Biodynamic winemaker and writer Monty Waldin has admitted he still gets “ridiculed” for practising biodynamic farming.
Addressing key members of the UK wine trade at an organic and biodynamic debate at the WSET head quarters in London last week, Waldin urged the trade to “sit up and take notice” of the biodynamic movement.
“Over 5% of the world’s vineyards are now organic and biodynamic, so the message seems to be getting across,” Waldin said.
In an impassioned speech, Waldin stressed the need for more farmers in the UK, saying: “We need to get more people into agriculture, to get the fat McDonald’s eaters farming.”
Waldin spoke disparagingly about “Parker 100-point” wines, calling them “not real wines”, and admitted that not all organic wines on the market are high quality: “There’s a lot of boring, crap, industrialised organic wines on the market, and if the industry’s going to implode, it’s because of that.”
He confessed he didn’t know how biodynamics works, but that it does seem to work. “It’s not a perfect system, but we’re moving in the right direction. The “voodoo” perception is lazy journalism. It’s easy to knock something weird.”
Meanwhile, Australian viticulturalist Dr Richard Smart warned that the strong support for organics and biodynamics in the UK trade is disadvantaging conventional winemakers who are “equally earnest in their plight.”
“One conventional winemaker, who asked not to be named, told me he was too frightened to stick his head above the parapet and admit that he’s not organic and biodynamic for fear of it affecting sales of his wines,” Smart said, adding, “winemakers are frightened not to be seen to be green these days.”
Smart, who referred to himself as an “unashamed environmentalist”, argued that the UK is promoting organic and biodynamic wines in the wrong way.
“Making out that non-organic and biodynamic wines are harmful to your health is a dangerous approach, as 95% of wine is non-organic and biodynamic,” he said.
The global consultant on viticultural methods told the audience that in the next few years, “sustainable” will become the new buzzword, and organic and biodynamic will be “past their sell-by date”.
He also attacked wooden barrels, corks and glass bottles, as “the three dinosaurs in the wine world” that have no place in today’s industry.