Festival of

the Bells

Grgich Hills Estate Presents: Festival of the Bells

In Grgich Hills’ 45th year, we are celebrating our past and looking forward to a bright, peaceful future. Our first annual Festival of the Bells was an idea born from this sentiment, inspired by a story that predates the founding of Grgich Hills and is focused on cultivating a brighter future for people all around the world.

In 1973, when Mike Grgich was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena, he brought his daughter Violet to work, and they found themselves walking around Jade Lake on the winery’s grounds. From the shore, Violet spotted something gleaming in the water, and retrieved a small brass bell that instantly reminded Mike of the bell tower of St. George Church, located in his hometown of Desne. Mike had not been able to return to his homeland of Croatia due to the unrest that had gripped the country for decades. To Mike, that little bell represented a nostalgia for his old country, and a hope that one day he would be able to share a homecoming with his daughter.

people in boat

Mike and Violet on Jade Lake


St. George Church in Desne, Croatia

In the 1990s Croatia was emerging from the Balkan War as an independent nation, during which an estimated two million landmines were planted across the country- dotting the countryside, in towns, and even placed near schools and hospitals. Heidi Kuhn, founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, was aware of the devastation Croatia had suffered, and reached out to Mike in 1998. The goal of her organization is to rid the world of land mines by transforming minefields into thriving farmland, and she thought Croatia would be a perfect place to start her work. She contacted Mike, who believed wholeheartedly in her mission, and they formed a partnership to aid in the recovery of Croatia. Since then, Roots of Peace has extended its work to many other countries, and Grgich Hills along with other Napa Valley wineries have supported and promoted their work, standing in solidarity with the global farming family and the dignity of their work, rooted in care for the land and its communities.

Our inaugural Festival of the Bells is held in support of Roots of Peace, honoring their 25 years of charitable work in turning “Mines to Vines,” and as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Ottawa Treaty to ban landmines. Violet Grgich, now the President of Grgich Hills Estate, will host the event, benefiting Roots of Peace, on December 3rd, when we invite families and individuals to celebrate and ring in the Season of Peace. Festivities will include a tree lighting, activities for children, and musical performances from Music in the Vineyards Chamber Music, San Francisco Opera, Musical Theater and Violet Grgich. Food will reflect the diverse international attendees’ heritage and of course beautiful, elegant wines. This is a community event to bring global families together as we celebrate the one earth we share and the importance of cultivating peace through agriculture worldwide.

This event is open to the public.


Mike and Heidi Kuhn, Toasting to Peace