To determine if cosmic energy affects wine quality we would first need to define 'energy' and 'quality'. Then we would have to answer the question "Is quality quantifiable at all?". This brief post addresses some unique activities that surround the handling of wine. It is the precursor to a more comprehensive look at the specific practice of biodynamic viticulture. Most of the activities involve the elusive concept of energy and if/how this energy affects the wine.

Cosmic Energy or wine glass base?

While in Burgundy a number of years ago, Anne-Claude Leflaive of Domaine Leflaive explained to our party that she refuses to ship her wines to any merchant who requires the use of a barcode. A biodynamic vigneron, she believes that the light waves from a barcode scanner will alter the energy of the wine in bottle, and she was not willing to risk compromising her precious stock.

We mentioned last week here that Sting plays music to the wines aging in the cellars on his Tuscan estate, Il Palagio, and that he feels if he 'plays it true', the wines are better.
horizontal bottle of sketch wine
Raul Perez of north west Spain, among the most mysterious wine makers in the world, ages Sketch, a white wine made with the Albarino grape, thirty meters below the sea for sixty days. When Alan Richman of GQ magazine asked the purpose of this practice, Perez answered "There is no explanation for this". Only  six bottles of the wine came to Alberta (and likely all of Canada) this year, and someday, maybe, I will have the opportunity to taste and report on it.

The Summerhill Pyramid Winery from the
contemporary pyramid at dusk overlooking lakeOkanagan Valley ranks among the most extreme examples. The wines are stored during the clarification stage in a four storey concrete replica of Egypt's great pyramid. According to Stephen Cipes, founder and proprietor of Summerhill, they "have a twenty year experiment proving the effect of sacred geometry on liquids", and his justification for the practice is that "The effect is clarification. If a wine has a flaw in it, the flaw is accentuated. If the wine has good qualities, they are enhanced. We humans are mostly liquid so when we enter this sacred chamber, it is a grand opportunity to clarify our own inner selves".

I will say that the wineries/winemakers listed above have a reputation for making great wines from their relative growing regions. Though I will not pretend to be able to explain or justify the efficacy of any of these practices on the resultant wine quality, the results of the activities are not quantifiable regardless, so one cannot say whether the practices do or do not work (the term 'work' for which we also require a working definition). All told, whether you buy the ideas or reject them out of hand, at the very least they make you think.

-Matt Browman


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