Gemtree Wines, they have been around for decades. You may remember them...you may even remember trying them. But what you probably didn't know what that they have been practicing Biodynamic and Organic farming for the last three decades.
But what does that mean exactly? Is biodynamy just hocus pocus or is there something too it?
To quote Gemtree:
"Biodynamic farming is not magic, nor is it a mystical belief that relies more upon hope than science. Biodynamics is simply a way of farming that enhances the soil and the environment around it through natural improvers rather than chemical sprays.
Instead of spraying weeds we will recruit flocks of sheep to eat them for us or use our dodge plough to pull them out. Instead of spraying synthetic fertilisers we fill cow horns with fresh manure, bury them and dig them up months later when the manure has transformed into a rich, concentrated fertiliser. Rather than hoping our vineyards are not infected by a fungal outbreak, we spray prepared natural ground quartz over our vines to strengthen the cell walls. This makes them fungus resistant while also enhancing the effects of natural sunlight and promoting stronger growth. If a problem occurs in the vineyard, we use a natural preparation spray to solve it, rather than a chemical.
And then there is the moon. Just as the moon causes the tides in the Gulf of St. Vincent, only a few short kilometres to the west of us, it also affects the way our plants grow and produce fruit. We plant, graft and harvest according to the phases of the moon. We do this because we will always endeavour to do everything we can to enhance the quality of our grapes.
Beyond farming biodynamically and organically, we use recycled water in our vineyards and have solar panels to power our irrigation pumps, winery and cellar door. We do all of this for the improvement of our land, so we can pass its custodianship to the next generation in a better condition than we received it. We are biodynamic farmers because we know it is better for our soil, vineyards, employees and the flavour of our fruit. Biodynamics is not magic, but since we have changed the way we farm it has produced some magical results."
In essence, this is the way humans made wine for thousands of years before the industrial revolution. This is nothing new, we just forgot how to do it.
Sometimes wines get overlooked and you forget about them, and then you discover them again and its like finding something new.
This has been my experience with Gemtree. I do buy into Biodynamics, having seen vineyards full of flora and fauna producing rich fruit because of the way they practice viticulture, tasting many wines over the years and noticing differences depending on whether it is a fruit, root or flower day. This cannot be objectively dismissed.
But the truth is in the tasting, and Gemtree have released wines that shine in the glass and the best thing is they don't use animal products in producing their wines so they are also vegan friendly.