November 20, 2017
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Turning wine into water and providing local disaster relief

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
November 3, 2017

On the weekend of November 10 – 12, more than 20 boutique Sonoma County wineries, as well as local restaurants and hotels, will participate in the third annual V2V, (Vineyards to Villages) Wine and Food Safari. This weekend-long wine and food extravaganza marks the major annual fundraiser for the program by Rohnert Park-based nonprofit Global Partners for Development, who facilitates the funds supporting clean water initiatives in East African schools and villages.  This year, in light of the recent devastation by the North Bay wildfires, half of the proceeds will be going to local disaster relief. 

“The proceeds for Vineyards to Villages particularly go towards a region in Western Kenya, called the Kasipul constituency,” says Daniel Casanova, Executive Director for Global Partners for Development. “We’ve identified about 18 schools in that region that have no access to water infrastructure, whatsoever. When we come in with one of these water projects, we are not only piping water for that school, but it will also go into community kiosks so that those communities, for the first time, have access to clean water.”

The Vineyards to Villages program started about three years ago by David Stare, Founder of Dry Creek Vineyard and President of the Board of Directors of Global Partners for Development, with the idea that by creating a partnership with the local wine industry and community leaders in Africa, the organization could literally “turn wine into water” by funding clean water infrastructure in areas with no access to potable water. To date, the event has raised over $150,000 and has brought clean water to eight schools and more than 25,000 children and their families in western Kenya. V2V hopes to fund clean water infrastructure in at least 30 schools by 2020.

“Dave Stare wanted to find a way to engage the Sonoma wine industry into the work we were doing around water,” says Casanova. “The wineries depend on water and so do the villages that we work with, so it seemed like a natural partnership to have the Sonoma wine industry support water projects at schools. Initially it was just through fundraising of asking wineries for funds but then, as we engaged more wineries, they began to donate portions of their funds of different sales of vintages of wine to go towards those water projects. That’s how the wine safari and wine tour came about.”

With each ticket purchased, participants of the 2017 Wine Safari will receive complimentary tastings at participating wineries across Sonoma County, discounts for local restaurants, hotels and tour companies, a keepsake wine glass and one entry into the V2V raffle. 

Some of the participating wineries include Tonti Family Wines, Sbragia Family Vineyards, Sonoma Portworks, Barber Cellars, Kobler Estate Winery, Viszlay Vineyards, Merriam Vineyards, and many more. Additional events throughout the weekend, with tickets sold separately, include a Winemaker dinner at Christopher Creek Winery, a Winemaker lunch at Fritz Underground Winery and Chocolate pairings at Pedroncelli Winery.

Besides funding the Vineyards to Villages program, this year half of all proceeds of the $50 tickets, as well as a portion of all wine bottle sales, will fund long-term disaster relief efforts for children in Sonoma County that have been most devastated by the fires. The Active 20-30 Club of Healdsburg will manage those funds and determine where they can be best utilized.

“Similar to how we do the work in East Africa, we want to try to take that same sentiment to how we do it here,” says Casanova. “Instead of just granting the money out to some fire relief fund, we’d like to figure out, in partnership with the 20-30 Club, who are the most disenfranchised populations affected by the fire and how that would relate to children and families and then grant the money out to those populations through a partner we’ve identified together.” 

For more information or to register for the event, visit: