A visit to the Weingut Odinstal in Germany’s Pfalz, to answer the question, ‘What’s the truth about biodynamics?’ in Meininger’s Wine Business International:
Odinstal is a biodynamic winery and it’s time to take the manure-filled cow horns out of the ground. Schumann has been interested in biodynamics since he began at Odinstal in 2004. “We started to do the first experiments in 2006, and with certifications since 2008,” he explains. “We’re becoming better each year.”
Previously, he worked for Dr Bürklin-Wolf, a Pfalz winery that was an early adopter of the practice. Schumann is somewhat sceptical about the number of people who now seem to be embracing it. “There are a lot of people who just want to fulfil some basic rules so they can call themselves biodynamic,” he says. But he thinks it’s generally a positive thing. “Even if it’s only for marketing reasons, they will see that something happens in the vineyards.”
Outside is a vineyard and a couple of fields surrounded by forest. The green grass contrasts with the intense blue sky and an abundance of plants spring between the vines. “That’s a carrot,” says Schumann. “Those are lupins.” The flowers are there to keep the insects well fed. “It’s important to have insects in the vineyard,” he explains. “If you have insects that eat the things that eat the grapes, then you have balance and you never need insecticides.” Raw wool is tied to the end of each vine row to keep the deer away, because they don’t like the smell of fleece.