There is quite a difference in the methods used by biodynamic vineyards and those using ‘traditional’ growing methods loaded with fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. Biodynamics is a farming method with some similarities to organic, but more expansive and with less government (i.e. lobbyist) involvement. According to the Biodynamic Association, the method is “a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. Biodynamic agriculture has been practiced for nearly a century, on every continent on Earth. Biodynamic principles and practices are based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, and have been developed through the collaboration of many farmers and researchers since the early 1920’s.”
A handy reference to the difference between vineyards employing biodynamics and ‘traditional’ farming methods was recently published by the Gevrey Wine Club, discussing the different faces of farming in Vôsne Romanée, where the Monks of St. Vivant began making wine in the twelfth century.
Many of the vineyards in Vôsne are farmed biodynamically. This immaculately tended vineyard has furrows between the vine rows. They were ploughed in December. The soil is piled up against the base of the vine to provide additional protection to the root system for the cold winter months. Ploughing aerates the soil and encourages the decomposition of inert matter, which in turn provides nutrients to feed the vine. At the same time, lateral roots are severed by the plough, encouraging the main roots to go deeper into the strata, contributing depth, originality and complexity to the wine.
Read more here.