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Sotheby’s head of wine to join NFT marketplace BlockBar

Jamie Ritchie, the head of Sotheby’s Wine and Spirits team, is to join BlockBar, the first direct-to-consumer non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for wine and spirits, as its COO in July.

Jamie Ritchie – CEO Sotheby’s Wine Americas & Asia

Ritchie, who will take up his new role on 6 July, is a leading auctioneer and authority on wines and spirits who during his 32 years at the Sotheby’s wine department has built a reputation for innovation, strategic planning, client service, relationships and operational excellence.

He said that he was looking forward to “a new challenge and adventure with a dynamic group of people, who share the same vision and values”.

BlockBar’s co-founder and CEO Dov Falic said he was “honoured” that Ritchie had chosen to join an innovative start-up like BlockBar, calling it a “a testament to the company’s business model” that will enable it to play a leading role in the evolution of the distribution of wine and spirits worldwide.

The new appointment “further cements BlockBar’s position as a global leader in Web 3.0 and blockchain wine and spirits investment”, the company said, demonstrating the rising importance of Web 3.0 to the secondary market of luxury bottles.

“More people than ever are purchasing liquid assets, both for consuming with friends and for investment, and BlockBar simplifies the purchase process,” he said. “Based on the tremendous response to the unique bottles offered on our platform during our first year of operations, we are very confident about BlockBar’s rapid growth and we project significant revenue multiples over the next few years.”

Ritchie joined Sotheby’s in 1990, rising to become Head of Sotheby’s global wine business in May 2016. He was responsible for launching Sotheby’s wine auctions in New York in 1994, in Hong Kong in 2009 and France, as well as establishing Sotheby’s spirits category. Revenues of Sotheby’s wine and spirits auction rose to $132 million under his leadership and he holds the records for selling the most expensive bottles of both wine and spirits.

BlockBar, which was founded in October 2021by Dov and his cousins Sam Falic, sources exclusive wine and spirits direct from luxury brand owners, including Moët Hennessy, Diageo, Rémy Cointreau, Bacardi, Treasury Wine Estates, Pernod Ricard and William Grant & Sons. Every physical bottle sold on comes with a digital version that guarantees its authenticity and can be traced back to the winery or distillery, and can be resold, gifted or redeemed for the physical bottle at any time.

Physical bottles are stored in a state-of-the-art facility in Singapore and can be shipped door-to-door anywhere in the world or made available for pickup at 250+ duty free retail locations.

Read more:

Are NFTs the future of the premium drinks market?

Sotheby’s fine wine boss optimistic about market’s underlying stability

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