October 2023
Vol 9 | Issue 608

Q&A with Jamie Ritchie of BlockBar


Luminary Series:

I am excited to announce my new role as COO at BlockBar, an innovative marketplace that leverages blockchain technology to connect consumers with the highest quality wines and spirits directly from producers.

At Sotheby’s, where I served as the Worldwide Chairman of Wines & Spirits, I played a pivotal role in transforming Sotheby’s into the leading global fine wine and spirits auction house known for innovation, excellence, and integrity. During my tenure, I successfully drove international growth by expanding geographically and through new channels, taking revenues from less than $5M in 1990 to over $140 million in 2021.

Throughout my career, I embraced an “intrapreneurial” approach, harnessing market knowledge, an innovative vision, and strategic acumen to pioneer the growth of the traditional auction business by introducing expanding auctions to new locations: New York (1994); Hong Kong (2009), France (2021) and establishing Sotheby’s Wine retail businesses: New York (2010) & Hong Kong (2014).

Innovative initiatives include the creation of “Sotheby’s Own Label Collection” in 2019, introducing the Spirits category in 2019 and the merging of the charity and commercial auction worlds through partnerships with the Hospices de Beaune in 2021, the Worshipful Company of Distillers in 2021 and Napa Valley Vintners in 2022.

I have been fortunate to be part of the team that orchestrated record-setting auctions, including Premiere Napa Valley 2023 ($3M), Hospices de Beaune 2022 ($32 million), Distillers One of One 2021 ($4M), The Ultimate Whisky Collection 2019 ($10M), Transcendent Wines 2019 ($30M), The Cellar of William I. Koch 2016 ($22 million) among many others.

As an auctioneer, I had the honour to sell the most expensive bottle of wine for $558,000 for 1 bottle of Romanée-Conti 1945,in 2018 and the most expensive bottle of wine or spirits for $1.9 million for one bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare, 60 Year Old, 1926 in 2019.

I have experience building international businesses across diverse cultures, expertise in fine, rare, and everyday wines and spirits, and extensive knowledge of the retail and auction sectors. My focus is on strategy, leadership, innovation, leveraging new technology, and developing strong relationships.

My approach is to create a world-class team that values teamwork, trust, respect, and integrity while excelling in client service, relationships, and operational excellence. I am thrilled to bring my expertise to BlockBar, and I look forward to contributing to its growth and success.

Jamie and BlockBar have kindly offered FOI members a $50.00 voucher.

Code: Provided During Webinar

This means that anyone in our FOI community who purchases on BlockBar can redeem a $50 voucher off their bottle purchase.

Voucher code is valid for 12 months.

FOI does not participate in any revenue share or commission of your purchases.

Please do not share this with other than your fellow FOI members.

FOI does not participate in any revenue share or commission of your purchases.


October 05, 2023 at 11:15am-:12:15pm EST
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Jamie Ritchie of BlockBar

Jamie Ritchie recently left his role as Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Wines & Spirits to join BlockBar, an innovative new marketplace, as Chief Operating Officer.

Jamie had been with Sotheby’s for more than 32 years. He joined Sotheby’s in London in 1990 and was responsible for setting-up Sotheby’s wine auctions in New York in 1994, Hong Kong in 2009 and France in 2021, as well as Sotheby’s Spirits category in 2019. In 2010, Mr. Ritchie launched Sotheby’s Wine, a retail store and online wine business, located at their flagship headquarters in New York, with a second location in the Sotheby’s gallery in Hong Kong. A range of Sotheby’s Own Label wines was introduced in 2019. Mr. Ritchie also initiated Sotheby’s new auction partnerships with the Hospices de Beaune (2021), The Worshipful Company of Distiller’s (2021) and the Napa Valley Vintners (2022). Under his leadership, Sotheby’s worldwide wine & spirits auction business achieved record sales of $132 million in 2021.

Mr. Ritchie is one of the world’s leading wine auctioneers, having presided over many
extraordinary and record breaking Single Owner auctions and holds the records for selling the most expensive bottles of wine and spirits: 1 bottle of Romanée-Conti 1945 for $558,000 in 2018; and 1 bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 60 Year Old 1926 for $1.9 million in 2019.

Mr. Ritchie is a respected authority on the wine and spirits market and has been regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg and Wine Spectator.

Contact Jamie: jamie@blockbar.com