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An independent wine-merchant based in London, Humble Grape which was founded by wine expert, James Dawson, has been seeking out hand-crafted wines from relatively unknown vineyards around the world since 2009. What’s more, the wines available are biodynamic, organic or from sustainable vineyards. Here is what James had to share with us.
How did you start off in the industry?
I became very interested in wine while living in France in 1999. A good friend’s father was a master chef an paired a different wine with almost every course. I fell in love with wine and would rent a car and travel to the wine lands as often as possible. I became more and more interested in wine over the years and read voraciously on the topic. While on holiday with my wife in 2008 we decided to start a wine business.
What appealed to you the most?
The romantic nature of this beautiful product. The setting in the countryside, the vineyards and the artisan and pure nature of the wine making process.
Which is your ultimate food dish and wine to accompany?
At Humble Grape we don’t pair food and wine – we pair wine to people. Everyone has a different genetic tasting profile so we give them a short vinotyping test (https://www.myvinotype.com/en/) and then let them choose what wines to have with their favorite dishes.
Which is your favorite wine region?
I love them all but have a particular affinity for France and South Africa due to my history.
If anyone wanting to learn, do you have any top tips? Where’s best to start?
Start doing a WSET course at the London Bridge School, read everything you can get your hands on including Decanter magazine and my favorite wine book – “Reading Between the Wines: Terry Thiese”.
If you could live on one wine, which would it be and why?
That’s not possible…please don’t ask me that! Jokes aside, it would have to be a Pinot Noir from Burgundy or California from one of my favorite producers like Dutton Goldfield or Thibault Liger-Belair.