ErmaRose Winery opened its doors March 1 of this year, but it’s already winning accolades in wine contests. The wines are fruit wines, meaning they are made by fermenting fruits like bananas and blackberries instead of the traditional grape wines.
ErmaRose founder and vintner Jennifer Prothow runs the winery with her family. Not long after her winery officially opened, Prothow decided to enter her wines in various wine competitions to see how they compared to other established wineries regionally and globally.
To Prothow’s amazement, her wines have now won two bronze medals in major competitions: the Lonestar International Wine Competition and the International Women’s Wine Competition.
The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association hosted the 36th Annual Lone Star International Wine Competition June 3-4. The competition is the oldest wine competition in the State of Texas.
Prothow submitted her “Masked Gorilla” wine- a blend of mango, melon, cherry, grape and strawberry- to the competition.
She won a bronze medal in the category of “Blended Fruit Wine”.
On June 11, Prothow competed in the Women’s International Wine Competition, a global competition in which wines are judged by their appeal to a female-specific consumer.
Women’s International Wine Competition founder and president, Debra Del Fiorentino explained, “This competition’s niche appeal certainly gives women their own ‘voice’, when selecting a wine. The judges recognize not only the best wines submitted, but also the wines they feel would appeal most to women wine buyers and consumers. And even though a special nod goes to the best woman winemaker, it’s important to know that this competition is open to all winemakers, male and female alike.”
Prothow submitted her cranberry wine to the competition, which earned her a bronze medal.
As a fledgling wine producer, Prothow was hesitant to pit her wines against established industry giants.
Prothow admitted, “I was afraid to sign up and do the competition, I'm going to be honest. I know my wine is not like traditional wine, and it has a different taste on the palate than most fruit wines. So I was a little afraid at first.”
Now that she’s seen that her wines are winning prestigious competitions, however, Prothow’s confidence has grown. “This gave us a lot of validation for the hard work we've been doing,” she said, “I have to be doing something right if two of my wines have won awards.”
Prothow has recently had to increase her production to accommodate a growing demand for her wines as the accolades come in, but she acknowledged that she’s been receiving positive feedback for her wines since she began making them.
“I’ve seen sales picking up because of these awards, but I’ve always had a loyal fan base,” she said.
ErmaRose Winery is located on Katy Hockley Cut-off Road. Prothow makes all the wines herself at the location, which features a production space and tasting room.
“People love to come in and just talk,” Prothow said. “Sometimes people can't find a babysitter for their kids, and I say, ‘Hey, just bring your kids. I'll put on a Marvel movie and we can all just relax and enjoy wine.’”