At this year’s edition of FENAVIN Paloma Escribano, of the winery Bodegas Valsardo and Ricardo Pérez Palacios, of the winery Descendientes de J. Palacios, will be explaining all the keys relative to producing “true wine” by duly respecting the rhythms of the land
This year at FENAVIN 2011 two of the greatest representatives involved in the production of biodynamic wines in Spain, Paloma Escribano Sáez, founder of the winery Bodegas Valsardo de Peñafiel and Ricardo Pérez Palacios, co-founder with his uncle, Álvaro Palacios, of the winery Descendientes de J. Palacios in El Bierzo, will be revealing the characteristics of biodynamic agriculture and the benefits of these wines during the technical session Biodynamic Wines: Reality or Fiction?
Parting as they do from two different points of view, one representing maturity and experience, Paloma Escribano, the first woman dedicated to wine production in Ribera del Duero and the other representing the entrepreneur spirit of youth, Ricardo Pérez Palacios, the two representatives will be thoroughly analyzing the advantages of using these age-old crop growing practices that result in wines of great purity, with exceptional qualities and that on their very own are a reflection of the terroir from where they arise.
The principles of biodynamic agriculture stem from the conferences given by the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner during the second half of the 20th century. Rudolph Steiner was the founder of anthroposophy and of a holistic conception of life that encompasses other disciplines such as medicine, food and spirituality, among others. The central concept of these conferences focused on the farm as an organism that is self-sufficient. The philosophy also includes temporary activities such as planting based on the patterns of the moon's and the planets' movements and on applying a series of 'preparations' to the soil - natural materials processed in a specific way.
Currently one of the leading personalities of the international biodynamic movement is Nicolas Joly, French vine grower in the region of the Loire. In his opinion the world's wines can be divided into two types: true wine, which reflects the "peculiarity of the terroir in the wine glass" and industrial wine, in which chemical products are used in its production.
Paloma Escribano Sáez, who is a follower of this philosophy, started her viticulture trajectory in the year 1985, greatly supported by her family's experience and by the farm laborers of Castilla y Leon and of Penedés. These country folk represented open books that passed on all their wisdom and experience and who were guided by the moon in that pertaining to their work in the vineyards. Biodynamics is no new discovery for Paloma, as it simply represents returning to the traditional way in which vineyards were tended and wines were fermented, the same way things were done before the industrial revolution and before the use of herbicides, pesticides and nitrates... However, this does not entail ignoring the new technologies and the advances made in research and development in Valsardo since its very beginnings, duly incorporating technological innovation to the artisan tradition. Thanks to these procedures they have been able to prove that it is indeed possible to make genuine, excellent and healthy wines, without depending on their passage through the cooling cycle, without clarification and without filtering, bottled right on the vine, hence their strength. In Valsardo they simply let wine be wine.
Descendant from a lineage of wine makers, Ricardo Pérez Palacios' interest was awakened by the subjects covered in his enology studies on biodynamic agriculture in Bordeaux, which he later put into practice when in the year 1999 he co-founded the winery Descendientes de J. Palacios in El Bierzo with his uncle, Álvaro Palacios. He considers his land to be exceptional, finding that it has always been easy to adapt the precepts of biodynamics due to the traditional natural and multi-crop farming structure of his family.
Pérez Palacios considers that soil is a live organism and he wagers on exclusively using natural fertilizers and mineral, vegetable and animal based treatments, never on chemical synthesis. He understands this type of wine production from a very human perspective in which man is the integrator of a holistic farming system- the land, the animals, the plants, the cosmos, the natural cycles, etc. It is by way of a natural treatment of the soil, respectful cultivation of the vineyard using certain areas of farm land (caballerías) and painstaking traditional elaboration free of any type of additives, merely a minimum amount of sulfur, that the purest wines are obtained, which reflect their origin, their terroir, in short, the classic concept of what a denomination of origin truly is. His wines are the best example of his winemaking philosophy, a return to the fields and popular wisdom.