In a biodynamic vineyard you will find vines that have been treated with biodynamic sprays to stimulate biological activity in the soil and to help improve retention of nutrients.
You will perhaps see cows and other animals grazing amongst the vines to vary grazing patterns and help to reduce pasture borne parasites. Equally crop rotation is common to enhance soil fertility and to control weeds.
Homeopathic treatments are common too. Examples include the use of nettle tea to help weaker vines, whilst a preparation from the horsetail plant can help with fungal problems.
Biodynamic producers will also take in to account the lunar cycle and will plant and even bottle according to this calendar.
It’s easy to imagine the reader’s raised eyebrows at this point because it can all sound a little too quirky to be at the root of some of the finest winemaking in the world but it very much is. Nobody can possibly argue with the brilliance of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Comte Armande,Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Château Palmer (currently on the three year conversion process to full biodynamic certification), Gaston Huet and Opus One amongst many, many others.
There is no question that the biodynamic philosophy generates a degree of care and attentiveness in the vineyard that can only be a good thing for the ultimate quality of the grapes and the aforementioned names should give you confidence that estates managed in this way are capable of delivering world class wines.