• Viviane Karch

Biodynamic Preps while the Grape Vines are Sleeping

Updated: May 30, 2020

It was already autumn going on winter when I arrived back in the vineyard in Vista Flores, Mendoza and I was surprised at how the vines were naked and stripped from their juicy grapes after the harvest. The green leaves of the trees changed their colors into yellow and red hues and I needed a warmer jacket to keep me cosy than two months ago during full bloom.

As the vineyard is fully Demeter certified, there were two biodynamic preparations (BD preps) that had to be realized; the preparation 500 which is the cornerstone of biodynamic farming where cow manure is inserted in cow horns and buried for a few months before it ferments and is sprayed on the soil in spring and the preparation 503 where chamomile is stuffed into cow intestines and also buried to energize over the next few months and then used as a homeopathic fertilizer.

These treatments enhance and nurture the soil so that the grapevine can grow healthy with a boosted immune system and furthermore help the plant to absorb one of the most important nutrients: Nitrogen.

As I started to fill the guts with chamomile dissolved in warm water, I guess my Swiss-Polish background was useful as I turned out to be very talented at making “biodynamic sausages”. Filling the horns with cow manure took some getting used to but if the plants need it to grow healthy it is surprising how far one will go and get their hands dirty – literally.

With a hard-working spirit, it was fun to get the BD preps ready and when it was time to bury them I was very excited and started shoveling enthusiastically. The horns and chamomile-filled intestines would now be left in the ground and energize over the course of the winter before being applied like a spray to promote a rich soil, making the plants stronger and protecting them from disease and bugs.

There is something calming and a feeling of being connected to nature and the universe when doing the BD preps, especially bearing in mind that later they will serve as natural plant food for the grapevines and ultimately make the wine we drink more delicious. Wine, to be enjoyed with mouth-watering dishes and feel like there is a very sincere expression of terroir and a unique taste as they haven’t been manipulated with through chemical treatments and are very palatable. As the sun started to set behind the snowy Andes mountains I couldn’t help but thinking to myself “how beautiful is nature and how wonderful is it to support it in any way I possibly can.”

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