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Napa Valley Unites for 25th Anniversary of Roots of Peace – Turning ‘Mines to Vines’. Prominent California Vintners Transform Minefields to Vineyards Worldwide

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September 8, 2022—Napa Valley, California—On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Roots of Peace, a humanitarian non-profit, leaders of the California wine industry and diplomats will gather in the Napa Valley with a message to bring forth peace through agriculture worldwide on September 8, 2022.  Mayor John Dunbar of Yountville has proclaimed Roots of Peace Day in tribute to farmers in Ukraine, Afghanistan and worldwide who suffer the perils of landmines during this harvest season.

In September 1997, Roots of Peace began with a vision of turning ‘MINES TO VINES’—replacing landmines with vineyards and orchards. Heidi Kuhn, Founder and CEO, was deeply inspired by the work of the late Princess Diana who raised global landmine awareness prior to her tragic death, and set forth on a quest to eradicate an estimated 60 million landmines in 60 countries.  The Napa Valley vintners were her first supporters, as they raised funds to support farmers in war-torn lands who must harvest their crops in minefields.

For the past quarter of a century, Roots of Peace has raised funds to remove over 100,000 landmines and plant over six (6) million fruit trees benefiting millions of farmers and families in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Guatemala, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Vietnam providing food security and jobs in war-torn lands through export and trade.

The Culinary Institute of America at COPIA will be planting an ‘olive tree’ of peace on the soils of Napa Valley.

“We are proud to join with Roots of Peace to celebrate their 25 years of actively saving lives and promoting agriculture and sustainability in the world through their actions”.

Thomas Bensel, Managing Director of Culinary Institute of America at COPIA. 

At CIA at COPIA, Executive Chef Dominic Orsini will make his debut by creating a ‘Taste of Peace’ luncheon featuring spices cultivated from former war-torn lands. This will include Black pepper from the former battlefields of the Vietnam War, saffron from Herat, Afghanistan, and other delicacies which grow when the earth is nurtured and cultivated.

The Roots of Peace MINES TO VINES forum will begin at 11:00am with a dialogue featuring the Consul(s) General of Ukraine, Croatia, and Vietnam. Prominent women vintners Violet Grgich and Maria Castellucci will join with Heidi Kuhn as Moderator to discuss the impact of landmines on farmland, and the importance of cultivating peace through agriculture.

In January 2000, Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich joined Heidi Kuhn to walk the minefields of his beloved homeland of Croatia.  Now, at age 99, he continues his work for peace alongside his daughter, Violet. “We continue to support Roots of Peace truly transformative work of cultivating peace through agriculture throughout the world, and we invite you to join us in celebrating this inspiring milestone as we approach the next 25 years.” 

“As Mayor, it’s my pleasure to declare September 8, 2022, “Roots of Peace Day” in the Town of Yountville,”

“We celebrate the 25 years founder and CEO Heidi Kuhn and the organization have dedicated to replacing landmines for grapevines and other crops to support peace and prosperity around the world. We also honor the role many icons of the Napa Valley wine country have played in advancing this humanitarian mission.”

Said Yountville Mayor John Dunbar.

“This is a deeply humbling moment for Roots of Peace, as we seek to alleviate the suffering of farmers worldwide who bravely face the perils of landmines during this harvest season,” stated Heidi Kuhn.

“As we reflect upon the past 25 years, we are deeply motivated to accelerate the path to global peace. The journey of the next 25 years begins on September 8, in the heart of the Napa Valley.”

Kuhn added:

“The earth finds itself on fire right now, as we experience record-high temperatures across the West Coast, and rampant wildfires in every corner of the American West. We must listen to the earth, and work to heal the wounds we inflict upon it. Landmines pierce the skin of mother nature, and it is in our power to heal these wounds. To bring healing to our planet, as the earth continues to scream out in agony around us. We have it within our power to eradicate landmines from the face of the earth. Let it begin now.”  

Heidi Kuhn.
Photo Left to right: John Reggio, Director, Restaurant and Special Events; Dominic Orsini, Executive Chef; Heidi Kuhn, Founder and CEO, Roots of Peace; Thomas Bensel, Managing Director, CIA California. Sept 6, 2022.
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Family-owned and operated since 1977, Grgich Hills Estate is devoted to the art of winemaking and organic and regenerative farming. Today, we pursue the same vision of winemaking, cultivation, and hospitality passed down for generations. Visit our Rutherford winery, home to award-winning wines, renowned for their elegance, balance, and food-friendliness, for a seated tasting of our current releases. For more information, please visit


For the past 25 years, Roots of Peace has worked in war-torn countries around the world to remove the remnants of war, landmines and unexploded ordinances, and restore the land in order to rebuild peaceful communities for generations to come. 

More than 500 million smallholder farming households across the world live on less than $2 a day. Building a sustainable, regenerative source of income that gives families livelihoods and stability is one of the most pressing issues to be addressed in post-conflict countries. With the help of Roots of Peace, farmers are addressing the key challenges to increased income by applying modern technology and farming techniques that result in increased yields and sustainability. 

The Roots of Peace “Mines to Vines” approach has impacted over one million farmers and families. By removing landmines and the remnants of war, Roots of Peace frees land held hostage by unrest. In Afghanistan, it has facilitated the export of fresh fruits, nuts and spices to markets around the world, contributing to the increase in Afghan agricultural exports from $250 million in 2014 to over $1.4 billion in 2020. Roots of Peace’s award-winning methodology is rooted in building a business model for peace: providing market-driven solutions tailored to rural communities in war-torn lands and serving as a catalyst for industry-wide development across the world. 

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Press Contact: James Faccinto 

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