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Katy Veteran Finds Peace in Wine Making, Creates Local Haven for Community Gatherings


June 30, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

Katy’s award-winning ErmaRose Winery serves more than unique wines, it is built on passion and a hobby that helped a Katy veteran cope with PTSD and find purpose to serve her community.

Jennifer Prothow is upfront and center at the winery drawing a raffle.

Served in Africa and Afghanistan

When Jennifer Prothow returned from serving our county in Africa and Afghanistan she struggled with PTSD as so many veterans do. She took a struggle and found coping through wine making. ErmaRose Winery opened their doors on March 1, 2019 and has been giving Katy residents a joyous place to come together ever since.

Wine Making Became Therapy

“While I was in therapy my doctor told me to find a hobby,” says Jennifer Prothow. “Winemaking was the hobby I fell in love with.”

Jennifer bonded with her father, Stephen Prothow over their learning and with each batch. Both of her parents, Stephen and Andrea supported her from the start in this venture. Sadly, Stephen passed away unexpectedly in 2018 before the winery was able to open.

“It felt like I was bring myself back to life with each batch I made,” says Jennifer.

When developing her business plan, Jennifer’s father and cousin told her that the name should mean something.

“I spent a lot of time with my grandmothers growing up,” says Jennifer. “I watched how hard they worked for their families and the love they poured out at the same time. They were my heroes and I wanted to honor them in a way.”

The business name, ErmaRose Winery, is the combination of her grandmother’s names.

A Legacy to Honor her Grandmothers

Erma Jewel Hobley was a minister’s wife with four children. She work clerical work for years but then later helped her late husband, Reverend Robert Hobley serve the gospel at Gospel Hill Church for over 25 years. She now lives in Humble and frequently visits the winery.

Rosa Jones Prothow was married to Lee Andrew Prothow and had five children. She worked at Jefferson Davis Hospital in several positions over the years until the retired at the age of 75. She passed away at 95-years-old but is still remembered for her memory and great conversation.

These loving, family-driven, working woman inspired and greatly influenced Jennifer from a young age.

“I choose the combination of my grandmother’s names because I got to honor them and tell their story at the same time,” says Jennifer. ”This winery is my family’s name and my business is all about family.”

Unique Wines

You will find unique recipes at ErmaRose Winery. They don’t serve the typical grape wines but rather fruit wines instead.

“I chose fruit wines over traditional grape wine for a couple of reasons. The Houston area is not the best for growing traditional grape,” explains Jennifer. “I fell in love with all the different things I could do with fruit wine.”

She also saw a market for fruit wine in the Katy community.

Originally from Wallis, TX, Jennifer and her parents relocated to Katy 6 years ago when they were looking for a location for the winery.

“When things started to come together and we were looking for a location, Katy really stood out to us,” says Jennifer. “The Katy community has been so welcoming to us and made us family. It’s been great and we glad we chose Katy.”

To Jennifer, wine making is still about family, community and therapy. This is more than a business. She owns the winery with her mother, Andrea and her family works there.

“Even now when the pressures of COVID and running a business started to bring back a lot of my PTSD symptoms I drove harder into winemaking as therapy,” she explains.

A Passion to Support Veterans Jennifer is passionate about supporting local veterans. She works routinely with local veteran groups with sponsorships.

“We did a toy giveaway for veterans before,” says Jennifer. “We are working on a back-to-school veterans school supplies and haircuts event on August 7th.”

The winery also gives free tasting tickets at events that they host for local veterans.

Live Music Every Weekend

ErmaRose Winery has many events for all of the Katy community to enjoy. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they have live music.

They will be hosting a Fourth of July Festival as well as Christmas in July on July 10th. They have a back-to-school giveaway and more.

Since opening, ErmaRose Winery has sold over 1,000 cases of wine. Their signature flavors are banana, peach, mango, blueberry, blackberry, and cranberry wines to date. All their wine is made fresh from frozen fruit free of concentrates and low in sulfites.

June is National PTSD Awareness Month

June is National PTSD Awareness Month. Local veterans in need can reach out to Camp Hope. The PTSD Foundation of America aims to bring hope and healing to Combat Veterans and their families suffering from the effects of combat-related Post Traumatic Stress.

ErmaRose Winery Information

ErmaRose Winery is located at 3130 Katy Hockley Cut-off Rd. They are closed Monday-Tuesday. Sunday 1:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 1:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. And Friday-Saturday 1:00p.m.- 10:00 p.m.

Every Friday and Saturday night from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Katy residents can the popular Daddy Duncan’s BBQ.

Check the ErmaRose Winery’s Facebook page for updates on upcoming events. You can also learn more about the winery and shop (if you’re over 21 years of age) at their website.


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