I am reading back on some of the original posts from the beginnings of my god.food.wine. blog in 2009. This particular blog, that I wrote back in October of 2010 is speaking to me in the present moment. I want to share it with you too as we transition into a new season. To Everything There is a Season.
“Amy, you are going to biodynamic camp October 13th — 15th so block those dates off”. Surprisingly, this is what I heard my boss, who I call “Coach Jack” say to me. I opened up my calendar, typed in “Biodynamic Camp” under subject and “Mendocino” as location. Then, I plugged in the dates and went onto my next task, not thinking much about it after that. For a brief moment, I thought, “What does biodynamic mean?” However, at the time I was preoccupied with other projects on my “to do” list. Researching the term was not a priority for me.
This past week, I attended biodynamic camp in Ukiah, California which rests in Mendocino County. A group of us from Northern California & Arizona were to spend a few days with Paul Dolan, a creative leader in the wine industry. He believes, “The future of business is to make the future its’ business.”
Paul Dolan is a fourth generation farmer in Mendocino County. He is rooted in the belief that we are all an intricate part of the fabric of the universe. To elaborate, we are interwoven into the land we live in — the water, air, wine and food are part of who we are. Furthermore, he believes that a sustainable business should consist of the holistic picture with a moral center, one that is connected to its values and the world around them. Without compromise,, a business that does what is right because it’s just the right thing to do. Ultimately, there is an accountability as well as a responsibility to take a creative step further into a grander realm of view. A view that breathes fresh air into the wine industry allowing an “out of the box” mentality to thrive and grow.
The fresh air being breathed into Mendocino is the word, “biodynamic”. Paul Dolan has pioneered and practiced this method of breathing for quite some time. I experienced firsthand, the amazing energy and breath of fresh air that stimulates the creative approach to winemaking in this land. The peace I felt, while standing in the vineyards, affirmed that I was not in any ordinary vineyard. This place was ethereal.
Dark Horse Vineyards
This place is called Dark Horse Vineyards, Paul Dolan’s labor of love, hugging the earth with 160 acres – 70 of which are grapevines grown to Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Biodynamic agriculture recognizes that all life is interconnected. It takes into account a farmers intuition that tends to the land with a mixture of holistic practices, farmer experience and observations. It is aware of the rhythm of the sun and moon. Nature’s resources are used to create energy in the space. Under these circumstances, a wisdom is imparted on how to organize the farm as a thriving unit that is symbiotic with spiritual and earthly sustainability .
On our first day at biodynamic camp, Paul spoke of the earth and heavens. Specifically, how they connect with one another to bear the best fruit. Tying together the understanding that to create from an earthly perspective alone falls short, seperating us from the full dynamic of the universe. Our homework that night was to observe our surroundings, reflect on what we see, and create an awareness of the space lived in.
We stayed at Vichy Springs in Ukiah, a 700 acre ranch, with gorgeous views from all “points of view” and a meditative place. I discovered that it was a place that offered mineral baths, the only naturally warm and carbonated Vichy mineral baths in North America. Certainly, this was a good place to start my homework!
I released the natural water coming out of the earth into my bath and immersed myself. After a few minutes, I appeared carbonated fizzing like a beautiful flute of bubbly! The carbonation dilated my body’s capillaries and I started to feel warm and peaceful. My breath was tranquil as I began to look at the intensely bright and luminous stars gazing over me. My thought was, “These stars are so far away and I can SEE them, they are shining bright”. The moon was “waxing” on its way to completion again. Then, I observed the constellations and how bright the sky was, even though it was a midnight black color. My ears listened to the trees whispering softly to each other in the wind. Undeniably, my spirit became aware of my skin, my organs, my heart, and my mind.
What God Shared with Me
Next, I started to talk with God. “Thank you for this creation I am experiencing. Please help me to be more aware of my surroundings. I am a small speck of sand on this planet. There is more to this universe than I can grasp in my understanding. Help me to allow good thoughts and loving energy to circulate in and around me. Deliver me from stress molecules that don’t serve me or the environment around me. Give me the clarity, courage, and wisdom to step “outside of the box” and to be a thriving, balanced creation in you, God, that beams with color, brightness, and health!
Then, God reminded me that He is the true vine and we are the branches. I am growing in His vineyard. He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit. He prunes every branch that does bear fruit so that I will continue bearing more fruit. God “stresses” my vines in order for me to drink deeper by stretching my roots farther into Him. As a result, I can produce the ripest fruit. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself, it can do so only if it remains in the vine. Then he said, ‘Remain in Me and I will remain in you. Remain in My love. You are growing fruit that endures for generations to come, for my children and grandchildren”.
My Takeaway from Biodynamic Camp
As Paul Dolan said, “The future of business is to make the future it’s business”. The future of my family and the world around me is to make it my business right now. For example, the choices made in the vineyard and the world will create an outcome that will bear short-term or long-term satisfaction. Forcing high yields in our food crops for profit gains will bear short-term satisfaction. But like Paul, I believe that there can be a better way. A balance can be created to provide short-term satisfaction while preserving long-term satisfaction in ourselves, our world, and our future.
To sum up, I will choose to be tended to by my organic gardener, God. He will create in me the best fruit for that particular season. Then, in His timing, I can share the due harvest of the season with others for times to come. It will be fruit that will prosper and bear fruit for infinite seasons.
So… I raise a glass to God’s BIODYNAMIC SPIRIT and say “To everything there is a season… and a time for every purpose under heaven!
P.S. Read Sonoma Natural Wine to Love next 🥂