I like to think of vineyard treatments as messages that we send to the vines. Biodynamic agriculture itself limits the use of minerals such as copper or sulfur enormously compared to conventional agriculture: possibly to a tenth of it. Conventional winegrowers sometimes speak of “cannon shots” when they throw in a good amount of sulfur or copper, or any of the systemic or penetrating products – systemic products are so named because the product enters the plant’s system; that is to say, by his veins; and evidently passes to its fruit.
In biodynamics, all systemic or penetrating products, all poisons, herbicides or pesticides are prohibited. Only small amounts of copper and sulfur are used –always in mineral solutions that do not penetrate the plant or its system-, in addition to infusions and plant slurry, and other elements, such as clay, basalt. But possibly in such a small quantity, that for a conventional farmer it can make him think that it is useless. And yet it does. The messages serve and it reaches the plant –which is intelligent, and it receives them-. Of course: you have to apply them at the time and with the right conditions.
First of all, the conditions of the soils where the vineyards are located must be considered. In biodynamics it is common to say that plant diseases are an imbalance of the soil. For this reason, it is necessary to work well the soils, the albariza lands of the vineyards: using compost of good quality and good origin, not rotating the land, without the use of herbicides or pesticides, without the use of chemical fertilizers, with good management of the vegetation cover, with a good management of the work, etc. These actions will generate a living and balanced soil for us, which is the first step so that the vines are perceptive to our messages.
Second, the environmental conditions. In our region, rain is not common in the periods of greatest illness. However, there are very different humidity conditions, mainly due to the winds: from the west and from the east. Each of them offers a “stress” to the plant. The west, despite being humid, dries up the plant; and the Levante, despite being dry and warm, softens the plant. Our messages are therefore aimed at balancing these external inputs. Applied at the right times and in the ideal conditions (no wind, no humidity on the leaves, with good dispersion) small amounts of copper or sulfur (<150gr / h) are sufficient. In addition to complementing them with infusions of horsetail, nettle or yarrow.
In biodynamics, a beautiful relationship is conceived between the winegrower and the plants. That is why our presence in the vineyard is so important. Let’s say plants are sensitive to our vibrations, and of course, to our messages.