The Houston Texans BOLD Awards presented by Coca-Cola was established to recognize Black, Outstanding Leaders and Doers making a difference throughout the Greater Houston area. With that, we are celebrating African Americans who are positively influencing our city through community engagement, business development or entrepreneurship, social equity, nonprofits (philanthropy), civil service or a rising young leader. Five winners were selected and received a $5,000 donation made in their name to a nonprofit organization of their choice. These award winners will be recognized in the fall of 2021.
Our first BOLD Award Winner is Jennifer Prothow, co-owner and founder of ErmaRose Winery.
Established in March 2019, Prothow introduced the Houston community to ErmaRose Winery after being encouraged by her doctor to find a hobby while battling through injuries from her time serving in the Marines.
"While I was going through therapy for injuries, my doctor told me to find a hobby and winemaking was a hobby that I landed on," said Prothow.
This hobby took a turn Prothow could not have predicted, becoming a great opportunity for her and her dad to grow closer.
"He was my sampler and my encouragement," Prothow said. "When all of my friends and family started to really love the wine, always asking for wine, my dad told me we should turn it into a business, so we took the steps, went to classes and found mentors to build ErmaRose Winery together."
With an unfortunate turn of events, Prothow's father passed very suddenly - right before their first tasting, but with family and community support, Prothow was encouraged to continue.
"My family pushed me to continue with the winery even though he wasn't here and my mom stepped in his place." Prothow said. "One of the things my dad and I always wanted to do was be mentors, job providers and give back to our community."
A few months ago, Prothow hosted a Black History Month Festival at her winery, featuring 10 black-owned businesses, three black-owned food tricks and several black entertainers with the goal of raising funds for students who might otherwise be unable to attend Houston Community College. Utilizing her platform to encourage and assist others became an easy reason as to why Prothow needed to be one of the Houston Texans inaugural BOLD award nominees with her focus on prioritizing doing great things for Houston.
"Winning the Houston Texans BOLD Awards presented by Coca-Cola means a lot." Prothow said. "It'll help our organization give out more scholarships and do more in the community. It'll also help ErmaRose Winery get our name out there. We're a young business that was hurt by COVID, and this is just another thing to help us recover and get our name out there."
ErmaRose Wine is now being sold at Houston-area H-E-B stores and was featured on MSNBC. The winery has received several awards in less than three years since premiering the first wines in 2018.
Be sure to visit ErmaRose Winery, open Wednesday-Saturday and enjoy live music, food trucks and wine. Look out for 1958, a special bourbon barrel-aged blackberry wine dedicated to Prothow's father, with 20% of the proceeds going to the family's foundation created in his name with the focus of awarding scholarships to younger generations and helping the elderly and veterans.