In the 1950’s, Maria Thun, a proponent of biodynamics devised a lunar calendar to guide farming activities.  According to the movements of the moon and stars, she identified ‘root’, ‘leaf’, ‘flower’ and ‘fruit’ days within the month.  Out of this came the theory that flower and fruit days happen to amplify the finest characteristics of a wine, while ‘root’ and ‘leaf’ days are less beneficial.  So popular is the notion that even large wine retailers such as Tesco’s and Marks & Spencer are said to arrange their wine-tastings on fruit and flower days.  Avondale decided to put the theory to the test, a first for the South African wine industry.  In May, we joined forces with Platter’s South African Wine Guide, and invited Cathy Marston, Higgo Jacobs, Hennie Coetzee, Maggie Mostert, Jonathan Snashall and Maryna Strachan to join Johanthan Grieve and Philip van Zyl to participate in four Avondale La Luna Taste Test events.  Our panel of experts agreed not to consult the tasting calendar.

What was interesting was that there was unanimous agreement on the differing characteristics of the wines in each respective cycle. The panel’s feedback was as follows:

14 May Fruit tasting: The fruit notes were described by panellists as “almost overpowering”, with the wines appearing full-bodied and rich in character. Avondale’s Camissa was a firm favourite, with Wine Extra magazine’s Maryna Strachan remarking: “Camissa rosé blend is absolutely unique. Very distinct Turkish Delight and rose petal flavour on both nose and palate.”

16 May Leaf tasting: The general consensus was that the wines tasted less sweet, with a dominant minerality. Wine writer and blogger Jonathan Snashall commented: “Day two stunned the panel because the wines were so different. Gone was Monday’s primary fruit exuberance to be replaced with more developed or tertiary aromas on the whites and more savoury notes on the reds. The wines could not have developed that much in 48 hours.”

22 May Root tasting: The panel felt that the wines were “subdued” and tasted as if they had “gone to sleep”. “This 3rd tasting has convinced me this #lunatastetest has some merit, wines tasting different yet again,” Tweeted Maggie Mostert of Batonage blog.

24 May Flower tasting: The panel collectively agreed that the flower day was the best tasting day overall for the wines. The wines were described as “expressive”, “elegant” and “more structured with a fresh, fuller-bodied character.” Cathy Marston, wine educator and journalist, felt that it was the best day for the Avondale red wines, in particular. “The wines are showing very beautifully tonight with a little less fruit and a little more elegance than day one.”

It is important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days for drinking wine, as each individual has a unique palette and different taste preferences.  However, our experiment has leant credence to the theory the taste of a wine is influenced by the lunar cycle.  Certainly, our panellists expressed their amazement at the noticeable differences they experienced over the different cycles.

If you want to plan your tastings please visit Johnathan’s blog at the following link, where you can find the Tasting Calendar in detail.

Of course if you would like to experiment with this and you need some guidance please contact us and we will gladly guide you through your expedition of discovery!