Howard Ripley, a
dentist, started importing wines in 1983 while still practising. Initially he sold only to a few friends, but soon found that friends of friends contacted him asking to buy. A few years later he approached a top Michelin-starred restaurant with his, by now, large list of classic burgundies from many of the best domaines. To his delight and somewhat to his amazement, both he and his wines were enthusiastically received. London
Over the years the business slowly grew, to the extent that the company now imports one of the largest selections of top domaines available in the UK and carries an unbeatable backlist of vintages from the region's leading growers. In 2000 Sebastian Thomas joined the business as Howard gradually moved into retirement. Sebastian brought a love of fine German wines and the company began assembling a large list of fine German wines to complement the Burgundy list.
Sebastian is joined in the office by Jo-Ann Barrie, Paule Rebeyrolle, Oliver Burton and our trade team James Comyn & Wieteke Teppema.
The business caters for private buyers, restaurants and corporate clients. Tastings are held three times yearly and are timed to match the release of the new Burgundy and German vintages. If you would like to join our mailing list, please sign up here.
Originally from Amsterdam, Wieteke washed up on these shores in the late 90s. She began her working career as a photographer before turning to hospitality, spending many years working as a sommelier at restaurants such as The Square and The Ledbury. She joined is mid-2015, and can now be spotted cycling around London with a bag of wine, championing Riesling and Pinot Noir.
Record collector, occasional running enthusiast and Riesling lover, Oliver started in the wine trade in 2013, having previously worked for several years in a managerial role at a well-known London wine bar and a long and distinguished career as a disc jockey. He joined the Howard Ripley team in September 2014, and works closely with our trade sales directors providing sales support and credit control for all trade accounts.
Paule fell in love with wine a few years ago during a visit to Australia. She continued her affair throughout her university career in France, before moving to London in 2013 and joining us a year afterwards. She is responsible for sales and buying support, and has an awesome eye for detail. She is currently studying for the WSET diploma.
Sebastian Thomas came late to wine. He began his career in book publishing, but after some years found he was thinking more of bottles than books. His first job was selling wine to New York restaurants; on his return to the UK he worked for Laytons, where he fell head over heels for Burgundy. Lured by Howard Ripley’s fabulous collection of Burgundian domaines, he joined him in 2000, and introduced a portfolio of his other love, German wines. Like all decent upstanding people, he is married, has two children and lives very close to Surrey.
Jo-Ann started with us in 2011 as an administrative assistant. Prior to this she’d spent many years behind the counter of a wine shop in Edinburgh, trying to persuade her customers to spend more than £4.99. A stint of work experience in a New Zealand winery reaffirmed her love for the industry and she found herself at Howard Ripley shortly after. Since then she’s completed her WSET diploma and is in charge of running the office.
James started his career like any graduate in philosophy would: he worked in a bar. Bitten by the wine bug, he embarked on the life of a sommelier, taking in top restaurants such as Pied a Terre and the Australian subcontinent on the way. Seduced to the dark side of wine sales, he is responsible for restaurants and other trade channels.
Roxy is a dog. She is not interested in wine. Mystery that she’s on the payroll really.