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Humble Grape, Islington: ‘Organic, biodynamic, sustainable - what’s not to love?’

PUBLISHED: 14:01 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:15 25 July 2017

Humble Grape in Islington. Picture: Jean Cazals

Humble Grape in Islington. Picture: Jean Cazals

JeanCazals2016

James Dawson founded Humble Grape on the philosophy that everyone should have access to good wine. Zoe Paskett finds out just how good.

Generally speaking, I don’t really know where most of the wine I drink comes from. Unless I’m on holiday sipping a local brew, the closest reference point is the vineyard – it’s not often that you learn the names and faces of the makers.

At the new Humble Grape in Islington, that’s a priority. There’s even a wall of fame where you can see a picture of the makers next to their story.

James Dawson only founded Humble Grape a few years ago but now imports more than 400 wines directly from the vineyards.

He greets us at our table to tell us all about the restaurant and the ethos of the place.

James used to work in the city, importing his own wine directly from boutique vineyards and delivering it himself on his bike during lunch. Realising that many people were interested in knowing the story behind their wines, he decided to start up Humble Grape with the philosophy that great wines should be available to everyone.

Opening two bars in as many years (Battersea and Fleet Street), Humble Grape comes to its newest spot on Theberton Street.

We are seated in the restaurant section at the back, walking through a shop where you can buy a bottle of what you sampled for dinner. Our waiters / sommeliers are jovial and well-versed in the ethos of the place – of course, they know their wines, but they also know exactly which person made each one (it seems that the majority of these have been created by one or two people) and whether or not I’m going to like it. Which I do, for all four they have selected. Munching away on a delectable charcuterie board, we make our way through a sparkling South African Bartinney Noble Savage Methode Cap Classique, a rosé from Bordeaux described as “dry but with notes of candyfloss, Ribena and cherry drops”, a South African Chenin Blanc made by a man whose name translates as Franky Rabbit Pants (it says so on the menu) and – my favourite – an Austrian red, Winzer Schup Zweigelt from Thermenregion “invented by Fritz, made by Gregor, discovered by Desiree”.

Everything is sustainably sourced, largely organic and biodynamic. And the food is brought from independent and ethical suppliers.

What’s not to love?

Humble Grape, 11-13 Theberton Street, N1 0QY

humblegrape.co.uk/islington-wine-bar

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