How Hippies Make Fine Wine

I just read about the Summerhill Pyramid Winery in British Columbia, the first organic and bio-dynamic certified winery in BC.

Bio-dynamic. That’s an impressive word. I was captivated by it, as I often am by words I don’t really understand and want to toss around in conversations. However, as I’ve been known to use words incorrectly, I looked it up first.

According to Wikipedia, bio-dynamics is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. This means that I’d sound ignorant if I walked out of my yoga class and declared that I felt bio-dynamic, unless I was also coated in dirt and chicken poop.

But here’s the part of the article that really got my attention. Evidently one bio-dynamic technique this winery uses involves using rainwater mixed with the manure of a lactating cow that was harvested during a full moon, stuffed inside a cow horn and buried under the ground for around a year. Then it was dug up during certain astrological conditions. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I’m pretty sure that Uranus was in opposition to something.

“I smell something bio-dynamic.” (image via dreamstime)

I am not making this up. In fact, if you want to see cutting edge wine technology in action, click this link: dude digging up poo-stuffed cow horns.

This process produces a biologically-active fertilizer, which is then sprayed on the vines in order to suppress and resist mildew and fungal diseases, as well as enhance nutrients flowing to the roots. The fact that the cow is lactating makes all the difference. The manure of single cows who’ve decided to adopt is not desirable here. We’re not making a judgment on their lifestyle choices, just their manure.

“I’m really focused on my career right now.” (image via dreamstime)

I’m kicking myself because when I was lactating I flushed biologically-active fertilizer down our commode on a daily basis. I could have had my own vineyard and supplied myself with bottles of bio-dynamic stress reliever, plus made a boat load of cash! Then again, considering that I didn’t even brush my hair or apply body lotion the whole first year of my daughter’s life, maybe running a vineyard would have been aiming a little high.

They’re still calling this wine vegan-friendly because the animal byproducts never actually touch the wine. Though they do ferment herbs in stag bladders and cow intestines, but these things only touch the soil, which is a shame because if I’d gone to the trouble of fermenting some herbs in a stag’s bladder, I’d want to sprinkle it over some pasta or something. They do not use any fish bladders, gelatin, egg whites, milk, or milk byproducts in their winemaking, which is (attention my drunk, vegan friends) evidently a common practice among winemakers.

If you’d like to see the winemakers dig up some stag’s bladders, animal skulls stuffed with what looks like supernatural ectoplasm and other nifty items not found at your local butcher, click on this link dude digging up weird animal parts. You’re going to want a big old glass of grappa when you’re done watching it. Nothing goes with ectoplasm like a Riesling.

But wait, there’s more!

Did I mention that this winery has a genuine pyramid? Yessiree. But don’t expect a bunch of slot machines inside.  According to the proprietor, Stephen Cipes, “the knowingness of eternity awaits us in this sacred chamber.” You can’t get knowingness at the Luxor.

I bet Bartles & James never had a pyramid

As I understand it, the theory is that humans are mostly liquid, especially when they’re pumped full of wine, so when they enter the sacred chamber, it’s an opportunity to “clarify their own inner selves”. Like butter. The chamber helps them get to the “knowingness of who they are,” which may be just a bunch of cow turd-loving winos, but y’all know I don’t judge.

The chamber “enhances our receptiveness, opening the left and right sides of our brains, much like the dolphins, whales, and elephants” which are apparently all new age animals and “in touch with the all-one ‘soul of the world,'” even though you almost never see a dolphin getting a palm reading.

“I’m more of a numerology mammal.” (image via dreamstime)

Awe. Some. I love hippies. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready to climb into that pyramid with a bottle of bio-dynamic wine and some elephants and just get wrecked on clarity.

Tell me you wouldn’t go drinking with this cutie. (image via dreamstime)

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17 thoughts on “How Hippies Make Fine Wine

  1. A.) Hilarious post! B.) When I was watching those videos I was all like, ‘this is the best episode of Portlandia I’ve ever seen’!

    • LMAO! I was actually indignant that this winery isn’t in Portland (my hometown) or at least Eugene Oregon because it perfectly embodies all that is crunchy about my home state.

  2. Deb J says:

    This is hilarious! Remind me to NEVER drink the wine these crazy people cooked up. It’s sure to be laced with crazy…

    • That’s funny. My first thought was, “I HAVE to try the wine these crazy people cooked up!” I thought the cow poop in the cow horn was hysterical and then I got to the web page with the pyramid. I think I might have squealed and jumped up and down a little.

  3. Erisa says:

    Thank you so much for this. I just spent 4 days camping with the faeries in Eugene, OR and in less than 5 minutes of arrival someone handed me a leaflet on bio-dynamic wine and I had no idea what it meant. You saved me from having to look it up. Yes!

    • Ha! I knew Eugene would be a hot bed for bio-dynamic agriculture. I still might toss the word around in yoga–just because I like it. And I might build a pyramid in my back yard…out of legos or something.

  4. Ezra Cipes says:

    Hi Fathead Follie,

    I found your post really hilarious. We all laughed out loud here in the office, and provided a link from our facebook page.

    I recognize that Biodynamic agriculture can seem strange, novel, and maybe even ridiculous upon first blush, but I can experientially say that it has a profound effect on our farm and grape vines.

    The preparations that we make are largely for breeding beneficial bacteria, which we use to innoculate our compost piles and our soils, and create a healthy soil ecology full of micro-biology. This allows for nutrient sharing between the vines and the life in the soil, and tremendously aids the immune systems of the grape vines.

    And so I ask: What is more ridiculous – taking care of our soils and plants with biodynamic preparations, or using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides to accomplish the same purpose?

    Yours sincerely,
    Ezra Cipes
    CEO, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

    • Thanks for reading!
      Don’t get me wrong, Ezra, I’m actually behind bio-dynamic agriculture. It fits in line with my thinking on holistic medicine. And I was raised in Oregon, where we fully embrace new age ideas, as well as quality wine.
      However, I’ve never been one to resist an opportunity for a good-natured ribbing and there are a lot of comedic opportunities in alternative ideas. I figured that you guys wouldn’t mind the press because, well, free advertising is a good thing and a good portion of my readers are into organic products and fine wine. (Let’s face it, mothers need wine so we don’t have an emotional collapse).
      Obviously you guys are doing something right because you’re winning awards, so more power to you. Thank you for providing the world with fine wine and me with a fun blog post. I truly appreciate it.
      Sincerely,

      Fathead (Kelly)
      resident wine drinker and smart@ss.

  5. Colleen says:

    Truly…I cant believe he SMELLED the poo after he dumped it from the horn!! OMG!

    I knew there was a reason I didnt care too much for wine!

    Execllent post as always Kelly!!! Had me cracking UP!

    • He smelled it because it wasn’t poo anymore, it was magic! Their wine is winning awards so there must be something to their theories. After surfing their website I’m actually dying to try some. It’s hippie in a bottle and I love me some hippies.

  6. Ezra Cipes. I love that name. Major props for making up that comment AND the entire post.

    Who in their right mind would mix rainwater with the manure of a lactating cow that was harvested during a full moon, stuffed inside a cow horn and buried under the ground for around a year? Charlie Sheen, that’s who. https://fatheadfollies.com/2012/07/26/the-law-of-attraction-to-charlie-sheen/

    • And you know I loves me some Charlie Sheen! I’d say this winery was definitely winning.
      I am secretly hoping they send me a bottle so that I can taste the difference. If it would’ve fit into my blog budget of $0 I would’ve taken a trip up to the winery for an in-person tour.

  7. Christine says:

    Um, I am in love. How could I not try this wine? Co-op? Co-op? CAn you special order some Sumerville for me? Thank you!

    Also, your expression of the items you did not do in the first year of your daughter’s life (brush your hair or use body lotion) implies that you DID do other things. Like shower. In the law there is a maxim that addresses this interpretaton: expressio unius est exclusio alteriu (the expression of one is the exclusion of the other). But I interpret it thus: overachiever.

  8. Avid Wino says:

    As an avid wino and and frequent visitor at Summerhill, I can attest that a lot of unique and often silly sounding ideas have floated out of the proprietor’s mouth. But the wines are amazing the vineyards are lovely and they care deeply about the grapes they use to make some of the most awarded wines in the country. So, while I personally think lots of it is a crock, between the organically and the biodynamics and the chanting naked under a full moon, something they are doing is working. Hats off to Ezra for adding this to thier Facebook page and do go up and see them if you ever get a chance.

    • I would LOVE to go visit their winery for the wine AND crazy ideas. I was completely captivated by the whole thing (or I wouldn’t have dedicated an entire post to it.) And I’m impressed that they also have a sense of humor about themselves.
      Do they chant naked under a full moon?? Dang it, this place gets better and better! If I drank enough of their award winning win I just might chant naked under a full moon with a new age elephant.

  9. James says:

    Nice Article. I love to read your all post. Because your all post are so nice. Thanks.

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