The world is full of anecdotal accounts, offered up as proof, for what people think they know to be true.  For most, there is no real knowing if these beliefs are causal or incidental.  A very simple for instance–while it’s true that every person who eats carrots today will die, eating carrots will not be the reason that those folks  die.  Hopefully most of these carrot eaters will live long into the future, but the causation of death will  likely be the normal ones, such as cancer, heart failure, accident, etc.

 With this in mind, there are many wonderful wines from world famous estates which are biodynamically farmed, but so what! It means absolutely nothing to this discussion unless you can prove a causal relationship between Biodynamic farming and wine quality. I believe that any relationship between biodynamic practices and wine quality is incidental at best, anecdotal claims by their followers to the contrary.  

 There are wineries that make great wines that are Biodynamically farmed and there are wineries that make great wines that non-Biodynamically farmed.   Great wines have been around for hundreds of years, whereas biodynamically farmed vineyards are relatively recent.  It’s not only possible, but likely, that vineyards producing great wines in the past will continue to produce great wines into the future whether they are biodynamically farmed or not.   The defining element (causation) is not whether the vineyard is biodynamically farmed or not, but whether the vineyard is located on the right soils, has the right exposure, the right micro-climate and is grown by a competent and caring farmer.

 As we’ve seen with the recent political campaigns, people make all sorts of assertions with little or no connection to the truth and Biodynamics is no different.  Where are the controlled studies that limit soil, vine health and wine analysis to only the biodynamic paradigm?  Are there good isolating controls established, are variables accounted for, is organic, sustainable and traditional also being tested under the exact same controls and are the trials results replicable in other regions and climates and are the results the same or do they differ?  Lastly, will the experiments and test results stand up to peer review?  

 I have seen nothing from the biodynamic community offering any proof for their outlandish claims of superiority. Until such rigorous studies are completed and I am proven wrong, I will continue in my belief that Rudolf Steiner was a fraud and Biodynamics is a hoax. 

Stuart Smith


  1. Hans n. Poket says:

    Hi Stu,

    In order to do a true double blind test of Biodynamics, I suggest that any ” preparation” be made by a third party, and that all of the preparations be made incorrectly for certain test plots. Then we decide which plots are superior. Then we find out which are Biodynamic and which are not. That way, no one knows which vineyard is getting the Biodynanic treatment.

    Otherwise, the experiment is faulty.

    But from what we know of Steiner and how he arrived at the Agricultural Lectures, we know he just made everything up from thin air based on his faulty knowledge or complete lack of knowledge on what he spoke.

    Why do people ignore the silly things in the Agricultural Lectures such as when Steiner says tomatoes make cancer worse. Should we test that too? Actually, that may have already been tested and proven false.

    • biodynamicshoax says:


      Couldn’t agree with you more, and I hope with this blog and help from folks like you we can provide an alternative view to Biodyanmics.

  2. biodynamicshoax says:


    While I’m not qualified to design such a study, I do think it would be complicated. For instance, I believe that both organic and biodynamic farming have a certain lead-in time before either is officially recognized, and I think there is also some minimal distance separating farms – would this have to be observed for the trial or could a shortened time line be permitted – don’ know. I would think that there should be similar vineyard replications in other areas and that’s just for grape side of things. Add on the wine component variables and you’ve got more complication. All that said, it would be great if the funding could be found.

  3. tom merle says:

    While as you stated in the initial thread, you won’t be the guy to conduct the experiment, shouldn’t it be relatively easy to determine the merit or not of BioD when it comes to improving the “appeal” of a the WINE (realizing this begs the question a bit) using the scientific method?

    Putting aside the affects on the environment, couldn’t an experiment that is then replicated isolate dependent and independent variables so that you control just for the BioD factors involved. Couldn’t you find adjacent plots that possess the same terroir with some very low margin of error, and then compare the outcome, just as we do with studies in medicine.

    The wine produced in the experiment would involve blind tastings by a variety of wine drinkers to see what emerges. This is a project for one of the universities.

  4. Diego says:


    I’m a huge proponent of sustainable winegrape growing, and a grower myself. I too am flabbergasted by the claims made by BD farming, most of which are completely contrary to both science and common sense.

    Thank you for your blog and keep at it!

  5. Amber says:

    This post strays a tad on the non sequitur side. What makes “the right soils”? What makes someone a competent and caring farmer? Very few of those elements fall into place by sheer random luck. More often then not, there is work and effort involved. That “activeness” is at the very root of the verb ‘farming’ and, yes, that is a direct causation.

    Are the “right soils” ones that are dependent on constant amendments, the fertilization and nutrient additions that coax it to provide for the vine? Or are they ones with healthy and vibrant soil food webs where micro-organisms such as bacteria and mycorrhizae fungi function to metabolize NPK and other nutrients in self-sustaining systems that act like tiny little fertilizer packets, time released as these microbes die.

    It is a sort of “fast food” vs “slow food” dynamic where in one case we encourage lazy vines that wait for the fast food “take out” of fertilizers to be delivered versus one where nature essentially provides its own “drip fertilization”, one microscopic organism at a time.

    My point is that the right conditions don’t happen by sheer random chance. There is an active element involved and it is ALWAYS worth looking into that element.

    Do you have to buy the BD belief that “Valerian’s phosphorus components allow it to attract astrality, notably via the plant’s affinity with Saturn” which supposedly intensifies the warmth of the compost pile? (Monty Waldin) Of course not.

    But I would be curious as to what a microbiologist would say about the type of microbes that are attracted to compounds in decomposing valerian which then interact with all the other microbes in the compost pile. After all, billions of years of evolution has developed countless millions of micro-organisms to decompose and recycle organic matter–stuff like plants, animal organs and even us.

    Maybe, just maybe, some of these “nature’s recyclers” offer enough benefit in our vineyards that they do encourage healthier vines and better grapes. It is only an anecdote until we actually look into it.

  6. Tim says:


    I thought after drinking your Rieslings and Cabs I couldn’t possibly repsect you more. This blog has proven me wrong. I love the blog and look forward to future posts.

    My own take on biodynamics is that to the extent such farming practices yield mesuarably superior wines it is only due to increased time in and attention to a given vineyard, relative to prior levels of time and attention. It seems that if you are spedning a lot of time in the vines because of biodynamics or any other reason, there is a better chance you are able to produce better grapes than if you had not been out there. The buried ram’s horn and lunar cycles is all b.s. Does that make sense? Am I even close?

    BTW, I visited your winery in April 2006 with an industry friend and have been collecting ever since. What a remarkable place, remarkable wines, and, now, a remarkable blog.

    Well done.

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