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Howard Ripley Wines branches out with Jay Somers and Bob Lindquist

Published:  20 February, 2023

Independent wine importer Howard Ripley Wines has announced the signing of two US growers to its portfolio as it looks to expand beyond its long-standing flagship regions.

Since its founding in 1983, Howard Ripley Wines has focused on the import of small-production wineries mainly from Burgundy and Germany, with a small Italian range, plus a recently added number of small growers from Central Europe, forming part of the portfolio.

Now, the importer is pushing outwards with the wines of Bob Lindquist from California and Jay Somers from Oregon.

The first, JC Somers, is the newest project from veteran Oregon winemaker Jay Somers and partner Ronda Newell-Somers. Somers was previously the winemaker behind the J. Christopher collaboration with Erni Loosen, established in 1996, before leaving to launch his own winery in 2019.

His philosophy is one of sustainability and minimal intervention, focusing on terroir-driven Pinot Noir from the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

The second is Lindquist Family Wines, the project founded by established Californian winemaker Bob Lindquist after stepping back from his successful Qupé Winery label.

After decades of specialising in Germany and Burgundy, the importer says it is “thrilled to be branching out”.

“Both wineries fit exceptionally well into our portfolio, producing pure expressions of fruit and terroir,” Sebastian Thomas, buyer at Howard Ripley Wines, added.

“There are great wines still yet to be discovered in Oregon and California, and we are thrilled to welcome both JC Somers and Lindquist Family Wines to our range.”

An original ‘Rhône Ranger’, Bob Lindquist has been making wine on the Central Coast since 1982. He also has the distinction of making the first varietal Syrah in Santa Barbara County, as the winery focuses on Chardonnay and Rhône varieties from cool climate vineyard sites. Like Somers, Lindquist has a strong sustainable thread weaving through his winemaking. His wines are biodynamic, organic and certified sustainable.

JC Somers meanwhile, focuses on premium, sustainably farmed sites in Abbey Ridge and Bella Vida vineyards. When he isn’t in the vineyards, Somers can be found playing guitar for his band Portland Cement.