Robin and Andréa McBride, founders of McBride Sisters Wines, are the first African-American sister duo to found and establish a wine company. Through their core values: sustainability, empowerment, innovation, and community, the McBride sisters were able to curate a unique wine experience for their customers for more than 13 years. Separated by geography but united through their love of wine and family, the McBride sisters embody the spirit of entrepreneurship through their passion and determination to fulfill their father’s last wish, for them to be reunited again. Raised on opposite sides of the globe—New Zealand and Monterrey, California the sisters equally fostered a unique appreciation for the craft of winemaking. With different mothers but the same father, the sisters grew up without knowing that each other existed.
After meeting in 1999, their curiosity for wine became a true passion as the sisters began a wine import business, importing unique New Zealand wines into the US Market. This venture launched their first production, eco.love Wines – a sustainable wine company from New Zealand. In 2010, they started the McBride Sisters Wine Company, breaking the mold of the male-dominated and predominately white wine business, becoming the first African American Sisters to own a wine company. Always innovating, the sisters next partnered with Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines to create Truvée Wines – a line of finely balanced, wines that express the distinct individuality of the central coast of California.
Today, more than 13 years from their entrepreneurial start in the wine industry, the sisters have worked to bring wine lovers the best of both worlds with their third collection, The McBride Sisters Collection. The Collection, launching in more than 1,500 retail locations nationwide, consists of four wines crafted in the McBride Sisters’ signature style, a blend of old world elegance with new world finesse. Two wines hail from New Zealand, the Sauvignon Blanc, and Sparkling Brut Rosé, and two wines from California’s Central Coast, the crisp Chardonnay, and Red Blend, not to mention their Black Girl Magic California Riesling limited exclusive collection. I spoke to the sisters about their love for wine, their experiences being African-American women vintners and their vision for McBride Sisters Wine.
Dominique Fluker: How did you both discover your love of wine after being continents apart and finally reuniting in 1999?
McBride Sisters: We united in 1999 and it became clear to us that despite the fact that we grew up on opposite sides of the world we shared an appreciation for wine and were closely tied to the wine regions that we grew up in. We were confident that we were destined to do something together in wine, and within a few short years, we created our first wine company as importers which led us to bottle our first wines in 2010.
Fluker: As the first African-American sisters to own a wine company, share your journey with establishing your mission statement for McBride Sisters wine?
McBride Sisters: Wine and the wine industry has historically been a white man’s world and that’s changing quickly. We encourage the wine consumer to explore outside of the old expectations of wine, it’s more than a gray winemaker…it’s much more than just a beverage, it’s an experience. It’s how you feel…what you see, smell and hear as you prepare to taste the wine. Our mission is to create your perfect wine experience.
Fluker: With both of your background heavily rooted in Monterey, California and New Zealand, how do those environments influence the unique style of McBride Sisters wine?
McBride Sisters: We are focused on making wines that are both accessible and that express each of the places we grew up in. We describe our signature style as old world style with new world finesse. Both areas are naturally beautiful and leaders in environmental protection so sustainable farming and winemaking practices are key to us. Better grapes make better wine.
Fluker: Share your experience as two African-American women vintners. What has been the most challenging and rewarding parts of owning your own wine distribution company?
McBride Sisters: Women make up a small percentage of the wine industry and women of color even smaller. We are often met with skepticism and automatically dealt a lack of credibility. You have to have an extreme case of optimism and thick skin to be successful in this business. But the proof is in the bottle, we’ve been owners, makers, and innovators for fourteen years! The most rewarding parts are knowing how hard we’ve worked and how much we’ve sacrificed to get here and seeing the smile on someone’s face when they first taste the wine.
Fluker: With over 10 years in the wine business, how are you both collaborating to keep McBride Sisters wine fresh, innovative and unique?
McBride Sisters: The most important thing to us is to stay connected to wine lovers, to see how and where they are enjoying wine, what that experience is like, what if anything is missing and make it better for them. We are everywhere our consumers are, it’s important for us to never be detached from that experience.
Fluker: What is your favorite wine from the McBride Sisters collection and why?
McBride Sisters: You can’t pick between your children! But, on most days you can usually find Andrea sipping the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Robin enjoying the Central Coast Red Blend, both are amazing expressions of our hometowns.
Fluker: McBride Sisters also offers the Black Girl Magic Wine Clubs. Speak about why you created the Black Girl Magic collection.
McBride Sisters: Black Girl Magic was really inspired by amazing women and created to celebrate them. This wine is not about us, the McBride Sisters, but as a thank you for all of the support and inspiration that we get from so many amazing women over the years. To us, black girl magic is that drive, it’s the creativity, resilience, and innovation that shines brightly. This bottle is our celebration of that essence.
Fluker: What do you envision for McBride Sisters wine for the next 3-5 years?
McBride Sisters: We’ll have a LOT of announcements coming over the next year! We are continuing to expand where our wines can be found and enjoyed nationwide with some exciting collaborations. For the first time, we will be opening a tasting room that will be open to the public and releasing exclusive reserve wines over the coming years.