When Ted Mandes was nine-years-old, he went on a school field trip to hear a concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. For the young Mandes it was a come-to-culture experience, one that would have an effect on the rest of his life and would lead him to find a way so that young people in South Florida would be exposed to the performing arts like he was.
In 2007, the former pro golfer chose the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach County as the perfect venue for his plan; and to provide funding for school field trips to the Kravis, he proposed creating the Palm Beach Wine Auction. The first auction was in 2008, attracted 120 people to The Breakers on Palm Beach, and raised $250,000. And the rest is history. As Mandes notes, “We’re not in the same league as the wine auctions in Napa and Naples, which raise millions of dollars a year, so we have to work harder.” And so he does.
Mandes is, in his own way, a one-man band. It’s he who gets the extraordinary wines, trips and luxury goods donated for the auction; and it’s he who prevails on chefs from around the country to provide their services for the memorable dinner each year. And it’s because of him that Michael Troise, the retired specialist in the wine department of Christie’s in New York, agrees to serve as auctioneer each year. But it all pays off in the end. Over the years, the Palm Beach Wine Auction has raised over $2 million, benefitting 60,000 school children every year.
Nine-year-old Ted Mandes went on a field trip and had an epiphany, and the young people of South Florida are the beneficiaries of that trip today.
– Bob Hosmon
IF YOU GO
The eighth annual Palm Beach Wine Auction will take place on Jan. 29 at the Mar-a-Lago Club on Palm Beach. Attendance is limited to 200, and tickets are $1,000. For more information, go to palmbeachwineauction.org or call 561-651-4320.