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Biodynamic wine tasting calendar

23 Sep 2009 by Julia Harding MW

The influence of the moon and the star constellations on how a wine tastes on a particular day has already been discussed in Moody burgundy and other (fairy?) stories and on the forum; and in Fruit v root, Richard Hemming describes tasting the same wines on two different days to put the theory to the test.

Now you can try it at home. When wine tastes best is a little booklet/calendar to be published by Floris Books  tomorrow at £3.99. It's an attractive pocket-sized guide to  what are supposedly the best times to drink wine and when to avoid doing so, according to an abridged version of the biodynamic calendar of Maria Thun. It's all clearly laid out and colour-coded for every hour of every day (and night), starting from December 2009. The bad news is that Christmas 2009 is a time to avoid drinking or at least to avoid sacrificing your best bottles, and if you want to celebrate the new year, you'd better taste your best bottles before 3 pm on 31 Dec or between midnight on 31 Dec and 8 am on 1 Jan, which does not sound terribly convenient.

The introduction is divided into a one-page 'How to use this guide', followed by 'I'd like more detail, please' and 'Even more details' so you can read all about it or just try out the calendar.

Whatever you think about biodynamic viticulture, it might be fun to consult the calendar and experiment. All feedback most welcome via the comments box below.

When wine tastes best will be available from 24 Sep in main UK bookshops and online at - and can be delivered internationally. Floris say they are planning to publish this annually.


Just heard from Monty that his fully revised book, published via not by Mitchell Beazley, is likely to be available in Oct or Nov this year so I would say it is worth waiting for. I think the original MB edition is quite hard to get hold of anyway.

I also asked Monty about the S hemisphere and he said:

In the southern hemisphere the New Zealand Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Calendar (Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association in New Zealand) has useful diagrams and is a very stimulating read.

Or use the Thun calendar and the only thing that changes is the ascending/descending moon cycle so when she says “northern planting time” this is descending moon in N Hem and ascending in S Hem, likewise the “southern planting time” is descending S Hem and ascending N Hem. That’s the only celestial cycle to vary by hemisphere.

23 Feb 2010 19:02 by Julia Harding

I'll see if I can find out the likely publication date for the new edition.

23 Feb 2010 16:37 by Julia Harding

Julia, thank you for your answer, don't worry about my disappointment. I'm still looking after a way to try the tasting calendar down here, so if any of you have news on how to adapt it to the southern hemisphere, I would be deeply grateful. About Monty's book, it has been published in 2004 - do you think it would be worth waiting for its new edition or the old one is still up-to-date? I've been waiting for a few books from Mitchell Beazley, but they seem to be working sloooowly on their Classic Wine Library collection...

20 Feb 2010 13:59 by Bernardo Silveira M. Pinto

Bernardo, I'm sorry you are disappointed with northern-hemisphere (as opposed to eurocentric) bias to the calendar. I did mention in an earlier comment (below) - though not in the original review, apologies - that the calendar was for the northern hemisphere.

I'm afraid it's not a question of GMT. As Monty Waldin explains in his book Biodynamic Wines (new edition in preparation, I believe), 'The ascending and descending moon periods vary according to northern or southern hemisphere. This is the only lunar rhythm that differs from hemisphere to hemisphere ... Maria and Mathias Thun's Sowing and Planting Calendar [from which the tasting calendar is derived] indicates this difference by recommending northern planting times for descending periods in the northern hemisphere and southern planting times for descending periods in the southern hemisphere.'

7 Jan 2010 10:56 by Julia Harding

Wait, guys: is the tasting calendar not valid for southern hemisphere for cosmic/stellar reasons or is it just because of the GMT time scale in it?

6 Jan 2010 12:37 by Bernardo Silveira M. Pinto

Hmm... Just found out my recently arrived "When wine tastes best" is not worth a penny down here in Brazil... How much more would it have costed to make it world-wide useable??? Certainly less then the shipping from Floris Books! Damn eurocentrism!

4 Jan 2010 19:35 by Bernardo Silveira M. Pinto

John, I'm afraid not. Sorry, I should have made that clear in the review. There was some discussion about the calendar for the southern hemisphere in this forum thread: (see especially Andrej Razumovsky's post, #7, but I'm afraid the link he suggests is to a blog all in Spanish). If you search the internet for 'biodynamic calendar southern hemisphere' you get quite a few results but I'm not aware of a similar calendar for wine drinkers.

29 Sep 2009 10:05 by Julia Harding

Does this tasting calender have any validity in the southern hemisphere?

28 Sep 2009 09:35 by John Lamb

Whatever will they think of next? This certainly takes the spontaneity out of wine drinking!    Sorry, mates - I can't come on the binge tonight because it's a "node" day. Daft, I calls it.

24 Sep 2009 08:57 by Neville Blech

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