Dr. Dawna Darjean Jones Featured on KHOU 11

Author: Jessica Borg

Published: 6:13 PM CDT August 8, 2018

MAGNOLIA, Texas -The sound of a cork popping is the sound that help make the world go ‘round for Magnolia winemaker Dawna Darjean Jones.

It means her vineyard in California has produced a good vintage with grapes that were fermented into wine and then aged and bottled with her name on the label.

“A great wine always starts with high quality fruit,” Darjean Jones said. “I think grapes are very complex.”

She should know. Dr. Darjean Jones is an expert in plant pathology. She served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and later worked as a national security analyst. Nearly a decade ago, however, she left a stable job for the unknown, trying to grow the perfect grape year after year.

“There comes a point where you just decide that you want to do what makes you happy, what makes you come alive, and for me, that was winemaking,” Darjean Jones said.

Although her vineyard is in Napa, Calif., all of her research and decision-making take place right in her home office in Magnolia. Samples from barrels are even shipped to her for her to taste during the periods she is not able to visit the vineyard.

“Making wine is easy, selling wine is difficult, ” she said.

Local marketing has been key. Her wines are sold at restaurants in Magnolia, Spring and in The Woodlands.

Darjean Jones has been working hard to grow her boutique brand. She knows first-hand “the wine industry is extremely competitive.”

Darjean Jones is experiencing success. Her 2010 merlot won the top prize in the Lone Star International Wine Competition. She also received gold in the International Women’s Wine Competition.

“There are more and more women winemakers every day," she said. “I feel like I am in very good company with some excellent women.”

Darjean Jones is a busy mom to a young son and daughter. She’s happy she took a leap of faith to pursue her passion.

“I know that there was a huge risk involved, but being an entrepreneur for anyone is a risk," she said.

Darjean Jones said her advice for budding entrepreneurs is to have a well-researched business plan and a support system in place for encouragement.