Have you heard of biodynamics? It’s a holistic system of agriculture founded by the brilliant Ruldof Steiner that has taken a hold in the world of vineyard management and wine production. But it has its detractors who find it to be a lot of hooey. Emblematic of that sentiment is the biodyamic practice of burying a cow horn full of dung in the vineyard in order to create a “preparation” that gets diluted in water and sprayed on the vineyard. This is probably where the voodoo comes in.
Fortunately I know Katherine Cole, author of the most intriguing (and intriguingly titled) book, Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers. (You can peruse my extended thoughts about it on Foodista.) And she was recently a guest on my Wine Without Worry podcast, explaining what biodynamics is all about. We also talked about why it has taken such a foothold in Oregon.
But that’s not all! Katherine also provided me with a (verbal) sneak preview of her new book, Complete Wine Selector. Start getting to know wine by the flavors you like, rather than memorizing obscure minutia of wine geography. (Note I am fond of the latter, and I’m sure Katherine is, too. But I’m all for any effort to make the entry into and exploration of the wine world a little more chill.) We even spend some time talking about her app, Oregon Wine, the App. Rather than being based on some wine + Oregon algorithm, Oregon Wine, the App has hand-picked winery recommendations from Katherine. And she’ll help you (via the app) find the right winery for your personality. (Me=aging hipster.)
So you’ve bought Voodoo Vintners, pre-ordered Complete Wine Selector, and downloaded the app? Good. Now don’t forget to keep up with Katherine by reading her column in The Oregonian.
If this episode wasn’t action-packed enough, I also spend some time with Tom Conrad, founder of Treasures of Europe Tours. He’s offering a wine tour of Germany, but rather than Riesling he’s focusing on Pinot Noir. This German Pinot Noir Road Tour (taking place 8/25-9/1) will show you why German Pinot Noir is an under-appreciated gem, producing wines that are “soulful, with a lot of charm”. (Well-stated, Tom.) It’s a chance to pull back the vines (literally and metaphorically) to understand German food, culture, geography, and wine. (You can also check out Treasures of Europe Tours on Facebook and Twitter.)
Voodoo shop photo courtesy pir8ess.