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Biodynamic wines from Argentina

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SuperUco, the Michelini brothers’ winery in Tunuyán, which is part of The Vines of Mendoza Winemaker’s Village, certified its vineyards as biodynamic with the aid of Demeter International, the most renowned certification organization for this type of agriculture.

The estate in question is called Río de los Chacayes and is the location of the winery, which boasts a unique octagonal shape, with the vineyards laid out in a circle. Three lines of wine are produced there: the Calcáreo Río de los Chacayes Malbec, the SuperUco White and the SuperUco Chacayes.

“Achieving Biodynamic certification from Demeter International is like getting an A+ on your final exam. It demonstrates that, with dedication and effort, we achieved the goals we set as a family, to work our vineyards ecologically,” explained Matías Michelini, oenologist and co-owner of the winery.

The winemaker added that this is the first SuperUco estate to earn this type of official endorsement and that “It’s the perfect model of what we want to show our visitors and the school of sustainable agriculture we’re fostering for our children and future grandchildren.”

Up there, at 3,900 feet above sea level, there are two factors that have a significant influence on the grapes and the wines that are produced from them: the altitude and the rocky nature of the land. The plants are exposed to cold nights and sunny days, causing the skin of the grapes to thicken, which gives the fruit a more intense color and flavor. At the same time, the roots of the vines grow squeezed between the rocks, lending a unique minerality to the wines.

Many consumers have heard of organic wines, but not so many have heard of biodynamic wines, which are an entirely different thing. Biodynamics refers to a philosophy of life fusing science, work and natural self-sustainability in a full connection between the land and space.

This process is guided by the principles of Rudolf Steiner, considered to be the father of biodynamics, who promoted the idea that everything that comes from the land should return to it. For this reason, every compound that is used in production comes from nature without being subjected to any industrial processing—a practice that includes the use of vegetable and mineral preparations as fertilizers.

Furthermore, the whole process follows an astrological calendar that governs the seasons for sowing, treating and harvesting the grapes. This schedule is partially influenced by the positions of the moon, which plays a fundamental role at every stage.

“The wines that come from this estate are ecological, organic and biodynamic,” Michelini specifies, while also noting that their winemaking process has yet to be certified as organic. “We’re a family of viticulturists, but agronomy and oenology are already part of our past. Now, we work our plants and care for them, as they are what give our wines their character. The challenge is to successfully capture in a bottle a little piece of the place where we cultivate our vineyards.”

As to whether consumers will perceive any difference between a traditional wine and a biodynamic one, the oenologist concludes: “It’s hard to explain, but without a doubt, they’ll perceive a special kind of energy in this type of wine. Maybe it’s about discovering flavors and aromas that have more to do with nature, the land and its surroundings. I say they’re emotional wines.”

 

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