It's the Summer Solstice! The longest day of the year and - although they may not be Druids - strange as it may seem the position of the moon and stars, and the effects of buried cow horns, is taken seriously by a large part of the wine industry in crafting their wines.
Based on the teachings of Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic viticulture uses 'preparations' (complex herbal sprays and composting techniques) and times vineyard operations according to the celestial spheres to improve the quality of wine produced. This is because it involves a holistic approach which views the vineyard as a living system, affected by 'formative' forces which need to be kept in balance.
In fact biodynamic wines represent the gold standard of organic wines and require certification from the 'Demeter' organisation (which actually pre-dates other forms of organic farming, having been created way back in 1924) which is acquired by many premium quality wineries worldwide.
Following analysis by leading soil microbiologists, perhaps surprisingly the scientific evidence is that burying cow horns full of manure at the autumn equinox and digging them up again at the spring equinox really does have beneficial effects on the soil.
Exactly how biodynamics produces these benefits is not yet known - it is not really necessary to accept Steiner's anthroposophical (spiritual science) explanation - and perhaps further research will uncover an explanation in terms of conventional science. But it is undeniable that benefits do result from a biodynamic approach, purely on the evidence of the wine it produces.
Of those at The Calais Wine Superstore, certain wines sometimes stocked from the estates of Gérard Bertrand in South West France have been produced by the biodynamic method - look out for more to come!