When the latest Tyler Perry movie came out earlier this month, Dawna Darjean Jones, Ph.D. 04, invited her friends and contacts to a private screening in Cypress, Texas. That evening a group of 130 people watched “Nobody’s Fool” for something specific: Darjean Jones Wines.
The characters in the comedy drink a lot of wine, and the Darjean Jones Wines label is featured prominently. “The first time they showed the wine, everyone cheered and clapped,” said Jones.
Jones earned her Ph.D. in plant pathology, studying Pierce’s disease of grapevines. Her work with grapevines introduced her to the world of wine. “When you are in graduate school, there’s usually a pitcher of beer on the table, not necessarily wine,” she said.
But one day, she popped a merlot wine grape into her mouth. “It was actually that grape that turned me on to wine and made me interested.”
Her boutique wine label debuted in 2010. Appropriately, she started with merlot. The next year, she introduced a chardonnay. She makes her wine in California’s Napa Valley.
“California is one of my favorite places,” said Jones. “I purposefully travel back and forth in order to make this wine thing work.”