First biodynamic vineyard ‘from inception’ earns certification
Pyramid Valley Vineyards in North Canterbury was the first vineyard in New Zealand and one of only a few in the world, to be established from the outset under the most stringent biodynamic principles, and now 10 years later, it has earned Demeter certification.
“Most producers establish their vineyards conventionally and then convert to organics and biodynamics over time due to the difficulty in vine establishment and the cost to do this biodynamically,” says Caine Thompson, Pyramid Valley Vineyards Managing Director.
“Consequently, Pyramid Valley is one of the most unique vineyards in the world where no systemic chemicals have ever been used.”
In a quest to link this feat into the wine world market, Pyramid Valley Vineyards has achieved Demeter certification for biodynamic farming for wine grape production. The North Canterbury vineyard becomes one of few Kiwi producers to be Demeter accredited and join such peers as Felton Road, Seresin, Milton and Quartz Reef in achieving this honour.
“We’re finding that customers are starting to ask for certification. There is a huge awareness now that there never used to be, so it was a logical step,” says Thompson.
Demeter is the world’s leading biodynamic certifier and maintains strict protocol for ensuring all rules and regulations are diligently followed.
“This makes it one of the toughest accreditations in the world of wine to achieve,” says Thompson.
Biodynamics is an extension of organics that was first introduced in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, through a series of lectures on agriculture. He saw the effect modern agriculture was having on soil health and advocated for the use of certain preparations and techniques and their interactions so these could work in harmony to improve soil health and revive the land.
Having managed organic vineyards around New Zealand, Thompson believes biodynamic farming provides an additional level of energy that can’t be seen, sensed or felt in conventional vineyards. “There is no doubt in my mind that this energy and purity is converted from soil to the grape and finally into the bottle.”
Mike and Claudia Weersing established Pyramid Valley in 2000 and, based on experience in Europe, felt there was no other way to grow grapes than biodynamically.
“It just made sense in my mind, and from what I saw in the great vineyards of Burgundy and Alsace, to farm biodynamically as soon as possible, without compromise,” says Weersing.
“We’re super committed to producing wine with as little as possible artificial input. Our wines are therefore unfined, unfiltered with little or no sulphur ever added, with zero chemical residues, which makes Pyramid Valley one of the world’s most purist wine producers.