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If the latter is true, read on and follow these links pertaining to biodynamic agriculture, vitalism and Demeter International and then get back to me. Two days ago, my fellow co-workers and I were fortunate enough to have someone explain it all-- or, at least his application of biodynamism-- to us. I muttered something about how it renders one stupid and causes one to sleep with people one might otherwise regret sleeping with sober. "Wine is a high energy substance, it changes the spirit of the room as soon as the bottle is opened.
Fresh from his stint as cover model for next week's Wine Spectator, Mike Benziger took some time out to both explain his biodynamic approach to winemaking and to let us taste the results-- his 2004 vintage Tribute. Wine connects us to the sun, to the earth and to each other."In two sentences, Benziger encapsulated what I belive to be essence of biodynamic winemaking, in as much as I can gather.
This, of course, is a dictum impossible to follow since agriculture is essentially a system created by man to exploit and propagate that nature which serves him best and eliminate--or at least exclude-- that which does not.
"Sheep are a great viticultural tool." quipped Benziger, "They do three things for us: they eat, shit and turn the soil with their hooves." Who needs a tractor? Biodynamic regulations, as laid down by Demeter International, also dictate that no yeast or malolactic bacteria may be added to the wine though sulpher dioxide is allowed.
I find it reassuring to me to see the French senses humor and creativity so alive and well.
Of course, such laws also illustrate an equally French no non-sense approach to what fuels these qualities-- wine. Biodynamism was, we thought, similar to organic winemaking, only more hippie-like. It might be hippie-like, but it is definitely worth taking seriously.
You are, at this point, either yawning or scratching your head.
If the former is the case, go get yourself a coffee and come back when your caffeine has kicked in. One, with a slight bow to irony, not easily digested.
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Over the years, Benziger has recognized thirty-one distinct microclimates within that circle-- each contributing it's own particular qualities to the final blend of his wine.