Kansas winemaker Jennifer McDonald is on the fast-track to breaking the mid-west winemaking mold. The young woman made wines at home and worked on her business plan for 4 years before releasing her inaugural vintages of her Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And with the opening of her downtown Witchita winery just around the corner, she looks forward to increasing her portfolio to include Moscato, a Red Blend, a single-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon and even a Fruit Blend made from local Kansas produce.
McDonald calls herself a huge advocate for entrepreneurship. Her personal motto is “Have faith and never give up!”
Jenny Dawn Cellars is the product of one woman’s passion for wine and pride of place….
CEO Jennifer McDonalad has always been, what she calls, a wine connoisseur. However, her curiosity and interest went past the bottle and into the science of it. She began experimenting with at-home winemaking kits, but swiftly mastered the basics. She moved on to sourcing grapes and other fruits from local Kansas growers, continuing to make wine on a small-scale for fun. But in 2016 her wine world expanded: McDonald began sourcing grapes from some of California’s best wine regions, crafting wines that won many awards and accolades. Though her grapes come from several states away, she insists on keeping her business local to her Witchita, Kansas community.
“Jenny Dawn Cellars is excited to open its brick-and-mortar winery and tasting located at Union Station in downtown Wichita, KS in November of 2018,” says McDonald. “We will be a wine production facility, tasting room and event center.” This will be the first urban winery in downtown Wichita. The dual CEO and winemaker notes that though the city has a thriving downtown, it’s yet to see an influential wine scene. Jenny Dawn Cellars plans to be that influence. McDonald will also be the first African American female wine CEO and winemaker in the state of Kansas. “We are very proud of that fact and excited to bring diversity into the Wichita small business and wine community,” she says.