Why Beckmen Vineyards Went Biodynamic

As we continue our week-long look at wineries that take their stewardship of the land seriously, let’s visit a vineyard in California’s Santa Barbara County that has been farmed biodynamically since 2006.

It is the Purisima Mountain Vineyard of Beckmen Vineyards, planted 10 years earlier on a 365-acre hillside overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley.

Why the move to a much more involved style of farming? According to Steve Beckmen, “This commitment represented the culmination of a long process of experimentation to evaluate the benefits of biodynamic farming, its effect on the vineyard, and its elevation of wine quality.”

Here is more background and insight from the Beckmen website:

“Based on the pioneering 1920s work of scientist Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic farming offers a proactive and holistic approach to farming. By treating vineyards as complete and self-replenishing systems, biodynamic farming naturally builds soil life and vitality, while defending against pests and disease.”

“Often confused with both organic and sustainable farming practices, biodynamic farming meets the criteria of both, while focusing on a unique set of eight naturally derived non-chemical soil and plant treatments.”

“Beckmen Vineyards is not alone in embracing this method. Other world-renowned practitioners of biodynamic farming include Lalou Bize-Leroy in Burgundy, Nicolas Joly in the Loire Valley and the Chapoutier family in the Rhone Valley. Representing some of the best of their regions, many of these wineries have been utilizing biodynamic farming for decades with remarkable results.

“Because consistency and quality are so important, Beckmen carefully tested these methods before committing the whole vineyard. The results were impressive. When farmed biodynamically, the vines grew straight up and the leaves were rich in color and healthy. In addition, the soil retained more moisture and there was an increase in sugar and tannin quality.

“Building on these exceptional results, 2006 marked the transition from a grand experiment to a fully dedicated program of biodynamic farming at Purisima Mountain Vineyard.”

Our Vinesse wine clubs have been featuring Beckmen wines going all the way back to the 2000 vintage. They were very good then, and they’ve been even better since the move to biodynamic farming.

To learn more about Beckmen’s very special Purisima Mountain Vineyard, clickhere.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
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