Maria Thun 1922 – 2012



The sad news has just come through that Maria Thun died on February 9th, two months before her 90th birthday. While many of us who have become interested in biodynamics in agriculture, gardening or viticulture might feel doubts when confronted with the evangelical fervour and contorted texts of Rudolf Steiner, Maria Thun provided a much more credible path to understanding.

On her farmland in Germany, Maria Thun conducted many trials comparing the same product being planted on fruit or flower or leaf or root days. Were there consistent differences? Evidently so. While this sort of experiment does nothing to indicate what scientific truths there may or may not be behind the seemingly fanciful approach of biodynamic practices, it is very welcome to see proponents conducting field trials with proper rigour.

She also, latterly with her son Matthias, produced the admirable annual biodynamic gardening calendar, celebrating the 50th edition this year. This is an invaluable tool for its daily information, as well as for the various essays detailing recent trials and new thoughts about biodynamics.

We are currently revising our management of organic and biodynamic wines on our website. On the organic front, we have decided only to flag up those who are certified as organic, or in conversion towards certification (a three-year process). For biodynamic farming we take a slightly different view as we regard biodynamism as a philosophy more than a regime. We therefore plan to highlight both those who are certified biodynamic, and those who are comfortable in being described as ‘broadly biodynamic’.

More and more of our Burgundy producers are tending towards the biodynamic – and I am sure they are all aware how much they owe to Maria Thun.