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Santa Duc in the rhythm of #biodynamics

An interview with Benjamin Gras

How long have you been interested in biodynamics?

BG: “For many years. I have heard and read a lot about biodynamic agriculture, scientific as well as philosophical books and articles. Since I am rather Cartesian, some scientific articles comparing biological and biodynamic agriculture have helped me greatly in my decision. Biodynamics is still struggling against a rather esoteric image painted by some people. But it is, above all, an agricultural method which is based primarily on observations in the vineyard, taking into account all the factors of the environment which may influence the plants.”

Benjamin Gras - Domaine Santa Duc

What was the trigger for you?

BG: “The experience of many other winemakers who have achieved incredible results with biodynamics. My internship at the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which applies the principles of biodynamics, was also a decisive factor. You know, in Burgundy the farmers look back on a long wine-making tradition and in the vineyards nothing is superfluous. Nevertheless, many winemakers are applying biodynamic principles. Since that experience, I have always said I would introduce biodynamics on my return to our vineyards.”

After many years of organic viticulture, what changes do you expect from biodynamics?

BG: “Since he took over the estate in 1985, my father Yves decided to go for organic farming, a long time before it became popular. We have always felt connected to the terroir and thus preserve it. The introduction of biodynamic agriculture is just another logical step in our work to revive the ecosystem of our soils, but also to strengthen the immune system of the plants. The vines learn to cope with parasites and diseases, rather than relying on molecules and pharmaceuticals. The secret of great wines lies in the soil. And vines that stand in line with their terroir produce balanced grapes and harmonious wine. In the cellar, we hardly need to intervene.”

How and where did you learn to understand biodynamics?

BG: “From books, conversations and internships ... And we work with Dominique Massenot, a consultant specializing in biodynamics, with whom we take all major decisions. Our cooperation is very satisfying, he is a reserved person who never neglects other agronomic aspects.”

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