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Pre Dinner Tasting Pre Dinner Tasting

Who We Are and Where We Stand

This Beyond the Wine Press website is the latest manifestation of a project that began in the mid 1980s, with a series of “working class” wine dinners held in  Kentish Town, North West London.

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The intention was to offer a civilised alternative to the usual pub based foodless Saturday night piss up.

 

A series of ad hoc dinners was organised, inspired by the belief that a close friend of Karl Marx had attempted something similar, in the  same area, over a hundred  years before.

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Over twenty years from 1985 to 2005, dozens of dinners were organised, hundreds of wines tasted .The dinners offered a simple meal and (depending on the number of diners) up to six bottles of different wines to taste and compare. Occasionally over the years, a dinner was hosted in Paris or in Bordeaux or some other wine region.

 

 Wine writer Hugh Johnson who lived up the hill in Hampstead was invited to attend and inspire an early event, but appeared confused and puzzled by the concept of working class wine dinners and politely declined.

 

By 2005 the main participants had come to believe, that the best wines are made in smallish quantities, by committed, independently minded producers, who have an affinity for wine making.  This, when combined with intimate knowledge of the land, as well as dedicated husbandry in the vineyard, alongside minimal intervention in the wine making process, often produces interesting, exceptionally tasty wines.

 

Naively they believed that such wines were sitting on London’s supermarket shelves just waiting to be discovered by clever guys like themselves. A fruitless quest to discover these non-existent hidden gems was undertaken through a weekly wine column, The Wine Press, published in a small group of independently owned Central London newspapers, of which the main ones were the Camden New Journal (CNJ) and The Islington Tribune (IT).

 

Eventually came the realisation that the kind of real wine they were searching for could not be found on supermarket shelves and even more shocking, that most wine writers did not overly concern themselves with who made a wine or even how a wine is made.

 

In 2008 the column ceased, the final article advising discerning London wine drinkers wanting to taste authentic fermentations, from farmer/winemakers, to board the Eurostar for Paris. This was a hasty judgement, the London Wine scene was changing. This site is dedicated to this change.