Book Reviews

Book Review: Voodoo Vintners.

Organic and biodynamic wines are relatively new phenomena in the industry. Only a decade ago there were few wines labelled as such, although some may have been produced organically. In fact, in Greece or in southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia with a dry growing season, there is no reason to spray wines.

The popularity of organic and biodynamic wines can be attributed to all the bad press about food production and processing. Suddenly, people have started to pay attention to what they are ingesting.

Rudolf Steiner, born in 1861 in what is today Croatia, gave a series of lectures in 1920’s about biodynamic grape growing principles, prescribing natural remedies to control harmful insects, and vine diseases. All are sound principles, but require lengthy preparations that either must be buried or stored for a certain period to be effective before application. Large vineyard operations simply cannot use such formulae. They prefer ready-to-use chemicals that large chemical manufacturers market and aggressively promote.

The author describes in detail and in simple enough terms biodynamic winemaking, which anyone can understand and use. She contributes the popularity of biodynamic wines to the organization of the first Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon in July 2001. Since then, it has become the largest “Pinot Noir Fest” in the world with winemakers from all over the world in attendance.

Although, a lot has been written about biodynamic and organic wines, only five per cent of vineyards in Oregon are certified biodynamic, and maybe another one-and-a-half per cent practise it, but are not certified.

This is a very approachable book about the subject and anyone wanting to know more about biodynamic grape growing and wine making should read it.

She interviewed many biodynamic vineyard owners and winemakers, relating their thoughts in the narrative; this renders the book very valuable.

Even general interest readers and ordinary wine consumers will benefit from this book.

Highly recommended.

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