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Sonoma County Wineries Turning Wine into Water


Sonoma County Wineries
Turn Wine into Water
Global Partners Introduces
the Vineyards to Villages Fundraiser

By Amy Holter 

Recently, at Ranyienya Primary School in western Kenya, teachers have had to monitor the bathrooms closely. The students have developed a naughty habit of visiting the new latrines even when they don’t need to use them, just so they can wash their hands. 

Ranyienya is one of two communities to date in the Kasipul Constituency of western Kenya that received funding for a WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene education) project from Global Partners for Development to improve community health, student attendance and attention, and parent productivity. Since they received the WASH project, their attendance rates have doubled and water-borne illness has decreased tremendously within the community. And for the students – the clear water emerging from the taps is magical.

WASH projects fund local engineers and contractors to excavate wells, pipe water to the school and surrounding communities, and renovate school latrines to include hand-washing stations and shower facilities for boarding students. Teachers and students are also trained in good hygiene practices. 

Miles down the road from Ranyienya at Apondo Primary School, the children currently walk to retrieve contaminated water from a river that is almost two miles away, haul it home and then bring it to school each day, where it is pooled with water brought by other students for drinking and cooking. 

In this dry, poor area of Kenya, women and children use an enormous amount of time and strength to obtain water that is still likely to make them sick. Even though it is often boiled or chlorinated before drinking, chronic gastrointestinal problems, typhoid fever, and parasitic infections are all common results of the use of non-potable surface water for these children and their families. 

In response to this quiet crisis, ten family-owned wineries in Sonoma County, California decided to partner with Global Partners to “turn wine into water.” Through the Vineyards to Villages (V2V) initiative, half of the sales price of select V2V wines at participating wineries goes directly to funding WASH projects at rural Kenyan schools with little to no water infrastructure in Kenya. 

Participating wineries include Christopher Creek Winery, De La Montanya Winery, Deux Amis Winery, Dom Whitney Wines, Fritz Underground Winery, Hawley Winery, Merriam Winery, Viszlay Vineyards, Williamson Wines, and Wilson Winery

You can purchase V2V wines by visiting these tasting rooms or asking for V2V wines directly from wineries via phone or e-mail. These wines are perfect for the Thanksgiving table or as gifts for the holiday season!

Global Partners, a nonprofit organization based in Rohnert Park, Ca., works with East African communities to develop individualized solutions to problems related to education, health, and water in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Local underwriters cover all organizational overhead, fundraising, and administrative costs, so 100% of funds generated from V2V will go directly to WASH projects.

Learn how you can help turn wine into water for rural families in Kenya, visit or contact Amy Holter at or (707) 588-0550.