Join Jennifer Harrison on a visit to the Benziger vineyard and learn how grapes are grown there according to the biodynamic method.
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Growing Grapes in the Biodynamic Method Its dawn and it’s the last day of harvest at Benzeger family winery. Like Benzeger is out here like he usually is connecting to the land he loves. Born and raised in New York, Mike had never been west of Pennsylvania but he and his girlfriend wanted to ski and surf in the golden state of this calendar name. Skiing and surfing never happened, but faith did, needing money Mike had a job at a wine store, fell in love with the business and he now and wife Mary discovered this property and wanted Mom, Dad and six younger siblings to head out west. That was 30-years ago, still owned and operated by the family, Benzeger has grown into an industry leader growing grapes and now going green by farming holistic with something called bio dynamics. To keep that from happening, 14 family members trekked all the way to Europe where biodynamic methods are more common. Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner developed the method in the 1920’s, here’s how it works. Using no artificial pesticides or chemicals, it treats a farm as an independent sustainable ecosystem that then protects property. Animals graze for weed control, water is recycled on site, growing and harvesting is even sometimes done on the lunar calendar and nature rules supreme. The earth, not the wine maker puts a flavor stamp on the wine. Benzeger was the first vineyard in Napa to earn the strict certification for biodynamic practices. Wine maker Rodrigo Sodow helped start the process. And what they were doing was suddenly brining life back to the layout, bringing back butterflies and bees and the buzz of a different kind. A world that for the New York Benzeger family means wine making in the west and preserving the precious property that started it all.