Chakana Winery, producers of our newest brand Inkarri Biodynamic wines from Argentina, recently hosted the Biodynamic Conference, the 7th South American Meeting of Biodynamic Viticulture Encounter “An Agriculture for the Future,” organized by the Demeter Foundation of South America. Chakana has embraced Biodynamic agriculture and is one of the leading producers of Biodynamic wines from Argentina.
As part of the conference, there was a keynote speech and screening of a documentary film by prestigious filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter entitled “Resistenza Natural” Natural Resistance. In his talk following the screening, Nositer said that during his filming, “I learned that Biodynamics is looking at the world in 360. The idea of Biodynamics is to be more sensitive about what is around us and to be aware … that is a revolution.”
Biodynamic agriculture is not simply a method to produce wine
According to Nossiter, “Biodynamic agriculture is not simply a method to produce wine, it is an international movement with profound principles and a strong social component. Biodynamics proposes an agricultural model and consumption that promotes more awareness in the relationships between humans and the environment and the cosmos. It is an agriculture for the future.”
The situation in Argentina was one of the topics of the debate after the screening. In this regard, Juan Pelizzatti, founding partner of Bodega Chakana, and organizer of the event, explained: “Argentina has
built an agricultural system deeply committed to conventional agriculture and the use of agrochemicals. The efforts of a natural agriculture are very isolated, perhaps now they begin to have more relevance in the wine. What we wanted to do with this event is a small gesture of resistance and to explain that in Argentina there are producers who have another vision of agriculture and we want to do something different. The Argentine agricultural system is completely oriented to an agriculture in the hands of few and with a persistent fall of populations and rural habits.”
We asked Chakana owner Juan Pelizzatti a few questions about the Biodynamic Wines Conference:
Q: How did Chakana get selected as the location for the Biodynamic Wines Conference?
A: Chakana is a pioneer among a growing number of wineries that are embracing biodynamics as a way to resist the changes brought by chemical agriculture and the harm it has caused to the environment and the human race. The South American Biodynamic Viticulture Encounter is organized each year in a Chilean or Argentinian Biodynamic certified winery, alternatively. As Chakana became certified in 2016, we were proposed by Demeter to organize the encounter in 2017.
Q: What do you hope participants took away from the Biodynamic Wines Conference?
A: The Biodynamic viticulture movement in South America has been struggling since its beginnings with the difficulties proposed by the business orientation of its components (which are all commercial wineries), the different interpretations and understanding of the Biodynamic message and the lack of time and resources to address the specific challenges that ecological agriculture poses on each side of the Andes, which although sharing a similar origin are different between them and also profoundly different from Europe, Biodynamics original home land. Through a process of finding common values and identity, lead by the filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter and the Biodynamics researcher and consultant Georg Meissner, the group has defined a way forward and committed the funding of common research and coordination to propose solutions for viticulture and the social integration of commercial ventures in the local communities.
Q: How many attendees were there and from what countries? How many biodynamic wineries?
A: Approximately 100 attendees were present from approximately 20 wineries, 50% from Chile and 50% from Argentina.
Q: How popular is Biodynamic agriculture in South America? How popular is it among wineries in the country?
A: Biodynamics is still little known in South America and its role and proposals controversial. But a growing number of wineries are increasingly valuing the agricultural approach proposed by Biodynamics, which combines sound agro-ecological practices with a social concern and the need to include every aspect of human nature in the production of food, such as art, spirituality, health, philosophy,etc.
Q: What aspect of the conference was most interesting?
A: I think the most relevant aspects of the encounter were the very inspiring participation of artist Jonathan Nossiter and his film Resistenza Natural, which created an awareness about the challenges we face as humans and the role of Biodynamics as a cultural gesture and the ability of Georg Meissner to guide the group through social interactions of people from very different backgrounds to embrace a common understanding and will to create a plan forward.