Biodynamic Chronicles: February 2010, "The Biodynamic Farm"


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The Biodynamic® Farm

Self-Contained :: Self-Renewing :: Self-Regulating

Animals are one of the hallmarks of Biodynamics. Part of what differentiates the Biodynamic approach from organics is its focus on farming and maintaining the entire property, all areas, all natural systems, fence to fence. Organics only requires that production fields within a farm be farmed organically. There are no requirements for the balance of the property.
       The Benziger Estate on Sonoma Mountain, home of Tribute (our flagship wine), is 85 acres: 37 acres in grapes; 5 acres of olives; 5 acres of pastureland; 4 acres of gardens and 34 acres of woodland and wetlands. All of the estate is farmed Biodynamically with the full use of the Biodynamic preparations.
        With our climate changing and putting pressure on our farming activities, we believe that we should seriously consider alternative farming strategies to highly specialized large scale uniform monocultures of the past 50 years and explore more biologically diverse farming systems; ones that are more adapted to the ecosystems in which they are located. Such systems are likely to be more healthy and more resilient under the unpredictable climate conditions in which we find ourselves now and into the future.
       This new type of farm will have the potential to produce several crops and maintain animals on limited acreage with reduced inputs using living systems and biological synergies in which the waste of one species becomes the food for another. Think of it as a kind of reciprocal maintenance. These type of farming systems go beyond sustainability and are able to build biological capital for the future.
       As Rudolf Steiner (the father of Biodynamics) told us; “this means that within our farms, we should attempt to have everything we need for agricultural production, including of course, the appropriate amount of livestock.”
       This biodiversity of plants and animals create energy exchange systems that mimic nature, and have a proven track record of resilience in the face of climatic extremes.
       Again, Steiner was forward thinking, he envisioned the farm as a living organism, not a farm factory in which the right balance of plant and animal life should be incorporated into the farm to make it as self-contained as possible, self-renewing and self-regulating.
       This attempt at reducing farm inputs and focusing on recycling our living plant and animal waste is the basis for developing a unique biology above and below the soil. The result is farm individuality or as we call it in wine, terroir.

Take good care,

Mike Benziger |

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Benziger Family Winery
1883 London Ranch Rd
Glen Ellen, CA 95442