Randall Grahm (above) needs no introduction from me. He’s one of the greatest authors, grape growers, and winemakers of our generation and he’s also one of the most lovely and fascinating personages I’ve ever had the opportunity to know. His erudition, humanity, and love of paronomasia are models for my own writing and I was thrilled that he agreed to do the following interview with me.
Randall will be pouring and talking about his wines at Sotto in Los Angeles (where I co-author the wine list) on Thursday, November 7 (6:30-7:30 p.m. and then talking tableside during the first dinner seating).
Registration is not yet online but you can snag a seat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be speaking at the Cantele tasting at the restaurant tomorrow night with my good friend winemaker Paolo Cantele. There are just a few spots left for our event. Please click here for registration and info.
Buona lettura! Happy reading!
DB: Last week, you tweeted the following: “The reality is Biodynamics cannot be explained scientifically.Yet empirically it works, ergo a practical solution.”
Can you talk about the blurred line between science and the “mystery” of biodynamics? Will we ever have an explanation of why it works? And what is spirituality’s role in biodynamics in America? What prompted the tweet?
RG: The tweet was prompted by Corby Kummer’s post on biodynamics, as he attempted to demystify the practice. As you know, there are still a lot of people who are utterly freaked out by the idea of drinking biodynamic wines, putatively made by superstitious, voodoo-practicing grape growers. I am not a psychologist, but there is something about biodynamic practice – maybe it’s the fact that these people are ingesting the final product in their bodies – that creates a sort of fear of contamination for them, or maybe they fear that they themselves might begin acting irrationally. It’s seemingly crazy – why should people be threatened by the fact that a grower is not applying synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to his plants? – but there you go. I’m fairly certain that we will not have an explanation of why biodynamics works in our lifetime. Western science has not yet really gotten a handle on the notion of subtle energetic forces – I think this may have to wait till the 22nd century. Of course there have been and are a number of theoretical physicists who speak to the correlation of spirituality and science, but they are still pretty marginalized. There is certainly a major taboo among scientists to broach the idea of spirituality; it would appear to fly in the face of the scientific method. But spirituality is really at the core of biodynamics; many practitioners will deny this, hoping not to scare away potential customers. But to really practice biodynamics properly, there is the need to do quite a bit of internal work. (I’m not a very rigorous practitioner in that regard, but aspire to some day be.)
You were among the first U.S. winemakers to list all the ingredients of your wines on the label. What feedback have you seen? Are other winemakers following your lead? Do you envision a day when all wines will be labeled like this?