Bath County’s first winery, Rock Roadhouse Winery, welcomed its first guests in 2020. For owners Bob and Rhonda Donze, it’s the culmination of a lifelong passion for good wine and a journey of learning the craft of wine making that has taken them all around the world.
Bob and Rhonda are both retired Air Force officers. During their careers, they found themselves in places like Italy, France and Spain, where they spent time learning techniques, that in some cases, are 1,000 years old. If wine making is part science and part art, Bob and Rhonda are bringing a lot of both to their new endeavor, including a scientific look at how their vineyard in Bath County is well suited to produce quality grapes – plenty of sunlight, ample rain, steep terrain with fertile soil and cold temperatures during the dormant season.
“The best part of owning a winery is making new friends in our wonderful community,” said Bob Donze.
Rock Roadhouse Winery is located on Sam Snead Highway just north of downtown Hot Springs. It’s among the newest of Virginia’s 300+ wineries and certainly one of its most scenic. The property includes the old Valley High School building and Bus Garage, which were built by the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Part of the Bus Garage and the beautifully landscaped area around it are used for tastings and socializing. It proved to be perfect for hosting events while observing social distancing.
The duty of hosting guests falls to Rhonda, who is superbly assisted by their beautiful dog. With the combination of genuine hospitality, good wine and beautiful scenery, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect atmosphere. Then again, on a cool night a roaring fire takes the ambience to another level. Rock Roadhouse has managed to make the experience more than perfect.
“We look forward to sharing our wines with the wonderful Bath County community,” Said Rhonda Donze.
Rock Roadhouse Winery has quickly become a treasured part of the Bath County community. A tasting room is scheduled to open in 2021 in downtown Hot Springs. The winery has also partnered with local businesses for some creative events. They will offer a Food and Wine Pairing event as part of So Fly Fest, a local fly-fishing festival in May. In 2020, they hosted lots of fun events like Sips & Stews and Hallowine. Special events for 2021 are still being finalized, so follow Rock Roadhouse Winery on social media so you don’t miss out.