Offering the counterpoint to last week’s discussion of Biodynamic viticulture with consultant Alan York, we continue the coverage of Biodynamics by talking to its most vocal critic in the U.S.: Smith-Madrone’s Stu Smith, who, aside from making some very tasty conventionally-farmed wines in Northern CA, is the author of the controversial blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax – the title of which pretty much tells you where Stu stands when it comes to the debate on BioD.
In our podcast interview, Stu braves being under-the-weather to talk about why he felt the need to create his anti-BioD blog, explain why BioD might not be as beneficial to the environment as you might think, all while we alternatively compare Biodynamics to religion, the autism / child vaccination debate, and the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars (roughly in that order).
It’s a fun and controversial listen, and I hope to discuss and debate several aspects of it with you all in the comments. Get those headphones ready and Buckle up for this ride!
1WineDude Radio Episode 5: Stu Smith Talks Biodynamics
In the latest podcast installment here on 1WineDude.com, I interview Alan York, an international consultant on Biodynamic viticulture and farming, who I met last year when visiting Benziger (one of Alan’s clients).
Alan is probably best known as the consultant who is overseeing the Biodynamics conversion of mega rock star Sting’s vineyard area in Tuscany.
Despite being fully immersed into the world of Biodynamics, Alan has a pretty laid-back, live-and-let-live approach to BioD farming in general. Except when it comes to talking about all-out attacks on BioD, particularly winemaker Stu Smith’s blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax.
Alan talks to me about his work with Sting, his views on the differences between Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed wines, how to explain Biodynamics to the layperson, and explains why he’s flummoxed that Biodynamics would come under attack in the first place (though he certainly acknowledges its inherent strangeness).
It should be another fun opportunity to discuss an always hot-button, powder-keg topic on the virtual pages of 1WD.
Next week… I interview Stu Smith himself to get the opposing viewpoint. Stay tuned…
1WineDude Radio: International Consultant Alan York Talks Biodynamics
Like most of you wine lovers out there, I’ve got an odd relationship with Biodynamic viticulture. What I mean is, I know what I think about Biodynamics – and that is, I’ve got no idea what to think about it.
On the one hand, I’ve tasted vibrant, stellar wines from grapes that were farmed Biodynamically. On the other, I personally have trouble believing anything from a guy who once said that the race of people from the lost city of Atlantis could fly using the power of burned seeds. That guy, of course, is Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher who invented the concept of Biodynamic farming. And, yes, he actually did say the thing about the Atlantean seed-powered hovercrafts.
So, I’ve decided to devote the next two Tuesday articles on 1WineDude.com to the topic – specifically, interviewing (as part of my 1WineDude Radio podcast series) two of the leading U.S. figures when it comes to BioD, both of whom are widely respected but sit on complete opposite sides of the BioD fence:
I’ll follow up with a wrap-up of impressions from YOU, the 1WD readers (with a few of my own sprinkled in). Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on BioD, BiodynamicsIsAHoax.com, Rudolph Steiner (or the Pittsburgh Steelers, or whatever)!
Hang onto your farming hats, it’s gonna be an interesting (and probably rather bumpy) ride…!
In the (second to be recorded but third to be released) installment of my podcast thang, I interview Grammy-winning and platinum-album-selling artist Maynard James Keenan – who most will identify as the front man for TOOL, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, but wine geeks will also know as the founder and fledgling winemaker of Arizona’s Caduceus Cellars.
Maynard’s entry into the wine world was the focus of the film Blood Into Wine, and my personal take is that he’s onto something in AZ – and is not without talent in the winemaking department.
He’s also not without a sense of dedication, and certainly not afraid of learning things the hard way – that’s an aspect of his personality that comes through crystal clear in the course of this interview.
One could certainly be forgiven, after listening to this podcast, for developing the impression that Maynard is pretty (maybe too?) low-key for a rock star front man; but there’s no way you’re going to think his winemaking career is a superficial attempt to slap his name on a vanity project. If you’re a betting person, you’d best bet that Maynard is in the wine biz for the long haul – and while he may be a famous hard-rock icon, he views his early attempts at winemaking as a passionate and humble beginner.
Having said that… he’s at no shortage of strong opinions about how wine should be made!
Cheers, and enjoy!
1WineDude Radio: The Maynard James Keenan Interview