When you hear "biodynamic" think "astrology and cow skulls"

I've started hearing a lot about biodynamic wine recently, and had gotten the impression that it was just a fancy way of talking about organic wine. Turns out, that assumption was incorrect. According to this fascinating—and frequently funny—piece in San Francisco Weekly, biodynamic farming is, essentially, organic farming … plus a heaping helping of astrology, mysticism and some delightfully medieval-gothic growth preparations. (One involved taking fresh cow skulls, stuffing them with oak bark, burying them at the fall Equinox, unearthing in spring and adding minute amounts of the resulting goop to compost piles. Ostensibly to promote healing in plants.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, large, independent, peer-reviewed studies haven't found much of a difference between biodynamic and organic grapes. Now, some folks like biodynamic wine, and that's cool. I just think people ought to know what it is they're paying a premium for.