Have you heard about the newest winery to open in the Hill Country? Michael Ros Winery opened in August and it’s a pretty impressive spot you should add to your list. The project has been in the works for a while now with vineyards planted near Fredericksburg and also in the High Plains. These folks are serious about Texas wine! Rosann and Mike Mitrione are thrilled to be a part of the industry and they are eager to pour their wines for you. Take a minute to get to know the co-owner, Rosann Mitrione and make plans to check out the beautiful tasting room and 100% Texas wines.
- What did you do before owning a winery?
I spent my career in sales and marketing. Most of my time was spent with food and beverage companies. In my last role before leaving Corporate America, I was the VP of Sales for a Fortune 50 company. I’ve spent years traveling and crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada. I know that sounds exciting but traveling gets tiring!
- What first attracted you to wine; was there a specific bottle or experience?
It really wasn’t one thing. It kind of grew over time. After we decided we wanted to open a winery, which is a much longer story, my husband Mike was taking a class called Wines of the World. I wasn’t enrolled in the class, but I took it with him behind the scenes. We went to Total Wines every week and left with a shopping cart full of wine (of course we bought way more than required for the assignment…most expensive class ever!!) I think that was the first time that I really understood the complexity of wine. You read about all the factors that influence wine but until you experience it you don’t really get it. The impact of the grape’s terroir, the winemaking style, and the barrels – it all suddenly made sense. I’ve been learning ever since!!
- What is the toughest challenge in the wine industry in Texas?
Nature. If you are like me, you are a planner. I try to think through all the scenarios and have plans and lists for everything. But for those of us, dare I say control freaks, you cannot control nature. You can mitigate and plan for some known issues, like purchasing hail netting, but you cannot control all of it. Gophers decided they liked our vineyard in Brownfield, TX (not as funny as Caddyshack made it seem!) Rain, no rain, rain at the wrong time, early freeze, late freeze, vine diseases, etc. On the positive side, nature is teaching me to roll with the punches a bit more.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I love our Sangiovese and lasagna. My husband’s family is Italian, and he makes homemade sauce that cooks for three days. He cans the sauce and makes lasagna with it. We have it every year for my oldest daughter’s birthday (it’s her favorite and my waistline can only have the lasagna as a treat!!). Great wine and a great family recipe!!
- What is the most common question you are asked as an owner?
“What made you want to open a winery?”
- After a long day in the winery, what do you do?
Have a glass of wine, watch a movie, and catch up with my husband.
- What’s your favorite part about being a winery owner?
The industry. From owners to operations managers, to winemakers, to grape growers and everyone in between have been so helpful and answered all our questions. We are two people who fell in love with wine and wanted to make a dream come true. We didn’t have a deep farming background or years in the family business and neither of us had ever worked in the industry. So, we took lots of classes and asked lots of questions. We visited a lot of people and probably drove a few of them crazy. But everyone is so patient and helpful. We feel so blessed to be in an industry where people truly believe that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That by helping another winery be successful, we will all benefit. By making good Texas wine, we will all continue to improve the Texas wine reputation.
Our customers. When people come to a winery they are coming to unwind, enjoy a great wine, enjoy the atmosphere and have a good time. We have only been open eight weeks and the people who have come in to try our wines and have joined our Wine Club have been amazing. I love that I get to walk around and welcome them. I don’t want to ever lose that connection with our customer.
- What is your business philosophy?
It’s simple. Grow and make outstanding 100% Texas wine and create a fantastic consumer experience. Provide a place where locals and visitors feel welcome. If we focus on our core values of Faith, Family, Friends, and Fellowship in all of our interactions and curating high quality Texas wine, we will continue to grow!
- What would you do if you didn’t own a winery?
I’d still be in Corporate America leading a sales and marketing team. I’d be sitting on an airplane, headphones in with my laptop open headed to the next city, the next meeting wishing I didn’t have to travel every week.
- Do you have any advice for someone who wants to own a winery?
I’ll share what someone once told me, “Don’t buy the fairytale.” It’s hard work. It takes longer and costs more than you think! But if you love it, go for it!