Monty Waldin

Biodynamic wine writer, wine critic and wine grower

Photograph of Monty Waldin

Monty Waldin is a biodynamic wine writer, critic, consultant and wine grower and a leading authority on organic wine and biodynamic wine. In 2007 he was the star of the Channel 4's Chateau Monty, following his project to establish a new biodynamic vineyard in the south of France. Monty lives with his Italian partner Silvana and their young son in Tuscany, where their large allotment provides most of their own fruit and vegetables.

Monty Waldin's Biography

Monty Waldin was interested in wine from a young age, as well as being an enthusiast in the garden, and grew up understanding the importance of working with nature. As a teenager Monty went to France for a summer, where he worked for a small château near St-Émilion in Bordeaux and spent much time examining the local vineyeards. Monty Waldin was surprised to find that weeds were routinely sprayed off with weedkillers. He questioned how wines could still taste of the places they came from when whole eco-systems were removed from the vineyard using hazardous herbicides.

In the early 1990s Monty Waldin began selling wine in London and stocked as many organic wines as possible. The first rules legally defining organic farming had just been enacted in Europe, stating that organic farmers could not use chemical herbicides, organophosphate pesticides, soluble fertilizers and plant-penetrating fungicides.

Monty Waldin and Biodynamics

Photograph of Monty Waldin in a field

In 1993 Monty Waldin returned to Bordeaux to work in a winery. Monty found this a great place to learn, as he was able to use almost every 'modern' wine-growing and winemaking tool available. His conclusion was that many of these modern tools were expensive, unnecessary and did not work. Monty Waldin observed that the vines were getting weaker and the wines were becoming boring to drink. The chateau was near bankruptcy.

In Bordeaux Monty Waldin met Paul Barre, a biodynamic grower and winemaker. He was amazed by the quality of Paul Barre's wines and eager to find out how they were made. Barre introduced Monty Waldin to biodynamics and Monty Waldin began visiting every biodynamic wine-grower in Bordeaux and other parts of France. Monty went to work on an organic vineyard in Germany and then a biodynamic vineyard in California, learning about the methods first-hand.

Monty Waldin and Biodynamic Wine Writing

In the mid-1990s Monty Waldin became the first wine writer to specialize in green issues. His first book, The Organic Wine Guide was published whilst Monty developed a biodiversity project for a Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard in California, and was voted Britain's Wine Guide of the Year.

Monty Waldin followed this with the multi award-winning Biodynamic Wines. Monty drew on his winemaking experiences in Chile for Wines of South America winner of America's prestigious James Beard Book Award.

Monty Waldin's other books include Discovering Wine Country: Bordeaux, Discovering Wine Country: Tuscany, and Château Monty. Monty has contributed to Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book, Tom Stevenson's Wine Report and wrote the entries for biodynamics and organics in The Oxford Companion to Wine.

Monty Waldin's Work in Media

In 2007 whilst living in Roussillon in France, Monty Waldin was filmed by Britain's Channel 4 for Chateau Monty, the first ever observational TV documentary on biodynamic winemaking from pruning to bottling. This six part series was broadcast in the UK in 2008 and has since been aired in many other countries and in various languages.

Monty Waldin has also contributed to BBC radio and TV, British newspapers (The Independent, London's Evening Standard, The Daily Mail), and websites (jancisrobinson.com), as well as to wine, travel and environmental publications including Decanter, Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review, World of Fine Wine, The Ecologist, Star & Furrow (journal of the Biodynamic Agricultural Association, UK) and Biodynamics (journal of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association, USA).

Monty Waldin's Work with Biodynamic Institutions

Monty Waldin is the Regional Chair (head judge) for Tuscany at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Monty also consults to biodynamic wine-growers, farmers and gardeners in the UK and Europe, and is a regular speaker at events hosted by the United Kingdom Biodynamic Association and by other similar associations worldwide.

Monty Waldin's Books

Monty Waldin, Monty Waldin's Best Biodynamic Wines: 2013 cover image

Monty Waldin's Best Biodynamic Wines (2013)

Monty Waldin shows us what is so wonderful about biodynamic wine in this indispensable guide for wine drinkers. Monty explains why grapes grown on vines that really connect with their soil, that are not sprayed with standard fertilisers and pesticides, make wine with intense, well-defined flavour – wine that truly tastes of where it's from. Under each style of wine, Monty profiles the best biodynamic vineyards, with snippets of their individual histories and practices, and suggests wonderful wines to sample and savour.

A relaxed, readable but authoritative guide to the best biodynamic wines available, from a master wine writer.

More Information or to Buy Your Copy

Other Publications

The Organic Wine Guide (Thorsons, 1999)

Wines of South America (Mitchell Beazley, 2003)

Biodynamic Wines (Mitchell Beazley, 2004)

Discovering Wine Country: Bordeaux (Mitchell Beazley, 2005)

Discovering Wine Country: Tuscany (Mitchell Beazley, 2006)

Château Monty (Portico, 2008)

As a Contributor

The Oxford Companion to Wine (2006)

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book (Mitchell Beazley)

Tom Stevenson's Wine Report (Dorling Kindersley, 2003)

Monty Waldin Film

Watch Monty Waldin talking about biodynamic wine and wine growing in this fascinating video.

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Photograph of grapes from Tawse Winery

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