Biodynamic certification | In wine-growing as in other commercial arenas Biodynamic certification is conducted by one of three organizations, the oldest of which is Demeter, founded in 1924. Demeter certifies many crops other than wine. Wine-only organisations with their own Biodynamic rulebooks include the France-based SIVCBD (‘Biodyvin’) and the Austria-based respekt-BIODYN. For the avoidance of doubt, organic certification is a pre-requisite for any form of Biodynamic certification, whether from Demeter, the SIVCBD or respekt-BIODYN. Biodynamic certification is a private standard (set of rules) whereas organic certification standards are national standards regulated by single governments or pan-nationally in the case of the European Union for example (since 1992). Before then organic farmers were often small-scale, independent growers selling locally as ‘organic’ on trust, based on a direct relationship between farmer and consumer. Critics see regulatory certification as a potential barrier to entry for small producers who are less able to carry the burden of increased costs, paperwork, and bureaucracy.

Pros & cons | Dr Andrew Lorand told me (perso comm): ‘Get certified if and when you are really ready in terms of farming practice (see the list of requirements first) and then even, if it really makes sense from a marketing point of view. In North America at least, the relationship with the consumer, the direct relationship, is increasingly of significance, rather than the third party certification. This is not to say that certification is “bad.” It is saying, however, that the direct, human, personal relationship with customers, buyers, distributors, etc. and one’s personal reputation for quality is more important now and will be increasingly over time. Certification, is in effect a bridge and a place holder for this more personal relationship – but should not disable or hinder the personal relationship. This is the danger of all certification schemes.’

Bibliography

Biodynamic Wine (Infinite Ideas, 2016).