I’ve sent this letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture requesting that they consider testing Biodynamic farming methods to combat the very destructive European Grapevine moth.

 July 5, 2010

Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture
Mr. A. G. Kawamura
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Secretary Kawamura,

 First let me thank you for the tremendous effort you and your Department have performed for California farmers in general and specifically for your effort to control and eradicate the European Grapevine moth.

 It is to that end that I write you.  Biodynamic viticulture is a method—growing in popularity and controversy—used by many wineries here in California  such as Grgich Hills, Joseph Phelps, Quintessa, Araujo, Benziger, Quivira, as well as many European wineries such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Leflaive, Coulee de Serrant and Zind Humbrecht.    I’m writing to ask if your department would consider testing the Biodynamic protocol that was carefully described in Rudolf Steiner’s 1924 lectures upon which Biodynamics is based.   

 While I’m personally not a fan of Biodynamic farming, I have the utmost respect for the above wineries (and many others) who have wonderful international reputations.  While I’m aware that the following protocol will seem strange, all these wineries are run by professionals.   It’s in that vein that I urge your consideration in this matter.

 I quote from a small section of the Biodynamic protocol for dealing with insects, (he uses nematodes as the example, but the protocol applies to all insects) so that you might have a better understanding of what is expected from the Biodynamic community,  from Lecture six, pages 124-125 AGRICULTURE, by Rudolf Steiner:

        “With the insect you must not take just part of it, as with the mouse, but rather the whole insect… Here you need to burn the whole insect.  Burning it is the best and fastest way to go.   You could also let it decay, but it is difficult to collect the end products of decomposition, although in some ways they might be better.  In any event, you will certainly accomplish your objective by burning the whole insect.    You may need to dry and store the insects, however, since the burning must be done when the Sun is in the sign of the Bull, which is exactly opposite the position Venus must be in when you make the mouse-skin pepper.  The whole insect world is related to the forces that develop as the Sun moves through the Waterman, Fishes, Ram [Bull], Twines, and on into the Crab, although by the time its gets to the Crab, these forces are quite weak, as they also are when it is passing in front of the Waterman.  While the Sun is moving through this part of the heavens, it is radiating forces that have to do with the insect world….”

         “So if you go through with this and make this insect pepper, you can then scatter it over your fields of root crops and the nematodes will gradually become powerless.  After the fourth year you will certainly find that they have become quite powerless.    They cannot survive; they shy away from life if they have to live in soil that has been peppered in this fashion.”

While this protocol seems unorthodox, in 2008 it was reported that there are over 3,500 biodynamic producers in over 40 countries and I believe it would be interesting to a large segment of the farming community to ascertain its efficacy.

 Thank you for your consideration in this matter and I look forward to your response.

 Stuart Smith
Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery


  1. Barry says:

    Excellent Stu!
    I just returned from a biodynamic farm in Austria,
    where we held hands while chanting to the spirits, filled cow horns with shit, buried them and stuffed intestines with chamomile flowers.
    Nice people, although slightly crazy.
    It’s amazing what people will believe.

  2. Ryan says:

    Making insect peppers absolutely work. You see, by the time you have collected and dried enough insects to make enough ash for your vineyard there are no more insects. If it makes you feel spiritually better to ritualistically burn them and return them to the vineyard, by all means go for it, ash is great soil amendment in small quantities. Let those bastard pests know who’s boss. BD rules!

  3. Morton says:

    I wish you had consulted me before sending off that letter. Biodynamics is so yesterday. Hyperdynamics is the future. Obviously you aren’t aware of this progress.

    Hyper-dynamic (or sometimes referred to as wahabi bio-dynamics) is a life force centered phenomenological approach to agriculture that takes up where Rudolf Steiner left off. It integrates Steinerian, Freudian, Reichian, Humanistic and Spiritual theories into its own unique organic model for winegrowing. Hyper-dynamic farming unleashes the latent potential in every grape enabling the underlying character to move more easily towards its natural state. Hyper-dynamicism was founded in Europe, but is rapidly moving to the New World.

    Unlike most scientists who claim they know everything, the hyper-dynamicist maintains an open mind to unseen forces that have alluded, sterile, conventional thinking. The hyper-dynamicist can see the how wrong conventional science has been, and how right hyper-dynamics can be.

    Hyper-dynamics, like bio-dynamics, began with Steiner’s discovery that spirits appear and act as forces that operate on inorganic objects to give them life. It’s generally agreed today that these spirits have three components: plant, animal and human. Many of us have, like Steiner, opened a pathway to other spirits who have ever existed in the past or present universe. We have looked into our own spirit and seen the beings evolving from primitive forms living on the surfaces of the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury.

    But with further reflection and research, the hyperdynamacist sees that life processes are even more complex and illusive. Hyper-dynamic research has proven there are eight basic, significant stages of a vine’s or any plant’s development. These are, in order of evolution: sub-terrainian, oral, anal, phallic, territorial, genital, social and spiritual. The progression through these stages hinges on the successful manipulation of Reich’s libidinal and vegetative streamings; regulating the fluid build-ups in the xylem tissue isolating tense, dry areas of the phloem.

    Hyper-dynamic viticulturists are trained to work with the whole vine using chants, imagery, non-verbal expression and touch, to work with sensitivity at the vine’s own pace, to create a safe environment in which the vine feels able to deal with its life processes. In hyper-dynamic science the viticulturist must constantly insure they are non-judgmental and non-interventional in their approach to farming else the vine may fall short of its potential.

    While the good bio-dynamicist organizes vineyard practices by the phases of the Moon making vines hardier, more disease-resistant, blossoming sooner and bearing more fruit, hyper-dynamics insures the vine is more centered. Like the biodynamicist, the hyper-dynamicist aligns their actions with the natural cycles of the Earth and the Sun. The Sun’s movement around the Earth, which being the center of the Universe, establishes the primary natural cycles with which we’re most familiar. But in hyperdynamics the secondary cycles are of equal importance.

    One must never lose sight of the planets. Many practicers of ordinary bio-dynamicism associate the grape vine with Mars. This is a common mistake and an easy one to make. Martian flowers tend to be a startling red or orange like colorful poppies. The few fruits assigned to this planet can be recognized by their tartness like rhubarb and gooseberries.

    But the hyper-dynamicist knows that grape vines are Saturnic. It is its scary, zig-zag transit across the sky of Saturn that anoints Saturnic plants with their characteristic edginess. In astrology, Saturn signifies mountains and rocks. Plant forms that can take hold in the small crevices of a rock wall or thrive in rock gardens. We see Saturn plants growing in woodlands, arid valleys, high elevations. The grape vine will grow where nothing else will. Like good habits they are difficult to establish, but easy to maintain once they’ve become part of the hyper-dynamic ecology.

    Because it is Man who has been given the unique insight into what is natural and good and, of course, what is artificial and bad; the hyper-dynamicist prefers to keep all vineyard inputs restricted to human sources. This includes composted fertilizer, urine – water and aged bath water spray solutions. Organic cow manure compost may be fine for the strawberry, but the vine reacts in a negative way to its bovine energy.

    At various times, the practice, the trainings, the various university level courses in hyper-dynamics throughout Europe, have varied in their content and their emphasis. At times there has been more emphasis on publicizing the practice than actually practicing the practice. This is to be understood.

    You still have time to consider these relationships on the European grapevine moth.

    • biodynamicshoax says:


      I am humbled by your vast knowledge of the universe; it exposes my ignorance of hyperdynamics – thank you for allowing me to see beyond the curtain and revel in previously unknown truths (to me at least).

      Being that I am new to hyperdynamics and not up on the latest (or is it oldest) knowledge, could you explain why night soil and/or ovulating women were not included in the life processes since these actions are highly influenced by the cosmic forces of our primative three dimensional universe?

      Also, is there anything you can tell us about how the forces of parallel universes and/or the fourth dimension affect plant psychology –Steiner is strangely silent on this subject?

    • Morton says:

      Don’t feel bad Stu, this field is moving fast and I find it hard to keep up myself.

      Night soil and ovulating women should not be confused with the fundamental life processes of plants. The role of the former is to act more as catalysts to those life processes. A warning, night soil and ovulating women should never be present in the vineyard at the same time. Night soil has its place in the anal stage of the vines development particularly if supplemented with psillium fiber. And while ovulating women (and women, in general) should be kept out of the vineyard, their urine can be a powerful stimulant if introduced at the genital stage of the plant’s development.

      Regarding the fourth dimension this is perhaps where Steiner ventured when he gained the insights that have driven his science forward. While many look outside for this dimension, Steiner looked inside and the world has never been the same.

      Regarding parallel universes this has not been discussed enough. Steiner was silent because he was loathe to discuss anything premature to an exhaustive study. Unfortunately, it was work left half done. In parallel to our universe, he did know of the Parkersonian and Laubesonian parallels, though he found them difficult to contemplate and rationalize. Certainly, without Steiner’s insight few if any of us will ever go there.

    • biodynamicshoax says:


      As I’ve now learned hyperdynamics is a conspiracy and I have just three words for you: precious bodily fluids.

  4. JohnLopresti says:

    I wonder how methyl bromide, and now methyl iodide, compare with the ‘pepper(y)’ property described; chemical pesticides, including nematicides, saw widespread after industrial chemistry expansion a few decades after the above excerpt was written. Also in the excerpt are allusions to the progression of months of the year from a lexicon which would be familiar to a listener schooled in classics from Greek and Latin, although the quote’s author’s style is a bit overly imagistic even for farmers in the early 20th century. In this regard, I like to think of wine critic Feiring’s website introductory page’s mention of Chaucer, another, earlier, classicist

    e.g., Chaucer, instead of saying ‘the first week of April’, wrote at the end of the following in poetic style (‘the young sun has run half way thru the sign Aries’):

    “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
    The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
    Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
    Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
    Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
    The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
    Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,”

    [after Bartleby version of prolog of Canterbury Tales

  5. Nick Nakorn says:

    Fabulous Stu, I wonder what they’ll say in reply?

  6. Diego says:

    Huevos. Big, brass huevos rancheros.

    Love it, Stu. Though I doubt you will get a response, due to the controversy of the issue.

  7. Rich Tanguay says:

    Absolutely love this post, Stu! ROFL

  8. Gary says:

    Just keep shining the light of day on it.

  9. Ross Workman says:

    I forwarded this post to Wine Spectator suggesting they print it “as is” to keep their readers apprised of what’s going on.

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