Wine Symposium 2023 – Biodynamic Impact

Wine Symposium

What’s modern about 100-year-old ideas for agriculture and viticulture?

Karamzininranta 4, Helsinki
5 July 2023 at 14 – 17.30
6 July 2023 at 10 – 16

Finnish Sommelier Association organizes Wine Symposium: Biodynamic Impact on 5th and 6th July 2023. The event will be organized at Pikku-Finlandia in Helsinki, following an annual General Assembly of ASI Association de la Sommellerie International on 4th and 5th July.

Finnish Sommelier Association is organizing its 5th Wine Symposium aimed at wine industry professionals. Previous symposia of the association have focused on topics such as the work of sommeliers, the language of wine, the revolution of Spanish wines, and different approaches to wine production. The previous guest speakers have included wine professionals like Jamie Goode, Sören Polonius, Véronique Rivest and Raül Bobet.

The main speakers of the 5th Wine Symposium are Romana Echensperger MW and Dr. Georg Meissner.

Romana Echensperger MW has a background in various top restaurants where she worked as head sommelier. Since becoming a Master of Wine in 2015 she has been working intensively on biodynamics. She recently wrote a comprehensive book highlighting the biodynamic wine scene in German-speaking countries and today she is working as wine writer, educator, and consultant.

Dr. Georg Meissner is a leading biodynamic farming and winegrowing consultant and was head of production for Alois Lageder’s extensive winegrowing operations in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy. He is also a researcher in the Department of Viticulture at the Geisenheim Institute of Applied Sciences in Rheingau, Germany. Georg earned his degrees in technical viticulture and oenology in Montpellier, France, and his interest in organic and biodynamic grape growing has taken him around the world.


Day 1

14.00 – 14.30 Introduction

14.30 – 15.45 The Backstory of Biodynamics
To understand what winemakers today see in century old ideas, it is best to look at agricultural history. By looking at this context, it becomes clear why biodynamics has its origins in the interwar years, what’s the difference compared to organics, and why the questions that dominated the discourse then are still relevant today.

15.45 – 16.00 Break

16.00 – 17.30 The question of taste
Do biodynamic wines taste different? This tasting will address the question of how biodynamic viticulture and the corresponding cellar management affect taste in the context of different wine styles. What happens with the wild yeast autolysis during sparkling winemaking? What is the impact of botrytis in sweet winemaking? Why are autochthonous varieties having a revival with natural vinifications and why is viticulture crucial for the stability of orange and natural wines?

Day 2

10.00 – 11.30 Biodynamics and the anthroposophical imposition
Biodynamics is often offensively ridiculed, and anthroposophy perceived as a danger to enlightenment. What is the hot core of anthroposophy and what about it is an imposition? Why are more and more winegrowers around the globe fascinated by biodynamic viticulture and why are they successful? What is behind the controversial topics of esotericism and epistemology in biodynamic agriculture? Is this the future or should we remain critical?

11.30 – 12.30 Lunch

12.30 – 14.00 Panel discussion: The green future of viticulture
What are the environmental and climatic challenges agriculturists and winegrowers face today? Which solutions certified sustainable, organic, and biodynamic farms are pursuing? What can winegrowers learn from each other and what do the changes for better require? Which ways and opportunities exist to make the future of wine production around the globe greener together?

14.00 – 14.15 Break

14.15 – 15.45 A biodynamic perspective on terroir
Limestone, silica, and volcanic soils. Rudolf Steiner had a very interesting perspective on soil types, especially limestone and primary rock. Can these descriptions also be used for wines coming from those soil types? This tasting presents a variety of wine styles from different soil types to open the discussion on how important the soil is.

15.45 – 16 Conclusion

All Symposium program is in English and attending the event requires accreditation. The 2-day Wine Symposium ticket costs 75€ and the attendees also have a possibility to buy a ticket for ASI gala dinner on 5th of July.
If you buy more than one ticket, please send the names of the participants to [email protected]

The Symposium is supported by Demeter International and respekt-BIODYN.

Biodynamic Federation - Respect Biodyn

Finnish Sommelier Association is a non-profit organization focusing on developing the knowledge and understanding of wine and restaurant service. It organizes educational events, tastings, and professional sommelier competitions. It is an official member of the ASI and elects a representative to all international ASI competitions.

ASI was founded over 50 years ago as an umbrella organization to raise the bar for restaurant service professionals internationally. While its historical roots are in Europe, ASI is now represented on 6 continents. ASI’s members are not individual sommeliers, but rather national sommelier associations themselves. With 61 national associations as full members and 5 observer countries, it is uniquely positioned to drive conversation within the industry at the international, national, and local levels. Finland will be the hosting country for the annual General Assembly of 2023, welcoming presidents, delegates, and sommeliers of all ASI national sommelier association members to Helsinki.