You’re likely familiar with organic farming, and might even know about biodynamic farming, but Stephen Hagen, farmer of Antiquum Farm, does neither.
Instead, he practices a technique he calls Grazing-Based Viticulture, incorporating a variety of rotating livestock to help manage his crops and provide nutrients for the vines. The result? Wines with a true sense of terroir and land that is responding generously, Hagen says.
He’s obsessed with growing the best wines possible. “My wines are not made, they are grown cluster by cluster, with my own hands. They are a marriage of place, its people, and a moment in time,” he said.
When asked about biodynamic farming, Hagen replied honestly. “I’m not a joiner or team player; I despise recipes and checklists, and I think that certification lists come to the detriment of creativity and innovation. I want to think for myself and work from my gut. I call our method, grazing-based viticulture.” It’s basically agriculture from before the ease of fertilizers and easy mechanization, a method that saves about 12 tractor passes per year. It’s biodynamics with a curmudgeonly old-school twist. “We take the sheep poop and specificity and leave the moon and stars to wiser people.”
“I think biodynamics are awesome and I deeply admire the commitment to something deeper and more meaningful for anyone moving in that direction. We’re all on the same team. Any farming method that makes a farmer have a more intimate connection to their place is a very positive step,” he added.
But he also wants to keep the conversation going and continue to think critically. One of the things he loves about grazing-based viticulture is…