Sensitive Crystallization

Visualizing the Qualities of Wines

Christian Marcel; Translated by C. J. Moore

Out of print

Quick Look

  • Visually illustrates the characteristics of a wine including grape type, aging potential and tasting qualities
  • This book is heavily illustrated with the vibrant and beautiful images created by the sensitive crystallization method
  • Sensitive Crystallization is a fascinating read for those interested in viticulture and the biodynamics movement

Explores Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's sensitive crystallization method to visually demonstrate the different qualities of a wine.

240 x 208 mm
Floris Books
Philosophy of the Natural World; Biodynamics & Organics
120 colour illustrations
104 pages
Publication date:
21 Apr 2011


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 leads us carefully step by step from thoughts about formative forces to the methodology of sensitive crystallization, the structure elements of the pictures and continues with the application of the method as a tool to visualizing the qualities of wine.'
-- Archetype

'It is a well laid out book with stunning pictures and a clear introduction into the method and the parameters for successful crystallisation pictures -- for example, the samples need to be in a vibration free space to avoid premature crystallising out. The scientific methodology is built up and illustrated with clear, detailed pictures which give signposts for reading them.

'There is a dearth of good contemporary books on crystallisation in English, so this book is to be welcomed. It gives a good overview of the method and the practical applications of a scientific method that we will be seeing a lot more of in the years to come.'
-- Richard Swann, Star & Furrow

'This is an excellent introduction to the process of sensitive crystallisation, giving historical origins and a detailed description of the process itself, while explaining the underlying idea of formative forces in Nature.'
--David Lorimer, Network Review


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.

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