CAMARILLO : 800 Attend Boys & Girls Club Event

Hundreds of people strolled through the grounds of the Adolfo Camarillo Home on Sunday, sampling gourmet food, sipping fine wine and digging deep into their pockets for a worthy cause.

Organizers of "A Taste of Camarillo," the sixth annual charity event to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo, said they sold more than 800 tickets at $30 each and expected to generate $40,000 or more for the nonprofit group.

"It's become the class wine-tasting in Ventura County," said Rod Franz, a member of the club's board of directors. "All the best wineries and restaurants are here."

The ticket price included as much wine and food as one could sample, and the opportunity to vie for rare and premium vintages donated by winemakers and collectors sold at auction to the highest bidder.

Gary Clark paid $55 for two bottles of some of Sonoma County's finest--a 1989 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1990 Kenwood Zinfandel.

"It's a little over what it's worth, but it's for a good cause," said Clark, a defense-industry worker from Camarillo. "My wife and I don't have any children, so this is a way to repay the community for good organizations like the boys club."

Larry Hines of Camarillo carefully scanned the pages of the auction catalogue, studiously outlining which lots he would bid on. He came away on Sunday with a prized 1989 Hess Collection Mount Veeder reserve, a limited-production Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa County for $55.

"It's an outstanding wine, but in another four or five years it'll be even better," said Hines, who practices law in Oxnard. "I would have gone as high as $75 or $80."

Hines said he is always looking for rare wines to add to his cellar, which now boasts about 120 cases.

Boys & Girls Club board member Glenn Sanders, who owns the Best Buy liquor store in Camarillo and helped organize the festival, surveyed the crowd of buyers and nodded to himself approvingly. The wine tasting and auction represent about 15% of the group's annual receipts, he said.

On this day, however, Sanders' wallet stayed inside his pocket.

"My bride of 42 years is sitting in there," he said, motioning to the bidders. "She knows what to do."

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