• Image about Maria Thun


Can the moon influence the taste of wine? Whether it’s science or superstition, several major British wine sellers are drinking up the theory of biodynamics.

THE NUMBER OF THINGS THE MOON is said to affect is endless — from the tides and fertility in women to werewolves and casino payouts. And now, some major British wine sellers have added the taste of wine to the list.

For the last several years, wine sellers in the United Kingdom have been quietly timing their critics’ tastings to a biodynamic lunar calendar divined by German agricultural guru Maria Thun. Following the principle that the lunar cycle affects all living things on the planet (and that wine is itself a living thing), Thun uses the phases of the moon and the constellations it passes through to predict when wine will taste best. The calendar is divided into fruit, flower, leaf and root days. Fruit and flower days are consistently better than leaf and root days for drinking wine. Some calendars are even more specific, breaking the days into hourly peak periods. For instance, you could wake up the morning of a fruit day only to have it devolve into a root day by the end of the afternoon.

There is little scientific evidence one way or the other on wine and the lunar cycle, but those who believe in the lunar-calendar theory say that the proof is in the pouring.

“I have been to tastings where wines don’t taste quite right, not quite alive, and we’ve checked and found out that it’s a root day,” says Dan Coward, spokesman for Bibendum, a London wine retailer. He adds that although the high street chain doesn’t go out of its way to schedule tastings on biodynamically auspicious days, it does lean toward hosting its tastings on fruit days.

Other retailers are a bit stricter in following the calendar, including several major regional grocery chains. Marks & Spencer and Tesco, two U.K. grocers that together account for a third of the wine sold in Britain, have been following the calendar for years, claiming that it helps show their wines at their best potential.

Oddbins, a London-based chain that has been in the business for 43 years, also follows the calendar. “We will try to always have our press tastings on a flower or fruit day, and we try to avoid at all costs root days,” says Richard Verney, general manager and head of buying for Oddbins.

But the real question is, does it make a difference?