Although, in Silves wine production is common on many farms, it’s in Quinta Rosa that we are able to find a totally different concept, where the sun, the moon and the stars influence the entire production through a holistic approach: biodynamic agriculture.
Jacobus Honekamp, the owner of Quinta Rosa farm, heard that biodynamic agriculture results in better tasting wine, so he accepted the challenge and, since 2018, he has implemented this process across his entire farm. And he hopes to see results next year in his grapes.
In Quinta Rosa there are six hectares of trees – three hectares of grapes and the rest are other kinds of treessuch as carob trees, etc – and the process is the same: biodynamic agriculture. It doesn’t just result in an organic process in which all fertilisers are certified as organic and approved by the institute, it is more than that. “It is to use all the resources that we have available on the property”, explained Jacobus Honekamp.
This year, unfortunately the farmer lost much of his production due to natural reasons, but he is still positive because “we still have a lot of bottles of wine from 2019”. These bottles aren’t biodynamic, because the process takes time and results will only come in the next harvest. For now, Jacob enjoys a wine with quality certified through the European label that distinguishes it as organic. Next year, the brand wine Jaap will be more than organic wine; it will be a harvest resulting from a biodynamic process, although in Portugal we don’t have any certification that guarantees this yet.
What is the biodynamic agriculture?
Biodynamic agriculture began when a group of farmers in Europe realised that the industrialisation of agriculture led to less healthy soils, less fertile seeds, less nutritious crops, and made their own health more uncertain.
This is a type of production was founded by the Austro-German philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924. He developed a spiritual science – based on anthroposophy and individuality. According to his vision, agriculture is seen as an organism in itself with everything that is necessary for its sustainability, making it entirely self-sustainable.
There is a close relationship between the soil, plants, animals and the cycles of the earth and the cosmos as well as their active forces, indicative of the most favourable moments for sowing, planting and harvesting.
Additionally, Biodynamic is a way of preparing ecological balances, improving the health of soils and plants and increasing the energy level of food.
“When it’s full moon we put some seeds in the ground and we find that we have faster and stronger growth, completely different from the normal way, we work with what we have in our property”, said the farmer. Another example that Jacobus Honekamp shared with us is made using the stomach of a cow: “We put herbs inside a cow stomach and then leave the stomach outside for the summer, when it comes to the winter we then use this product as a natural fertiliser”
Another example is the use of manure which is stuffed into a cow horn for a year and buried underground. After this period a small amount of this manure is activated in water and applied to the soil to activate organic matter.
This way of farming is an activity that requires a lot of work, but Jacobus Honekamp and his wife are up to the challenge. They work throughout the property so that Jaap wine reaches their customers’ tables in the most natural way possible while embracing spirituality.