After more than a decade writing about wine Monty Waldin decided to put his money where his opinionated mouth was and created his own organic, biodynamic wine. He reveals why picking grapes using the moon as a guide changed him - and his outlook on the wine industry He's a good looking man, Monty Waldin - one of those tall, strong, rugged-looking types with dark hair and piercing blue eyes, a cleft chin and a rather French-looking nose.

And while his looks shouldn't have anything to do with it, I'd say it was his nose that's helped him become successful.

Long known as the enfant terrible of the wine industry - his critiques can often make or break a wine's success - this Winchester lad has written tomes on wine making, wine tasting and wine guides, lending him the de facto title of 'organic wine expert' for those in the know.

But after writing about the stuff for two decades, Monty decided he should finally put his money where his mouth was and make his very own wine.

He'd first tried in his teens, but it didn't go down so well - "my wine was a disgustingly sweet, vomit-coloured concoction with an odd, slimy texture".

It wasn't until he was about to turn 40 that he realised trying his hand at wine making again wasn't just a desire, it was a "visceral need".

Had Monty's past life experiences led him down the route of conventional wine tasting, perhaps he would have chosen to make a conventional wine. But Monty - the author of the Organic Wine Guide and the judge of the Soil Association's Organic Wine of the Year Award - had no real choice but to make an organic one.

But even organic wasn't good enough for Monty. No - when it came to making his own, Monty decided he'd settle for nothing less than biodynamic - an agricultural method that avoids pesticides and chemical fertilisers, relies on nature to protect and feed the crops, and uses the lunar cycle for harvesting and pruning the vines.

So Monty traded in his Tuscan villa (where he was writing a wine travel guide) for a vineyard in St-Martin-de-Fenouillet, a tiny village of 40 set in the French Pyrenees, a region responsible for one-third of all French grapes, and gave himself 18 months to make a delectable biodynamic wine. Economic downturn in the wine industry meant that many winegrowers were selling off their vineyards, so it didn't take long for Monty to find his perfect patch - a 5.5 acre, sloping vineyard home to 6,000 Carignan grapes and a stunning view over the mountains.

Once an organic vineyard, Monty's patch required a bit of work to convert it into a biodynamic one (including dumping mountainous tonnes of organic cow manure and spraying the vines with disease-killing sulphur), but the work was well worth it.

"You make better quality produce with biodynamics and you have more fun," Monty explains over a glass of his delicate, slightly fruity red, aptly named Monty's French Red.

"On a basic level, I like the idea of knowing when I'm going to prune my vines - every month there are two weeks when you should prune and two when you shouldn't," he continues.

"Because you're taking care of your vines, you spray them less, they're more resilient, they last longer so you don't have to replant as much, and consequently you don't have to burn as much tractor diesel, plough up the soil or destroy the environment as often.

"To me, it's a no-brainer: I'm lazy, and it's a really easy way to be a farmer."

His hardships and successes over the past 18 months have been recorded in both a book - Chateau Monty - and a six-part series on Channel 4 of the same title.

Both show that Monty wasn't actually all that prepared for the farming life. Sure, he'd grown his own fruit and veg and grew up making compost out of foraged dead leaves and cow pats, but actually running his own vineyard - with non-mechanical equipment, organic farming materials, and his own economic and professional future at stake - was a big risk.

And Monty wasn't without his mishaps. Having forked out a nice sum for his new vineyard, the 40-year-old thought he'd cut costs by buying a van for one Euro - a hunk of junk that nearly landed him in French jail a few times. He also managed to nearly burn his house down and, through no fault of his own, lost nearly 2,000 bottles of his wine after a freak weather incident.

"About three weeks before harvest, a really hot wind blew in from the Sahara," he explains.

"I lost about 30% of my grapes - around 2,000 bottles - but on the plus side, the heat made my wine more concentrated and even nicer."

While some people might think that farming according to the moon is a practice reserved for ancient Druids, Monty believes public opinion is changing as more people become disillusioned with conventional farming.

"Conventional vineyards get replanted every 20 years, and some of them lose centimetres of topsoil every year," Monty explains.

"They're cheap wines because the farmers aren't paying the bill to clean up the mess they create in the water table with their pesticides.

"They don't clean that up - YOU clean that up - with your higher water rates and insurance premiums. People wonder why they pay more for water but they're completely happy to drink cheap wine."

But biodynamic wine isn't just better for our health - it's better for the environment, reducing the number of chemicals in the earth and possibly helping reverse climate change.

"The weather is getting more unpredictable, and the only way to combat that is to have a healthy living soil with life forces that your plant can react to quickly," says Monty.

"Whether that's frost, summer or winter heat, biodynamics is a good insurance against climate change."

Having convinced himself, his neighbours and his village that a Briton can actually make wine as well as the French - Monty's French Red is already selling extremely well - Monty plans to rent more vineyards this year, with some more red, a dry white and a rose all planned for the future.

That's not the only thing on the cards - Monty is soon to be a dad, and he and his long-suffering Italian girlfriend Silvana are expecting to raise the baby boy (due September 4) between her native Tuscany and France.

So for a complete novice at wine-making, Monty's proved that he has the wherewithal to make it happen. But, then again, the wily journalist might have known that all along.

"It was the first thing I was good at," Monty explains.

"I was crap at football, terrible at art, not particularly good at Shakespeare and I definitely didn't want to be a piano player.

"So when my French teacher told me I'd have to go to France to learn French - she didn't like me very much, you see - I ended up on a vineyard and started wine tasting. I've got quite a big nose and," he smiles, "that was that."