This morning, Congresswoman Susan Wild visited the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, a program of Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), to meet with the owner of Binah Winery. The meeting was part of a larger tour of manufacturers throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Incubation client Kevin Danna set up his kosher winery inside the Bridgeworks facility in February of 2020, not long before the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. During her on-site visit, Congresswoman Wild heard directly from the small business owner about what it was like to be an entrepreneur launching his new venture during a worldwide shutdown. Danna also provided Wild and her team a tour of the 3,100 sq ft manufacturing suite and details about the kosher certification process.

Adapting and Evolving

Congresswoman Wild was encouraged by Danna’s successes over the past 17 months despite the pandemic. The two discussed where Binah products can be found, including Giant Food Stores, and what recognition Binah wines have received, including multiple awards from state-wide competitions.

Danna described his methods of consumer-friendly shipping (i.e. fast and convenient), his willingness to utilize Zoom for virtual group tastings, and continuing to enter Binah varietals into competitions.

“As an entrepreneur, you have to find ways to adapt to a changing market, and most recently, a changing world. It was extremely challenging and disheartening at times, but I have a great product that customers really enjoy, and I was able to use different strategies to survive the pandemic shutdown,” says Danna.

Towards the end of the visit, Danna presented his vision for the future of his business, with details of his plan for expansion. He was upfront about the fact that rebounding from the COVID-19 shutdown has been his greatest challenge.

Prior to her visit, Danna had contacted Wild’s office regarding legislative issues. Congresswoman Wild is currently a co-sponsor on a bill to amend the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to replenish funds for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Danna applied, but due to underfunding, he has not received assistance. Funding, he says, would have a tremendous impact on current business efforts.

Binah Background

No stranger to viticulture, Danna worked as Assistant Winemaker at Pinnacle Ridge Winery before operating his own 5-acre vineyard in Easton. When he outgrew the production space, he knew he had to move to expand his business and began seeking a more cost-effective form of production. It was then that he decided to focus mainly on the manufacturing process and joined the Bridgeworks incubation program.

“The fact that Bridgeworks was already home to four other successful beverage manufacturing businesses gave me the confidence that it was the right place for my winery to set up shop,” said Danna. “Use of the building’s shared facilities such as meeting and conference rooms, and a loading dock with forklift were definitely key selling points.”

Moving into Bridgeworks, Kevin Danna was both a client of AEDC’s incubation program and a recipient of funding through the Urban Made program. Danna utilized $165,000 in loans for manufacturing equipment, materials, and minor suite renovations to launch his venture.

He also received assistance in the form of mentoring and advisory services. Working closely with AEDC’s Program Manager, Danna was able to evaluate financial decisions and identify sales and marketing opportunities. He then acted on those opportunities, enabling Binah Winery to evolve from a niche business into a large-scale wine producer.

The boutique winery has increased its annual case production by 150%, going from 1,000 to 2,500 cases- roughly 6,200 gallons of wine. Danna looks forward to expanding his portfolio and creating exceptional experiences for wine enthusiasts all across the US.

Erin Hudson

For information contact AEDC's Marketing & Communications Specialist: ehudson@allentownedc.com or 484-368-6854.