Waldin: “nature gives her best when stewarded not enslaved”

Biodynamic evangelist Monty Waldin will fight the corner for minimal intervention farming in what promises to be a heated debate in London next month.

The UK-born, Montalcino-based winemaker is going head-to-head with Australian viticulturalist and consultant Dr Richard Smart, who staunchly opposes biodynamics, believing its disciples use “emotional black magic” to get their message across.

During the debate, which will take place at the London headquarters of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, Waldin (pictured) will argue that biodynamics is the first “green” farming movement, and that nature gives her best “when stewarded not enslaved.”

“A vineyard should be a self-sustaining living organism that puts back more than it plunders from the land,” Waldin asserts.

In the opposing corner, Smart will argue that the wine press is giving “too much attention, and hence credibility” to the organic/biodynamic movement. “Organic and biodynamic producers considerably overstate the benefits of their approach to wine quality, consumers’ health and the environment,” he believes.

Smart aims to challenge audience perceptions about environmental degradation in vineyards, and will argue for a more rational approach and “strongly against any wine trade support for organic and biodynamic wines.”

Both men are highly qualified: Waldin has published numerous books on biodynamic farming, including the Biodynamic Wine Guide 2011, while Smart is a PhD who has written more than 350 articles and papers on wine.

The debate will be chaired by Antony Moss MW, WSET’s research and development director. It takes place at 7pm on Thursday 1 December at the WSET headquarters in London’s Bermondsey Street.

Tickets cost £35 and can be booked via www.wsetglobal.com

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