An auction at Napa winery Grgich Hills Cellars has raised over US$40,000 for an organisation dedicated to ridding the world of landmines.

Roots of Peace, founded in 1997, aims to return mined agricultural land to its proper use. It has successfully demined over 65ha of land in Croatia during the past few years.

Demining is a hugely expensive – and dangerous – operation. It costs around US$1000 per mine to clear a minefield, and experienced squads can take weeks to clear a few kilometres. Millions of mines were sown in Croatia during the 1991-1996 war with Serbia. Hundreds of millions have been sown worldwide.

Croatian-born Mike Grgich, one of Napa’s most highly-regarded producers, is a long-term supporter of the charity. He set up the silent auction to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Yountville winery.

All lots were from Grgich Hills. Highlights were a 6-litre bottle of 1990 Chardonnay, which went for US$300 (€298), and the highest selling lot of the day, a complete vertical of Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon vintages 1989 to 1998.

By the end of the day the silent auction had brought in a total of US$10,385 (€10,325) a sum which will be matched by Rotary International and the International Trust Fund supported by US Department of State to bring the total to US$41,540 (€41,300).

Roots of Peace

Written by Adam Lechmere18 July 2002