Too often, I am asked the question, what is the difference between conventional wine growing and organic organic and whether this has an effect on the wine itself …
My understanding of this way of working is quite simply explained: organic farming and viticulture means that you do not need any form of chemical fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. The basic work focuses on the soil. Healthy, humus-rich soil provides the vine with sufficient nutrients and promotes its immune system. We achieve this soil health through the introduction of compost and a deliberately ground floor. Colorful flowering, criss-crossing herbs and plants are sown between the rows and bring shading, rooting, humidification and oxygen into the ground, give insects and many subterranean creatures such as worms a precious habitat. It hums and hums in the vineyard in all tones.
In the biological organic work we protect the vines depending on the vegetation phase and weather conditions by means of a spray broth against fungal attack. This may consist of, among other things, baking powder, fennel extract, sulfur or horsetail extract. Of course, exact handwork alone guarantees almost 60% of the success of organic farming. There is no reaction, everything must be well thought out and prepared at the right time. Such a vineyard year is labor-intensive and cost-intensive, but it’s worth it, as it preserves vital vines and living soil.
Organic – do you feel it?
Yes, you can feel the expenses and work in the wine. Since 2006 we work organically and organically. Before that, the vineyards were tidy and scrupulously farmed, but – and I can now say after more than ten years “bio” – the vines were out of balance. This became noticeable in the course of the sugar maturity, the decrease of the acid proceeded faster, as tannins and aromas could form. Due to the biological-organic cultivation, a simultaneous point of sugar maturity with the so-called physiological maturity has set. The wines are thus finer, less alcoholic, show up with elegant tannin and wholesome.
Now the question arises, what is biodynamic agriculture then?
My first encounter with this form of viticulture was in 1995 in Bordeaux, in the winery Canon la Gaffeliere, where was converted to biodynamic production. At the time it seemed exciting and almost unattainable for me, very complex and some rather strange. Nevertheless, I knew immediately that this is definitely my goal – so I would like to work on my vineyards. I still had too much respect for it. But, as life goes, my children took me to homeopathic and anthroposophic medicine. No antibiotic was needed anymore, “little Kugerl” globules – brought them back into balance and recovery. This effect also encouraged me to work away from conventional work on my winery and we started in 2006 with the conversion to organic farming. The first step was done. This was followed by two years of intensive training. The ideas of Rudolf Steiner, founder of biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophic medicine, were buzzing around in my head. Again, my children took me one step further. Because in 2007 we founded together with three other parents the first, Burgenland Waldorf School (Sonnenland School). We were amazed at how children can develop and develop in this school form – both as individuals and as a whole. The focus here was the same idea and drive as in biodynamic agriculture: everything is related.
In 2011 I finally succeeded in the change. As a biodynamic winemaker I consider each plant as an individual, observe the constellation of the moon and the stars, support the growth and maturation forces of nature: cow horn preparations (500, 501) as well as nettle, horsetail, chamomile tea and compost preparations are applied. All this promotes vibrancy and health of the vines and soils. It enables wines that are alive and radiant, wines that touch. My wines are accompanied in the cellar, the potential that comes from the vineyards should be able to develop. Therefore, there are no additional resources. According to the strict Demeter guidelines, only sulfur and bentonite are used for stabilization. Basically, the wines ferment spontaneously with the natural yeast. The result is wines with character and distinctiveness.
Who checks the work?
All this is guaranteed by the Bio-Kontrollstelle. Basically, this organic control is voluntary and also liable to pay. For me, there is no question but to give my customers this guarantee – combined with a clear statement for what I stand, what I work for. The Biocontrol Number and the Demeter Seal also provide the visible guarantor to the outside world. There should not be a backdoor open that would ease the work in difficult years and minimize the risk. My attitude: Being a little bit pregnant is not possible.
Attitude to life and lifelong dream
It is the conviction and attitude of life of me, my family and my co-workers, who feel extremely well in a colorful, chamomile-scented and insect-buzzing vineyard, and thus do their work with love and commitment.
As a winemaker, I see myself as a landscape conservationist. Aware that I have lent the land only to the next generation, I am committed to respecting the land entrusted to me. As a farmer, I can make a major contribution to preserving nature and protecting the climate. As a consumer, I can decide what kind of agriculture I support, and what kind of “food” I use to help my body. It is therefore my concern to produce healthy, vivid wines that are digestible and give joyful and enjoyable hours.
This is my life dream, where I work with a lot of commitment and joy.
In this sense, I wish you a lot of enjoyment and enjoyment with Organic Organic Biodynamic products!
Your Birgit Braunstein
“There is nothing in living nature that is not related to the whole!”