We rely on the moon and planets for direction most days (in case you haven't heard, mercury is in retrograde right now). Whether it be the motivation to start a new project, knowing its not a good time to communicate or charging your crystal collection - the lunar cycle should not be taken lightly. But should you consider lunar forces when drinking wine? A number of winemakers believe the movement of the moon should guide us in grape-picking, and drinking.
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Biodynamic wine is the newest wine trend you need to get on board with. The unique winemaking process is a style that calls for a combination of rigorous farming regulations - basically, no pesticides or chemicals allowed - and a more holistic, spiritual approach. Biodynamic winemakers use moon methods, based on ideologies developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and his student-turned-biodynamic leader Maria Thun in the 1920s, to determine when to prune, rack, and bottle their wines.
Australia's leading organic winery, Angove Organics, is doing this right on our very shores. Victoria Angove, joint Managing Director of Angove Family Winemakers and 5th generation winemaker, broke down what it means exactly to be classified as "'biodynamic'.
“Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Biodynamic winemaking is based on the idea that, for it to reach its full potential, a vineyard needs to be well-balanced and harmonious. Winemaking practices include pruning and harvesting in accordance with the phases of the moon," Victoria explains. "It is a large and complex system – the key is having a healthy soil and vineyard microbiome and that carries through to healthy vines and flavour packed grapes that we lovingly turn in to delicious, flavour-packed wines."
Richard Angove, also Managing Director at Angove and 5th generation winemaker, added: "One of the key things for us is using vineyard management practices that follow the cycle or the moon. The moon is obviously, quite important in the way it affects tides and there is a fair bit of evidence out there that says it can affect the flavour of grapes, as well as the application of organic fertilisers."
When it comes to biodynamic winemaking calendars, each day of the year is associated with an element: Earth, Fire, Air and Water, which provides guidance for farming and wine drinking. The days are broken down into the following categories: Root (when the moon travels through Earth signs Virgo, Taurus, and Capricorn), Flower (when the moon travels through Air signs Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra), Leaf (when the moon travels through Water signs Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio) and Fruit (when the moon travels through Fire signs Leo, Sagittarius, and Aries).
In winemaking, the emphasis is on Flower and Fruit days, with Fruit being the most optimal.
"When the moon is full, it's actually pulling flavour out of the soil and into the berry, and when it's waning its actually pushing goodness into the root zone. So, at Angove, we actually make our picking decisions based on flavour in the vineyard, and we'll also look to pick on a fruit day. When the moon is actually pulling the flavour out, we will make sure we pick on those days," Richard Angove explained.
If you want to put wine tasting and the lunar calendar to the test, add these certified Organics to your must-try list: