Sommelier Yannick Benjamin of University Club of New York - Biography

New York,

September 2016

New Yorker Yannick Benjamin is head sommelier at the University Club and lead lecturer for Saturday seminars at Le Du’s Wines in the West Village. A visit to Bordeaux at 13 inspired Benjamin to pursue wine as a career, and he went on to work at Le Cirque, Oceana, Jean-Georges, and Atlas before becoming a sommelier at Felidia and Atelier at the Ritz-Carlton.
In 2003, a car accident left Benjamin paralyzed below the waist. He quickly adapted, outfitting his wheelchair with a table that allows him to continue to perform the tasks required of his profession. 
Benjamin is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and has competed in more than 20 major sommelier competitions, including the 5th Annual Somm Slam at ICC—in which he was named the grand champion.  
Beyond the world of wine, Benjamin works tirelessly on behalf of his nonprofit organization, Wheeling Forward, which he started with Alex Elegudin in 2012. Their mission is to provide guidance and resources to disabled individuals, focusing on education, employment, wellness, community integration, housing acquisition, and personal fulfillment. A para-athlete, Benjamin competes in marathons to raise money for his advocacy group.
In 2015, he starred in “Uncorked”, a documentary series about sommeliers on Esquire TV. Benjamin  also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Wine Spectator, and Forbes.