Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts

03 April 2020

Film review: L'Esprit du vin (2011) by Olympe and Yvon Minvielle **

Synopsys

A film sponsored by Château Lagarette, a biodynamic producer in Bordeaux.

A dozen or so biodynamic wine-growers express their vision of the present and make proposals for the future.

They ask eminently social and even political questions: What food? How Could humanity restore the ideal of living together?

Through their stories, practices, and the accumulation of knowledge from their experiences, the producers of the film and a group of farmers, biodynamic wine-growers, try to open a path. They want to show how the spirit of bio-dynamics could provide answers to these questions.



Review

This film is an all-out passionate defense of biodynamic viticulture. I say defense because most of the interviewees talk as if they are under siege, as if the evil forces of modernity are out to extinguish the feeble flame of tradition. No alternative point of view is presented in the film. If you want to hear alternative voices, skeptical or critical of biodynamic wine, you have to look elsewhere.

Clearly, the growers interviewed are very passionate about their wine, but often they get carried away. Just a few pearls from their statements. A basic theme of the film is a high level of hostility toward "technology": there is "technological" wine, which is artificial and then there is biodynamic wine, which is natural. Oddly, little attention is paid to organic wines, although biodynamic certification requires a wine to be organic to begin with.

A couple of speakers identify "technological" wines as the result of American influence and specifically the work of Robert Parker, while, on the contrary, "Europe" is the custodian of genuine winemaking. Well, Parker has nothing against biodynamic wines and actually promotes it. And, of course, there are lots of American biodynamic producers and in fact the USA is the biggest biodynamic farming producer in the world.

One speaker argues that biodynamic vineyards are better equipped to resist the negative radioactive impact of Chernobyl, thus lumping together as if it was a dogmatic truth a whole host of questionable assumptions.

A major problem for me is when, as several speakers repeat in this film, the argument is put forward that what is important in biodynamic wine is NOT the result, but the relationship between man and nature, a new philosophy of daily life. Assuming the latter is somehow better served in biodynamic farming, for me the end result, ie good and healthy wine, IS WHAT MATTERS.

Technology, a word that is often repeated with a grimace by many interviewees, destroys the relationship man and nature, farmer and vineyard. Biodynamic preparations restore the correct energy flows! A corollary of this argument is the open hostility of one speaker to established wine associations such as the Masters of Wine. In his view, these associations have been created to serve technology against the natural traditions of wine.

One speaker is very honest when he says biodynamic farming is like a religion: you can not demonstrate it, you can only believe it. Another one compares it to acupuncture: not scientifically proven, but many believe it anyway. Not surprising that biodynamic farmers also accept homeopathic principles, as they use extremely diluted solutions in some of their preparations.

A quirky claim toward the end of the film is that biodynamic wine is especially appreciated by women! Maybe so, as a woman grower claims to have produced a "concert wine" in her biodynamic vineyard because both wine and music share a spirituality for people to appreciate.

If you already believe in biodynamic farming this film will make you feel really good. If you are trying to understand more, it will give you only half the picture.

For a wise and cool view of the subject, read Jancis Robinson, one of the world's most respected authorities.

You can watch the film reviewed here on Youtube.

You can buy the DVD (in French as well as English) here on Amazon. Hard to come by and very expensive, however!





19 August 2010

8° g - 19 Ago: Nako: gompa e raccolta di piselli

Giornata in giro per il paese di Nako e dintorni. Appena usciti dal campo tendato incontriamo Sebastien, un francese, con la moglie americana e due figlie di nove e 2 anni. Stanno girando lo Spiti ed il Kinnaur come noi, stesso itinerario, solo qualche giorno in più per completarlo. Viaggiano leggeri, molto meno bagaglio di noi. Anche perché... sono in bicicletta! Sebastien traina una specie di rimorchio con la piccola dentro, riparata da una tendina per la pioggia. Moglie e figlia grande con la loro bici. Ammirevoli, anzi direi un po' al limite dell'incoscienza come vedremo qualche giorno dopo quando li incontreremo durante uno scroscio monsonico col fango fino agli assi delle ruote...

20 August 2007

16° g - 20 AGO: addio Esi 'o Ma 'afu e trasferimento a Sandy Beach (Foa)

Mattinata ancora a zonzo per l’isola. Ripassiamo dalla nostra signora maestra del minimarket e riprenotiamo le nostre bibite fredde! Coca Cola, Fanta ecc fatte a Figi. Ci fermiamo a chiacchierare con una famiglia che sta per strada davanti a casa, ci raccontano delle loro terre. Qui le terre appartengono alle famiglie nobili che spesso non vivono sull’isola ma a Nuku’alofa (il nome vuol dire “luogo dell’amore”). Bel nome però...

03 September 2005

16° g - 3 Sett: Stone Town – tour spezie – Nungwi

Lasciamo ST con un bus fornito da Viviana e ci dirigiamo a nord verso Nungwi. Sulla strada sosta per una visita ad una piantagione di spezie, dove un ragazzo del posto ci fa da guida in discreto italiano.

11 July 2005

Book Review/Recensione: Ancient Futures, Learning from Ladakh, by Helena Norberg-Hodge, ***

Recensione in italiano alla fine di questo post

Synopsis

The swiftly evolving socioeconomic life of Ladakh, whose people struggle to balance growth and technology with cultural values, offers crucial lessons in sustainable development. This gripping portrait of the western Himalayan land known as “Little Tibet” moves from the author’s first visit to idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, tracking profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western goods and technologies, and pressures for economic growth.