Being a long time wine industry veteran, I picked this up to investigate a little bit of the mystique behind biodynamic (BD) wines and the application of BD practices in Oregon. I must say that after finishing this book, I feel like I gained a little more understanding and appreciation of the process, but with some faults.
First off, the book is written in an odd style. The author seems to switch from journalist style writing (which I thought was her best style) to a more encyclopedic style (that left me nearly comatose) to a storybook style (which didn't really fit in with the theme of the text). At times she really discussed the past and the history of those Oregon growers who turned to BD. But often their past, while interesting, does nothing to shed light on their BD beliefs. It does in a few instances, but often the history of the people involved is rather extended.
The chapter on Steiner, while interesting, halts the book dead in its tracks. While understanding Steiner is important, I think much of this information could have been excluded and those interested could have looked into further reading in other texts. I gave the book to my partner (a wine lover, vegan, and lover of all foods organic, but not in the wine business) to read and she couldn't really get beyond the Steiner section. I told her to skip it and then she told me she enjoyed the rest.
The other problem is that while the author seems to really enjoy BD wines, and seems to want to promote them, she does end on a rather convincing chapter discrediting BD. When she mentions Sokol Blosser and their trials with BD, it is like saying to someone like me: see you can make stellar wine in just as organic a process without using BD practices. I do understand that it works and has worked for many other wineries, but I do like that Alex Sokol Blosser points out that BD is not super-organic or organic to the extreme as many put it. He states that his winery is just as organic and waste conscious (if not more so) than many BD practitioners.
Still, the book has merit. With wineries such as Bergstrom, Brick House, Beaux Freres, and others using BD practices and commanding $50 -$90 per bottle and garnering outstanding ratings by the press, one does have to wonder if there is merit to this practice.
Still, in the end, I felt very little changed on my opinion of BD - if the wine is good, then I don't really care how it was grown as long as the producer is environmentally conscious. I am still a fan of many BD producers, but I feel, after reading this book, that just being environmentally responsible and trying to grow mostly organic is preferable to conventional farming. If BD is what it takes to get you there, then so be it.