Links on biodynamics and wine-ratings

Just wanted to share a few links I came across recently on the UK Wine Forum.  They are not new articles, but I found them interesting.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will probably find them interesting too, as they cover topics I tend to bang on about, and they support my arguments and views.  But if you are not a regular reader, you could find them as irritating as my blog 🙂

Firstly there is a set of three articles about biodynamics, all of which take a pretty sceptical view.  The first is On Fertile Ground? Objections to Biodynamics, which is a 2006 article from The World of Fine Wine, written by  Jesús Barquín and Douglass Smith.  It is a well-argued and balanced piece, very much in the ponderous style of the magazine.  The second is by the same authors: Biodynamics in the Wine Bottle.  Here they take their gloves off, and get more stuck into a critique of Steiner’s ideas.  Neither does Voodoo on the Vine, by Joe Eskenazi, pull any punches.  These articles, particularly the last two, lay themselves open to the criticism that they are using ridicule as an argument.  But I do not think that is fair – the wacky ideas they mention are not at all taken out of context – dip anywhere into Steiner’s work and wackyness is pretty much all you will find.  I particularly liked the concluding paragraphs of Biodynamics in the Wine Bottle, in which the harm of biodymanics is discussed.  The authors write: Apart from being a waste of time money and effort,

The problem resides in the extension of disbelief in empirical technique, and in substituting for it beliefs in unscientific practices like astrology and homeopathy, as well as voodoo-style rituals and even “geo-acupuncture.”  We must confront this problem, not just as wine lovers and wine writers, but also as citizens who do not wish to live in, nor present to our children, a society in which pseudoscience and esoteric fantasies are considered reality.

The final article I’d like to draw your attention to is A Hint of Hype, A Taste of Illusion, by Leonard Mlodinow.  The strong message I am getting here is not to take anyone’s opinions on a wine too seriously, however expert that person is supposed to be, and even if that person is oneself.  But that does not mean that having a views on a wine is a snobbish affectation, which is perhaps a conclusion many would draw.  Let’s just accept that people’s views on wine differ, and are subject to all sorts of influences.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

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