Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, who introduced biodynamics into North America, developed a method in the 1930s to visually demonstrate the presence of formative forces -- that is, forces acting on living organisms which emanate from the Earth, the Sun and other planets. He arrived at the sensitive crystallization method using copper chloride crystals mixed with samples of the particular plant. Sensitive crystallization is of great consequence to winemaking and winemakers. Its vibrant, beautiful images startlingly illustrate different qualities of a wine: its tasting qualities, its grape type and the nature of the terroir from which it originates, as well as its aging potential. The method also reveals the influence of environmental factors and cultivation, whether intensive, organic or biodynamic. Sensitive crystallization is a valuable new tool which can objectively portray the characteristics of a wine, complementing the subjective assessment of professional wine-tasters.
Christian Marcel trained in agriculture and has run his family farm for the last thirty years. He converted to biodynamic production in 1996 and is a recognized Demeter provider. He has used the method of sensitive crystallization, especially in viticulture, for over twelve years, and has given seminars on the method in France, Italy and California.