ErmaRose Winery: Veteran-owned Katy business specializes in nontraditional fruit wine

Jennifer Prothow started winemaking in 2014. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Jennifer Prothow started winemaking in 2014. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)

Jennifer Prothow started winemaking in 2014. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)

What started as a hobby to help combat Jennifer Prothow’s post-traumatic stress disorder has quickly turned into a thriving Katy business.

After doing two tours overseas in the Marines, Prothow said she struggled to find the right hobby after her therapist recommended she pick a new interest. With help from her father before he died in 2018, she landed on making wine.

“I bought my first kit, and I made my first batch of wine, and I had so much fun and especially watching my dad’s reaction to my wine. I kind of fell in love with it from there,” Prothow said.

After taking free business classes offered to veterans at Houston Community College, she opened ErmaRose Winery in November 2019. The Katy business is owned by Prothow and her mother, Andrea Prothow.

ErmaRose Winery, named for Prothow’s two grandmothers, specializes in fruit wine made from strawberries, blueberries and bananas, as opposed to the grape wine most wineries serve.

Prothow said she decided to go the nontraditional route of fruit wine because she discovered it was easier to make and it goes better with weather in Texas.

“Houston is just not in the right zone for a lot of grapes to grow. Most grapes in Texas are grown in the High Plains,” Prothow said. “I just wanted to do something different. I know a lot of people in Houston have sweet tooths, so I wanted to make a sweet wine for them.”

Many of the specialty wines have won awards, such as the Masked Gorilla Wine, which is a blend of strawberries, mangos, melons, cherries and grapes. And according to Prothow, the tastings are intentionally plentiful and affordable.

“We try to make our tastings and experience very affordable and encourage you to keep coming back and try new stuff every time you come,” she said.

Prothow said she is looking into expanding the business as the demand for orders has increased.

“We’re looking for a larger facility. We’ve outgrown this one,” she said. “Demand is really high right now.”

ErmaRose Winery

3130 Katy Hockley Cutoff Road, Katy


Hours: Wed.-Thu. 1-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 1-10 p.m., Sun. 1-8 p.m., closed Mon.-Tue.
By Sierra Rozen

Metro Reporter, South Houston

Sierra joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in September of 2021 after graduating with a degree in communication and a minor in journalism from St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. Sierra covers all things in the South Houston area but in particular covers Friendswood ISD, Friendswood City Council and Harris County METRO. Prior to CI, Sierra served as the viewpoints and life and arts editor for Hilltop Views, as well as interning for Austin Woman Magazine.