Hawkhurst Vineyards -
               Hawke's Bay finest wines

Roots of Biodynamics

Hawkhurst Estate. Biodynamically Grown.It has its roots in a series of lectures delivered by Austrian philosopher-scientist Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Steiner's life mission was to bridge the gap between the material and spiritual worlds through the philosophical method. To this end, he created the 'spiritual science' of anthroposophy, which he used as the basis of the Waldorf school system that persists to this day.

It was only quite late on in Steiner's life that he turned to agriculture: his eight lectures, entitled Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture, were delivered just a year before his death, but they remain as the foundation of biodynamic farming. Modern biodynamic practice is built on top of Steiner-inspired theories, but it is important to emphasize that there are a number of growers who practice biodynamics but who would distance themselves from Steiner's beliefs and teachings.

Key to biodynamics is considering the farm in its entirety as a living system. To this end, biodynamic farms are supposed to be closed, self-sustaining systems. Biodynamics also sees the farm in the context of the wider pattern of lunar and cosmic rhythms. In this holistic view, the soil is seen not simply as a substrate for plant growth, but as an organism in its own right. The idea of using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is thus an anathema to biodynamic practitioners. Instead, they use a series of special preparations (see Table) to enhance the life of the soil, which are applied at appropriate times in keeping with the rhythms of nature. And disease is seen not as a problem to be tackled head-on, but rather as a symptom of a deeper malaise within the farm 'organism': correct the problem in the system and the disease will right itself.

Hawkhurst's Biodynamically Grown

Hawkhurst Wines labeled "Biodynamic Methods Used". Biodynamic viticulture takes the principles of organic farming to a higher degree. Biodynamic viticulture, or simply biodynamics, a branch of viticultural science conceived by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, stresses the importance of the many balances (and imbalances) in nature that effect the health and homeopathic strength of the vine, and the relationship of the vine with the vital life forces that supports its very existence. Biodynamics emphasizes natural holistic treatments to increase the vine's resistance to disease, as well as a biorhythmic approach to treatments, pruning and harvesting resulting in healthier vines and better tasting fruit. Biodynamics is a common sense approach to viticulture employing age-old wisdom that studies the relationship of the vine with the sun, moon, stars, and earth. A biodynamic vineyard is in complete harmony with its surroundings, and is generally a self-sufficient entity. Biodynamic vineyards are always environmentally friendly, respecting the earth and their natural surroundings

It is helpful to think of biodynamics not primarily as an agricultural system, but rather as an altered philosophy or worldview that then impacts on the practice of agriculture in various ways. In other words, to farm biodynamically, first you have to think biodynamically.


The different biodynamic preparations
Preparation Contents Mode of Application
500 Cow manure fermented in a cow horn, which is then buried and over-winters in the soil. Sprayed on the soil typically at a rate of 60 g per hectare in 34 litres of water.
501 Ground quartz (silica) mixed with rain water and packed in a cow's horn, buried in spring and then dug up in autumn. Sprayed on the crop plants.