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Woman entrepreneur makes history, opens first black-owned winery in Kansas



Introducing Jenny Dawn Cellars’ creator, Jennifer McDonald. She is the first African American businesswoman to launch an urban vineyard in Wichita, Kansas, that sells handcrafted wine.

But has also contributed to history by being the first Black person to operate a winery in the entire state.

After learning via her own consumer market research about the demand for access to great wine in their city, Jennifer established the company with her family in 2016.

She wanted to concentrate on servicing individuals in the cities even if the majority of vineyards are situated in rural areas.

The city of Wichita and nearby surrounding areas has a population of more than 600,000 residents.

Her research convinced her to restore the Union Station in Wichita where she decided to build the winery.

The construction took twice as long and cost twice as much as originally expected, but she managed to push through it with her determination.

Overcoming setbacks

Jennifer says that she was not at all exempt from the systemic racism that has sadly became common for Black people while starting their own businesses.

She experienced several rejections from banks before finally finding a bank that would finance her idea.

But she claims to be grateful for the help she received from her instructors in business and winemaking as well as from her investors. They supported her and helped her overcome obstacles.

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She ultimately launched Jenny Dawn Cellars in November of last year. It features amenities like a tasting area, a place to host events, and on-site wine production.

Additionally, they provide monthly instructional sessions called Winuecation as well as private wine tastings and wine locker memberships.

The majority of the 11 handcrafted wines that Jenny Dawn Cellars currently offers pay homage to her Wichita roots.

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