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.”