Burch Family Wines Blog

Wine A Symbol Of Transformation


Wine traditionally is the central symbol for transformation. Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives. Wine is a mirror held up to nature. The process of winemaking is that of transformation, a result of breaking wholes into parts and integrating parts into wholes, grapes into wine. The grape transforms itself simply by being broken by man, because it transforms itself with nothing else. Wine as the result of a natural rather than industrial process – a transformation of fresh grapes into something extraordinary, whose distinctive character and quality come directly from a place, from the specific terroir in which it is grown.

For thousands of years, it was men and women who performed the harvest dance in barrels and presses that began the grapes transformation from particles of sunlight and water held together in clusters of fruit to the most healthful and mystical of all beverages - wine. 

Winemaking is a most fascinating and complex transformation process of a raw plant material. It starts with the arrival of the harvest at the cellar and ends with the most active and decisive fermentation steps. After this, for some wines, comes the long aging period of the wine, during which the bouquet and taste of the wine is developed and refined. The transformation of grape must in wine is a priori a spontaneous phenomenon. The microbial complex present on the grape berry is exposed to a new ecosystem when the grapes are crushed and pressed. It then evolves spontaneously following the conditions dictated by both the nature of the microorganisms present and the composition of the community.

Without the skill, attention and care of the viticulturist, oenologist and winemaker, the system would evolve into a fermented product, the quality of which would have little effect in satisfying. This expertise is based on artistry and scientific knowledge of the phenomena that occur in this complex environment.

In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, the ever-mercurial Mephisto proclaims the secret of life and creation as "Formation, transformation, eternal spirit's eternal re-creation." Alchemical symbolism also illustrates this process: Lead becomes gold, the stone becomes the philosopher's stone, the 'massa confusa' becomes the elixr of life. Basic substances and elements, which symbolize unconscious processes, are transformed into incorruptible states of mind. The transformation from darkness to renewed life is depicted by alchemical operation. A black substance obtained from mixing mercury with melted sulphur (the 'Ethiops' or 'Moor') was baked until it gave off a vapour, which was condensed into a valuable blood-red pigment, vermilion or cinnabar. If the vapour wasn't captured correctly, all that remained was a black residue. The paradigm of transformation, from nigredo (blackening) into rubedo (reddening), repeats itself throughout life as part of the ongoing process of transformation, although it symbolizes true and lasting change, is not a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, but rather a means by which we move toward wholeness and integration. As the alchemists said "The goal is the art."

What is transformation? In 1877 Ludwig Boltzmann presented his interpretation on the laws of conservation, and Einstein, Freeman Dyson, and Buckminster Fuller listened to him; only a handful of people. In all his mathematics he said that if there is something expanding and radiating out there must be something which is contracting and gravitating in, in exact and proportional simultaneity, for the conservation laws to match. They didn’t want to listen to him because there was a theory at the time of a dead-ended universe that was eventually going to freeze itself out. That was the theory, and tradition and the church supported it – god created this something out of nothing, ex nihilo. That is completely erroneous. You can’t get something out of nothing. There are other explanations for the red shift, and there are other explanations for Hubble’s effect.

Scientists are human and prone to errors of judgment even the ‘best’ of them, thoughts can be calcified in their brain and they could be stuck in a paradigm, going off on a wild goose chase for sometimes 60 years until someone comes along and blows that belief to smithereens and revolutionizes it. A Kepler or Galileo says, “Oh, by the way, we go around the sun.” Major paradigm shifts occur. If Boltzmann had mastered finances, if he had financial power, he would have shifted the whole paradigm at that time. He had no financial power or network so his ideas were limited in their effects. Because of those lacks Boltzman’s ideas sat there, fallow, and if some other great scientists hadn’t happened to dig up his writings they would never have surfaced.

Boltzmann created a series of equations in physics. He was a physicist and chemist who worked primarily in thermodynamics, and said that you cannot have entropy by itself. The paradigm he was facing at the time was that there is only thermodynamics and entropy, that everything is running from order to chaos. He said that implied a paradox. One, that there had to be something that started the order in the first place. If it’s running away from order, what gave it the original order? He kept questioning that. And two, if you go all the way to thermodynamic equilibrium, you create a subtle form of order. If it starts from order, and goes to thermodynamic order, there must be a connection between them. He said life itself doesn’t go through thermodynamic entropy – life is an uphill game. He said there must be life from the most thermodynamically equilibrated to the most non-thermodynamically equilibrated, on all levels there must be life. Even though we don’t see or acknowledge it, it must exist, to give order back and have conservation. He said it’s ridiculous that everyone agrees with conservation in the first law of thermodynamics, and defies it in the second where it’s said to be running towards disorder. The first says it’s perfectly equated, the second says it’s not. They’re in total contradiction.

In 1865, one of the central founders of the science of thermodynamics Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius the German mathematician and physicist first gave a mathematical version of the concept of entropy, and gave it its name. He used the now abandoned unit 'Clausius' (symbol: CL) for entropy. Clausius chose the word "entropy" because the meaning, from Greek, en+tropein, is "content transformative" or "transformation content".

We haven’t found anything to contradict the laws of conservation, but what we do have is a group of individuals who are caught in a paradigm that won’t allow evolution to proceed. They think we have a dead-ended universe and it’s all going to burn out, go into freezing nothingness, that the big bang is just going to go pfft! After Boltzmann’s work was revived, a new theory of consciousness came out postulating an oscillating universe that expands and contracts, or that maybe we’ll have complete contraction and will return to a furnace of order again. This is where the astronomer Edwin Hubble came in and said, “We have to answer this question. Is it going to keep expanding, or contract, or sit stationary, or just oscillate?”

There is no expansion without simultaneous contraction, and the net effect is completely conserved. Boltzmann was saying that from the beginning but didn’t write it in those terms; he just knew there had to be something gravitating. The law of matter and mortality is mortal, dead, entropy. Unless scientists can cross the chasm and explore the imponderable, which Bucky, Newton, and Einstein were able to do because they were not charged against the imponderable, they won’t see it. They’re functioning from their mortal nature that dies, and they’re living in a theory that dies. Life is there and it moves uphill.

The next stage was the thermodynamic entropists saying, “Well, we can’t do that without losing energy, or by means of negative entropy – accelerating the breakdown of something to build something else up.” That’s one step closer to the conservation laws, and that’s where we are today. We’re one step away from the realization that there is no entropy or syntropy, that they are both simultaneously generating and annihilating each other.

The first law of thermodynamics states that neither energy nor matter can be truly generated nor annihilated, only constructively and destructively transformed, stepped up and stepped down in vibration. Therefore you cannot have destructive without being simultaneously constructive. All we can do is transform. There exists a meta-static equilibrium consisting of simultaneous catastrophic destructive (Entropic break-down and down-grading) and anastrophic constructive (Syntropic build-up and up-grading) polarities. These polarities cause transformative change. Evolution is this transformation.

At all tangible levels of the universe, at all levels of existence, both construction and destruction simultaneously occur (“creative destruction” or “destructive creation”). Evolution demands a constant constructive and destructive turnover of the elements. In Indian Hindu philosophy, Brahma -Vishnu -Shiva represents the construction-maintenance-destruction of the universe. The Greek philosopher Empedocles believed nothing either comes into being or is destroyed but that things are merely transformed, depending on the ratio of basic substances, to one another. If we think in small terms rather than big pictures, and look in small time frames we see local irregularities, longer time frames and thinking in broader geological time show more equilibrium, the longer the time frame the greater the balance. With small time frames to look non-locally for the balance, and with longer time frames balances locally.

Structure                                Transforming Equilibrium

Matter/Energy                         Entropy                   Syntropy

Universes                               Big Bangs               Big Crunches

Super Galaxies                      Formed                    Disintegrated

Stars                                         Formed                    Disintegrated

Planets                                     Formed                    Disintegrated

Metabolism                             Anabolism               Catabolism

Autonomic Nervous System   Parasympathetic      Sympathetic

Organs                                     Formed                    Disintegrated

Tissues                                    Formed                    Disintegrated

Cells                                         Formed                    Disintegrated

Molecules                                Formed                    Disintegrated

Redox Reactions                   Reduction (H2)       Oxidation (O2)

Atoms                                       Formed                    Disintegrated

Subatomic Particles              Formed                    Disintegrated

The second law of thermodynamics states that though work can be turned into heat and friction, the reverse process of turning heat entirely into work is not allowed. The second law however poses a formidable problem, since the principles of mechanics are irreversible in time and therefore do not suffice to explain any natural behavior that is irreversible. In solving this problem Boltzmann introduced probability concepts into physics and finally understood that the second law itself is only a statement of probabilities and does not represent an absolute truth.

“Much like Shiva in Hindu Mythology, the universe often destroys with one hand while creating with the other”(As stars age, some explode as supernovas, compressing the surrounding gas and triggering still more star formation.)- Scientific American, September. 1997 p.22

“Nothing retains its own form; but Nature, the greater renewer, ever makes up forms from forms. Be sure there’s nothing perishes in the whole universe; it does but vary and renew its form”- Ovid, Roman poet (43 BC – AD 17/18), ‘Metamorphoses’ (p. 243 – from Book XV, 252-255).

Luigi Fantappie (190I - 1956), The Law of Syntropy:“I have no doubts about the date when I discovered the law of syntropy. It was in the days just before Christmas 1941, when as a consequence of conversations with two colleagues, a physicists and a biologist, I was suddenly projected in a new panorama, which radically changed the vision of science and of the Universe which I had inherited from my teachers, and which I had always considered the strong and certain ground on which to base my scientific investigations. Suddenly I saw the possibility of interpreting a wide range of solutions (the anticipated potentials) of the wave equation which can be considered the fundamental law of the Universe. These solutions had been always rejected as “impossible”, but suddenly they appeared “possible”, and they explained a new category of phenomena which I later named ‘syntropic”, totally different from the entropic ones, of the mechanical, physical and chemical laws, which obey only the principle of classical causation and the law of entropy. Syntropic phenomena, which are instead represented by those strange solutions of the “anticipated potentials”, should obey two opposite principles of finality (moved by a final cause placed in the future, and not by a cause which is placed in the past): differentiation and non-causable in a laboratory. This last characteristic explained why this type of phenomena had never been reproduced in a laboratory, and its finalistic properties justified the refusal among scientists, who accepted without any doubt the assumption that finalism is a “metaphysical” principle, outside Science and Nature. This assumption obstructed the way to a calm investigation of the real existence of this second type of phenomena; an investigation which I accepted to carry out, even though I felt as if I were falling in a abyss, with incredible consequences and conclusions. It suddenly seemed as if the sky were falling apart, or at least the certainties on which mechanical science had based its assumptions. It appeared to me clear that these “syntropic”, finalistic phenomena which lead to differentiation and could not be reproduced in a laboratory, were real, and existed in nature, as I could recognize them in the living systems. The properties of this new law, opened consequences which were just incredible and which could deeply change the biological, medical, psychological, and social sciences.”

Category: Philosophy