Barney and Belle Rhodes
The selections below have been excerpted from a Rutherford Dust Society interview conducted by professional cultural anthropologist and RDS member Rue Ziegler, on February 14th, 2001. Barney was at the interview, though Belle did the speaking for both of them. This interview covers the period from 1941, when Barney and Belle joined the Navy, to the present day.
Both originally from the East Coast, the Rhodes' first discovered the Napa Valley in the late 1940's when Barney was still in the Navy and working as a physician in Oakland. Pursuing an interest in wine, they got to know Joe Heitz and invested with other physicians in his winery venture. They also tried their own hand at grapegrowing, eventually purchasing then selling what would become Martha's Vineyard, and later buying the property where they now live and grow grapes: Bella Oaks, in Rutherford.
Long-time fixtures of the Napa Valley, the Rhodes are today as well-known for Bella Oaks as for their wine connoisseurship, acclaimed cellars, unfailing graciousness, long friendships and world-class table.