Cambodia's Future Light Orphanage, which houses 285 children, received a $17,000 boost in late April from wine lovers around the world. A wine auction, held at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Phnom Penh and online through Auctionvine.com, raised the money by selling 30 lots of wine from California wineries and private collections.
Held on April 28, the Cambodia wine auction was put together by Wente Vineyards of Livermore Valley, Calif., which got involved in the cause through its export activity in Asia.
"Wine is like an international language," said John Schwartz, Wente Vineyards' vice president of international operations. "It was the perfect tool for attracting attention to this important effort."
The highest bids were for an 18-bottle collection of Wente Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 1997, which sold for $1,250; a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1996, at $955; and six bottles of Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1994, for $535.
The Future Light Orphanage was founded in the late 1970s by Nuon Phaly, a woman whose husband was murdered by the infamous Khmer Rouge regime. She began Future Light as a counseling center for depressed women, but later started taking care of many of these women's children. Future Light now provides for children ranging from 2 to 16 years old, teaching them English, music and computer literacy.