In the Biblical story, from the Book of John in the New Testament, Jesus attends a wedding in Cana, and the hosts have run out of wine. Jesus calls for the attendants to bring him six jugs of water, and he miraculously turns them into wine.

“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him,” the Book of John reports.

The meaning of that story is not lost on Darien wine purveyor Nicholas Roberts, which held a charity wine event on Sept. 21 to raise money for a cause that has long been an issue close to their heart: providing clean water to those in need.  With his charity, Turning Wine into Water, an obvious play on the biblical story, Nicholas Troilo, owner of Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines and active Connecticut Roman Catholic, has held a number of events under the name with the goal of “offering a local solution to a global problem.”

Troilo recalled visiting Ethiopia years ago, and seeing a rain fed pond that was the sole source of water for a nearby village. Troilo saw a man gathering water from the pond, which was unusual as it was customarily the job of the woman to gather water.

“He said he was getting water because his wife gave birth the day before,” Troilo said. Troilo recalled watching the man gather what would be his drinking water, and his wife and newborn child, from a pond that animals were using as a toilet or bath.

“Seeing that pond just broke my heart,” Troilo said.

That was the impetus to begin this work. Troilo held an event last October which raised over $15,000. Tickets to the event this year were $50, and dozens of people attended, with proceeds from wine sales during the event also going towards the cause. In an upcoming trip, Troilo will see what his work has already done for the people in that Ethiopian village. A well has been completed for the village that was using the rain fed pond, and the impact is already being felt.

More than just the well, the cause focuses on educating the local people who will use the well. The well now provides clean drinking water, which actual will save lives. The cost of the well was $200,000, and it will provide lifetimes of health for the people who can now use it.

“Thousands of kids each year die in that region because they don’t have access to clean water,” said Troilo. “Living in this part of the world, we simply have no idea what that is really like.”

Troilo’s son, Robert, was extremely proud of the work being done by his father so far.

“It's great to see that result of what you've worked for and how it's really changed people's lives,” Robert said.

The event itself featured a number of wines that attendees could sample. A food truck from Valencia Luncheria was parked out front as well to provide dinner to all those who came.

In the coming months, Troilo will personally go to Ethiopia to visit the site of the new well and see first hand the difference that people can make with something that seems so trivial to us in Connecticut. After that, Troilo plans to visit another site in Ethiopia to see if work can be done to provide water again. After that, Troilo plans to visit Syria as well as he continues to search out places that require help with basic human needs.