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The question is trivial, but I bet there are not a fewamateursof the wine that have come to this question: thebiodynamic wine isbestof aorganic wine?
The answer is controversial! If we talk about"Wine emotions", or rather of that passion transmitted to wine during cultivation, then thebiodynamic wineit is better as it requires more effort, but if we are talking about objective and measurable facts, then between the twowinesthere are no differences… at least that's what scientific studies and the tasters' tests conducted in this regard support.
What is biodynamic agriculture
Before getting to the heart of the matter, those who are fasting can ask themselves a questionwhat is biodynamic wine?You can find the answer:Biodynamic wine, peculiarities and practices in this article we will explain what biodynamic wine is and what are the typical practices of winemaking and cultivation and the differences with the organic method.
Biodynamic wine vs organic wine, soil and grape tests
In 2005, the research team of John Reganold, professor of agro-ecology and agriculture atWashington State Universityof the USA, conducted a study onbiodynamic winescomparing them with organic wines. The results can be quite disappointing for proponents of the methodbiodynamic!
"Given the recent interest in thebiodynamic, and since in the magazinespeer reviewed no research has ever been published that compares thebiodynamic agriculture with the biological one applied toviticulture, in 1996 we started a long-term study, replicated several times, by comparingorganic and biodynamic grapes in a certified commercial vineyardbiodynamic of Mendocino County [in California, ed.]. Our goal was to determine if it was possible to measure any change in soil and grape quality as a result of the preparationsbiodynamic.”
The experiment lasted more than seven years, involving 4.9 hectares of land cultivated with Merlot vines. The same organic farming practices were used over the entire surface, while the spray preparations typical of thebiodynamic cultivation. Soil has been analyzed for many years to see if there were any short or long term effects. The tests conducted on the soil concerned both the chemical component (organic matter, pH, nitrates, phosphorus ...) and biological activity (bacterial activity, presence of worms ...). According to the researchers, the land cultivated withbiodynamic agricultureit did not have any extra gear and consequently, not even the grapes harvested had tangible differences:
In relation to the various chemical, physical or biological parameters investigated, no significant difference was found between the plots treated in a biodynamic and those not treated. Furthermore, no differences were found in the more sensitive measures of microbial activity.
The analyzes carried out on the vines have shown that the treatmentsbiodynamicdid not produce significant differences in the analysis of the leaves, in the yield, in the number of clusters, in the specific weight of the clusters or berries.
Only for the samples examined in 2003 was a difference between the quality of the grapes obtained using the methodbiodynamicand that grown organically. The sugar content of grapes measured in degreesBrixwas greater than 1.3%. The contents of polyphenols (+2.6) and anthocyanins (+5) were also higher. These differences occurred only in the 2003 harvest were taken as a variable effect of chance, in fact the American researchers concluded (after seven years of analysis) that there is little evidence that the preparationsbiodynamiccan contribute to better grape quality. "The observed differences were small and of dubious utility ".
Organic wine vs biodynamic wine, wine tasters' test
If the chemical composition of the soil does not change, neither does the quality of the wine produced ... unless the biodynamic winemakingdon't put yours in there! Tests on differences between biodynamic wine and organic wine they went on and on until they reached the palate of expert tasters. Final analyzes focused on determining whether perceptible sensory differences exist betweenbiodynamic wineis organic wine.
The tasters' test was conducted flawlessly. The bunches were hand-picked and for all lots the wine was produced following the same protocol. To avoid that the flavor was altered by foreign aromas, no wooden barrels were used. A group of tasters performed "in the dark" (more correct to say, blind) a series of sensorial comparisons on the various wines.
The tasters' test took place as follows:
- triangular test
Three samples are tasted, all from the same vintage, two of which are organic and one biodynamic (and vice versa), and the expert taster is asked to discriminate the intruder. In no case were significant differences betweenbiodynamic wineand the organic one.
- Guided comparison
Again, the tasters performed the test "in the dark". The vintages examined were those of 2003 and 2004 (remember that in the 2003 vintage the tests conducted on the grapes reported a different composition for the biodynamic method). Participants had to evaluate various aspects of the flavor, taste and aroma of each pair of glasses administered. The 2003 biodynamic wine was found to have stronger earthy aromas and a more bitter taste than the corresponding organic wine, while the opposite occurred in 2004. Looking at global appreciation, only the 2003 vintage showed a difference in how much the tasters they preferred thewine from organic grapes than thatbiodynamic.
In any case, the sensory analyzes did not reveal any relevant difference betweenorganic wine and biodynamic wineof the same vintages. Only the 2003 wine, the one for which the grapes were richer in sugars, anthocyanins and polyphenols, had struck the palate of several tasters, ironically ... the tasters had preferred the organic wine to the biodynamic one.
Those interested in learning more about the cultivation of biodynamic vineyards and wine production can consult the paper manual "The vineyard, the wine and biodynamics“, Among the few books that manage to have a complete point of view on the production of biodynamic wine. The book is offered on Amazon at a price of 11.48 euros with free shipping and published by Slow Food publisher.
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