July 20 2010
Part of the beauty of the wine world is its gentle nature, which is good because the storylines move at a pace more aligned with the rhythms of nature instead of a 24-hour news cycle and not only that but the stories don’t change that often, except when they should.
Frankly, I am ready for the story on Biodynamic wine to change. If it were a TV channel, I would have long ago surfed past – and not for reasons of interest in the story itself, it has more to do with the fact that the rancor around BioD is starting to resemble our partisan political climate, including the absence of reason.
Give me a lament about wine media, wine critics, the 100 point system, New World vs. Old World, high alcohol, the three tier system, and any number of other issues that dominate a reasonably staid wine conversational climate and I can drink it all in inexhaustibly. These issues are a part of the wine world’s rich pageant and all reasonably benign. After all, most of what passes for controversy in the world of wine is a gentle disagreement along differing points of view and no more dangerous than a high school debate match.
I kind of like it like that, too.
Even Randy Dunn’s Molotov cocktail against high alcohol wines three summers ago was met with interest, but also a, “Yup, he has an opinion and he’s entitled to it” sensibility, not necessarily fawning nor fanning the flames.
Within the context of these issues that bubble, but never really reach a flashpoint, I think most wine insiders and hardcore enthusiasts take a measure of solace in the pace of the wine world, an anchor in a sea of continual change.
However, one wine topic is taking on an escalated level of verbal vengeance: Biodynamics.
By now, I think most seasoned wine enthusiasts are not only familiar with BioD, but they’ve formed an opinion on it. If you are like me, you take BioD for what it is – a belief system, nothing more and nothing less. Maybe you agree with it, maybe you don’t, but it’s like walking down a New York City sidewalk and accepting an “All God’s Creatures” point of view, instead of living like Travis Bickle.
Yet, read the comments to any article or blog post discussing Biodynamics and you will inevitably see a comment denouncing Biodynamics as the work of hucksters, crackpots and loonies.
What happened to reasonable people being able to respect differing belief systems—particularly when there is no right or wrong answer?
In a world that is striations of gray, people want to reduce the Biodynamic argument into simple black and white terms. Biodynamics is a Hoax. Biodynamics is perpetuating a fraud. Rudolf Steiner made this shit up.
Okay. Maybe so. But, what if biodynamics is not a fraud?
What if the health care bill actually ends up being a good thing, protecting the uninsured while bringing a check and balance against healthcare insurers run amuck?
What if Santa Claus is real for six year olds and he brings out the spirit of Christmas for 60 year olds?
You know, I’ve never seen a ghost, but that doesn’t mean I dismiss claims from those who have.
Yet, this is where we’re going with BioDynamics. Right or Wrong. Black or white. Right vs. Left.
It’s all very unseemly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good argument, but Biodynamics is still so very early in its formation in our wine consciousness that I worry that the vigorous side-taking that goes on today can only lead to a divisive polarization in our little segment of the world, that, yes, acts as an anchor in a sea of change. Excuse me if I’m not anxious for name-calling politics to enter my sanctuary.