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Biodynamics, rooted in ancient practices and inspired by working in harmony with celestial rhythms, presents a natural extension of organic farming. Hugo Stewart from Botleys Farm, a certified biodynamic vineyard, shares his thoughts on the profound connection between biodynamic winemaking and the expression of terroir, delving into the distinctive qualities that make biodynamic wines intriguing to wine enthusiasts and experts alike. Join him on this captivating path and explore the intriguing qualities that make biodynamic wines a true testament to nature’s harmony.
As a biodynamic vineyard owner at Botleys Farm, Hugo embarked on a remarkable journey that merges ancient practices with a deep respect for nature. Inspired by the wisdom of the universe and nature, he has embraced a holistic approach that allows the true essence of the soil and surroundings, known as terroir, to shine through. Guided by his passion for crafting wines that truly reflect the soil and surroundings, the Domaine Hugo vineyard at Botleys Farm has become a beacon of biodynamic winemaking.
Biodynamics, an extension of organic farming, has become the cornerstone of Hugo’s winemaking philosophy. By following the rhythms of the moon and stars and practicing careful timing for essential vineyard tasks, Hugo and his team nurture the vines and unlock the full expression of the land. This journey has transformed Domaine Hugo into a vineyard where the wines not only have a greater affinity with their origin but also exhibit a vibrant and distinctive character that captures the essence of their English terroir.
“From the very beginning, my aspiration has been to craft wines that authentically reflect the unique character of the land. By eliminating treatments that could interfere with the vine’s growth and the resulting grape juice, biodynamic winemaking allows the true spirit of the terroir to flourish. I have witnessed first-hand how biodynamic wines possess a distinctive and complex allure. It comes as no surprise that renowned wine experts, including Jancis Robinson, find themselves captivated by the fascinating nuances of biodynamic wines when they taste blind.”
One of the defining characteristics of biodynamic wines is their vitality and dynamism. By using minimal or no added sulfur, these wines are granted the freedom to evolve and express themselves fully. Unlike wines subjected to conventional methods that strive for consistency throughout the bottles and vintages, biodynamic wines have a captivating journey to offer. They evolve and transform as they interact with the air, revealing different dimensions of their personality over time. This ever-changing nature of biodynamic wines is what makes them truly engaging and intriguing.
Behind the seemingly mystical practices of biodynamics lies a treasure trove of practical wisdom. Take, for instance, Botleys’ carefully timed pruning, synchronised with the rising sap and the full moon. It is a meticulous dance with nature, harnessing its healing power and safeguarding against potential infections. This harmony between vine and cosmos reflects the deep-rooted peasant knowledge passed down through generations. Unfortunately, much of this wisdom has been lost in our modern industrial farming world. But as we awaken to the need for a more sensitive and holistic approach to winemaking, we rediscover the value of this ancient understanding.
Recently we shared the news that Domaine Hugo has been selected to be part of the Return to Terroir group, headed up by Nicolas Joly, an international group of producers with the same biodynamic philosophy that aims to create a wider audience for biodynamic wines by showcasing distinctive offerings.
“As the only British producer within the group, we proudly represent the UK’s growing commitment to biodynamic viticulture. Through tastings arranged worldwide, Nicolas Joly enlightens audiences with his insights while producers present their exceptional wines. It is a privilege to be part of this esteemed community and contribute to the global recognition of biodynamic wines”
Follow Domaine Hugo on Instagram and Facebook to connect with fellow enthusiasts and witness the journey of biodynamic winemaking first-hand or visit their website here. Together, we can celebrate the wonders of biodynamic wines and the connection they foster with the land.
If you’d like to find out more about biodynamic viticulture and Demeter wines in the UK, explore some of the resources below:
- Renaissance des Appellations: Quality Charter & Return to Terroir
- Biodynamic Association: Biodynamic Viticulture: The Basics
- What is Biodynamic Wine? by Nicola Joly
- Biodynamic Agricultural College
- Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking – Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture, by Britt & Per Karlsson
- Biodynamic Wine Growing – Understanding the vine and its rhythms, edited by Jean Michel Florin