Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


The Wisdom of Home

A perceptive winegrower takes notice of subtle cycles in the vines: the cracking of the soil in the winter, the spongy flex underfoot during a thaw, the first germination of undergrowth in spring, and the swarming hatch of beneficial insects as summer approaches. Knowing the importance of this daily evolution towards ripening, a respectful winegrower allows nature to create herself, surrendering to the life and death cycle, and letting the vineyard’s wisdom define good and bad on its own as a living individual.

I have dwelt on these thoughts all winter as I remember past vintages. Why are some years plagued with death and rot and some years blessed with rivers of ripe juice fermenting into luscious wine? Is there good and evil in the vineyard? Do I intervene too much or too little? What should be allowed to grow and what should be stopped from growing? Why does my gut instinct tell me to let the weed seeds germinate and to find beauty in them? Is there importance in the pure primordial spark of energy in a germinating seed, a weed that will not produce anything harvestable for my wine? Could those sparks of energy migrate into the vine, and the fruit and the wine?

Science says no, but my vineyard says yes.

Centuries ago every culture believed pure dynamic energy was the origin of all matter. The warmth and light of our Sun was adored and honored in art, worship and everyday life. All life, all matter and all wisdom came from the creative and elemental forces at work within the astral Sun and became manifest on earth in everything physical. Good and evil forces, astral clarity, earth, air, fire and water elements commingled and sacrificed greatly to endow pure energy with matter. The ancients understood this and did not need any further proof. The Mysteries spoke for themselves.

It is remarkable our modern science has come to the same conclusion as the ancients have. Einstein’s prediction E=mc2 shows on a mathematical level that all life and matter does indeed originate from energy, and that time, weight and mass are not constant, an equation that physicists now believe to be true. Unfortunately wisdom, creativity, and elemental forces had to be omitted from the formula. It seems those entities can’t be assigned a mathematical symbol and fit into a string of numbers yet Einstein knew something more was there. Even when he constructed the elemental table he had to leave blanks, predicting that they would eventually be filled in, which they have been. If we peer closely enough into his formula for the origins of matter we see the crevasse of Mystery.

As spring approaches and the dandelions open their golden heads and the filigree of chickweed covers the vineyard floor, I see the season’s first sparks of energy feeding the fire of fall ripening and the intrinsic inherent nature of energy. Thank you Einstein and thank you Ancient Peoples.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein

He who seeks knowledge of living things
First tries to drive out spirits wings;
In his hands the separate parts lie dead-
Unjoined, alas, by spirit’s living thread. – Goethe – Faust – Mephistopheles, 1

Barbara Shinn co-owner, with her husband David Page, of Shinn Estate Vineyards is the vineyard manager on the estate. Shinn Estate Vineyards is located in Mattituck, N.Y. on the North Fork of Long Island.