I have a few heroes one being Martin Gardner who gave us some of his busy life to debunk pseudo-science wherever he found it. This form of misbehaviour I suppose is easier than seeking out the truth and naturally the wine business has its share.
Biodynamic farming methods are pseudo-science yet recently in Italy its many vineyard practitioners almost gained legal status for biodynamics missing out by one vote being blocked by the President. Official status would allow growers to gain access to the same funding and promotions given to organic farmers.
Alas when nonsense is repeated often enough and is not quickly refuted by those that know, then the many that do not may believe it to be so. Thus I was concerned that The Times wine writer, Jane MacQuitty wrote; ‘Trust the Italians to come over all sanctimonious about biodynamic wines. The Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner may have had some wacky theories, but biodynamic wine is just a step up from organic wine production, encouraging each vineyard to be the best it can be.’
In November, the Italian Nobel-winning physicist Giorgio Parisi stated about biodynamics: ‘Frankly it’s witchcraft’ and Ms MacQuitty did herself no favours in calling the Italians sanctimonious instead of explaining to her readers how dangerous this mischief is.
The 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Viticulturalist of the Year inaugural award went to Vanya Cullen of Cullens Wine saying, ‘It was feeling and intuition more than science that led Vanya to pursue biodynamics 18 years ago; the determination with which she has since embraced this regime makes it impossible to overstate the impact she has had on the reputation of biodynamic viticulture in Australia.’
I wonder what scientists at the Australian Wine Research Institute make of this rubbish.