Make A Way, Jo-Ann Romano, Romano Vineyard and Winery
Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry
Make A Way Jo-Ann Romano, Romano Vineyard and Winery
When I was Howard University graduate student, I learned several invaluable lessons. The lesson which stuck with me the most was Make A Way. When there is not a way make a way. Sometimes you have a dream that has never been realized by anyone. No precedent. No one can conceptualize your vision. You have to forge your own path to make your dream your reality. This is exactly what Jo-Ann and Joe Romano did. They are the owners of Romano Vineyard and Winery (Brandywine, MD). Romano Vineyard and Winery is the first commercially operated winery in Prince George’s county.
During our Vino 301’s Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry chat, Jo-Ann discussed how the vineyard became a reality. Prior to the winery’s opening, zoning regulations and laws did not exist allowing a winery to operate in Prince George’s county. Unintended, the Romanos became visionaries when they pursued their dream. They convinced others to share their dream and the possibilities. They worked with elected officials, the Maryland Grape Growers Association, the Maryland Wine Association and other organizations to help rally their cause. The Maryland Grape Growers and the Maryland Wine Association are tremendous resources. Almost all of the women I spoke with often referenced these organizations. These groups helped them develop their businesses and provided educational assistance.
Eventually public policy was codified for wineries to operate in the County. Amazingly, this was less than 10 years ago. Now there are three other wineries in Brandywine. The wineries formed a wine trail, known as the Legacy Wine Trail. Jo-Ann could not have imagined their dream would lead to these incredible events. She is truly a trailblaze. Thanks for bringing wine to my favorite County.
There is an old saying, “good wine starts with good grapes.” Jo-Ann is responsible for the good grapes. She is the vineyard manager. The vineyard manager is responsible for maintaining the vineyard to produce a healthy and abundant grape harvest. She loves it. Notice how her face lights up when she talks about it. Jo-Ann spends a lot of time in the vineyard. Oh, by the way, she still has a full-time job. Can you imagine? She works all day at the office and in the evenings, she works in the vineyard. I assume, Jo-Ann’s vineyard chores are not considered work to her. It is a labor of love.
Our chat with Jo-Ann took place at Romano Vineyard and Winery. Fortunately, the March weather cooperated and we were able to sit near the vineyard for our visit. Please enjoy our chat.
Stay tuned for more videos in March. We love to hear from you. Who do you know who is making an impact in Maryland’s wine industry?
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