While delivering the most remarkable Bordeaux wine experience in the United States to our carefully selected guests, BurdiGala aims at giving back to the community and is proud to present the two charities that will be receiving the proceeds of the live auction held during the Gala Dinner: Food for Soul & Wheeling Forward.
Jamie Ritchie, Head of Sotheby’s global wine business, will be our auctioneer.
Food for Soul was created in 2016 by the famed three Michelin stars Chef Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore. The non-profit organization offers a creative new way to draw attention to the food waste situation and uses culture as a way of strengthening community resilience, opening opportunities for social mobility and advocating for healthy, equitable food systems.
With the help of different partners, Food For Soul restores and renovates neglected or underused spaces transforming them into inspiring community living spaces, called “Refettorios”, open Monday to Friday, where people in situations of social vulnerability can feel welcome, and enjoy a complimentary meal prepared with surplus food, that would otherwise go to waste, perfectly edible products donated from markets, supermarkets and local producers.
Wheeling forward steps in to help recently disabled people that lack a support system and resources to obtain the services they need, with a focus on educational attainment, employment procurement, health and wellness, community integration, housing acquisition, and personal fulfillment.
The founders, Alex Elegudin and Yannick Benjamin met after sustaining spinal cord injuries in the same month. Alex was just 19 and Yannick was 25. Young and determined to persevere, Alex returned to school to become an attorney and Yannick went to college while becoming an esteemed sommelier.
After years of volunteering in the disability community, Alex and Yannick decided to use their experience and networks to tackle challenging, underserved areas of need. In 2011, they founded Wheeling Forward with a group of committed board members.
Jamie Ritchie is Chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, Worldwide. He joined Sotheby’s in 1990 and has been responsible for expanding Sotheby’s wine business from being an auction house with sales based only in London to a multi-channel international wine merchant with 2019 sales significantly exceeding $125 million. Since 1994, he has been based in New York, having started Sotheby’s US wine auctions. He launched wine auctions in Hong Kong in 2009 and launched Sotheby’s Wine retail business in New York in 2010 and Hong Kong in 2014. More recently, Sotheby’s has expanded into the spirits business achieving the record highest value auction with the $10 million Ultimate Whisky Collection in 2019.
Mr. Ritchie is one of the world’s leading wine auctioneers, holding 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 continues to conduct Sotheby’s wine auctions, donate his services to many benefit auctions, and to lead tastings around the United States. He is a respected authority on the wine market and has been regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Wine Spectator Magazine.