes strange compost and field preparations. One of these demands is the use of cow horn manure, referred to as preparation 500. Cow horns are stuffed with manure compost and buried into the ground during the winter, then later dug up. After they are excavated, the horns are spread throughout the vineyard. The reasons for these cow horns are to stimulate seed germination, regulate pH and dissolve minerals.

What is the Difference Between Biodynamic and Organic Wine?

Biodynamic and organic wine are not the same. While they do incorporate practices that don’t use chemicals, organic wine is simply made with organic grapes. Biodynamic wine involves various other factors, such as the biodynamic calendar and the vineyard operation as a whole. Everything is taken into account with biodynamic farming, from the plants themselves to the insects.


 What Does Biodynamic Wine Taste Like?

While this may be a subjective question, generally biodynamic wine does not taste different than other wine. It is very difficult to discern whether a wine is biodynamic or not simply from the taste. That being said, many winemakers who practice biodynamic farming also grow organic fruit. Due to this combination and lack of pesticides, there may be a higher-quality taste profile of biodynamic wines versus other wines.

A Prime Example of Biodynamic Wine: Bonterra Organic Vineyards

Once a thriving sheep farm, Bonterra Organic Vineyards is now home to world-class biodynamic vineyards. Sheep still roam the property, keeping weeds in check. Bonterra’s three ranches (Blue Heron, McNab and Butler) are certified Biodynamic® by Demeter and their status is reviewed annually to ensure that each ranch adheres to the Demeter Farm Standard.

Bonterra’s flagship red, The McNab, honors its namesake with a polished, full-bodied blend that melds notes of chocolate and black fruit into a rich and oaky vintage. Its big red wine, The Butler, is deep in color and has sophisticated flavors to match. The Butler’s smoky aromas and black fruit flavors are sure to impress red wine aficionados. Bonterra’s The Roost Chardonnay brings lemon, baked apple, and creme brulee aromas and palate.


Here are some California Wines we think you’ll love: 

Bonterra The McNab

Bonterra The Butler

Bonterra The Roost