Benziger Family Winery of Glen Ellen California has become an industry leader with their Biodynamic grape and wine production systems. Biodynamics is a wholistic farming approach developed in the 1920s by the Austrian scientist-philosopher Rudolf Steiner. While it encompasses many of the principles of organic farming, such as the elimination of all chemicals, Biodynamics goes further, requiring close attention to the varied forces of nature influencing the vine. It also emphasizes a closed, self-sustaining ecosystem.
The impressive areas of Benziger's Biodynamic framing practices are:
- Self-regulating systems which utilize the predator/prey relationship to create a balanced natural wildlife system. The most notable is the mid-vineyard insectory which is a large garden full of plants that attract helpful insects to ward off hurtful ones.
- A closed nutrient system in which all organic material (landscape waste, vineyard waste, pomace, stems, winery waste) on the ranch is collected, composted and recycled turning their former waste into valuable plant food.
- A pair of water reclaiming ponds built on the property allows the farm to recycle over 1 million gallons of processed waste water and supply up to 75 percent of their vineyard irrigation needs locally.