It’s a story line straight out of The Parent Trap, but it happens to be true: Black vintners Robin McBride and Andréa McBride John grew up without knowing the other existed. When they were finally alerted to one another in 1999—their ailing father wanted to connect them before he passed—one of the first things that struck them was their shared passion for wine.
Though they were raised in the far-flung, enormously iconic wine regions of Monterey, California and Marlborough, New Zealand, both sisters were destined to share a love of the grape. In 2005, the sisters found themselves together in California, fueled by a shared passion for all things wine, wine-making and a desire to shake up the industry with a blend of old-world elegance and new-world finesse. They created the McBride Sisters Collection which has since become one of the most highly lauded wine labels and among the largest black-owned business in the world. Throughout their entrepreneurial journey, their mission has remained clear—to continue to transform the industry, lead by example, and cultivate community, one great wine at a time.
The McBride Sisters wines and the fascinating story that brought them together has been featured in Forbes, Thrillist and NPR. We have been fortunate in hosting them for wine tasting classes as part of our online class series, most recently to benefit the #SheCanThrive fund, and learn something new every time we’re together.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in starting a wine company?
“You’ve gotta break the rules and drink the wine,” says Andréa. “For far too long, the ‘rules’ have overshadowed the experience when it comes to wine.” Robin agrees and says, “Modern women finally have a wine that matches the fearless way they want to live life.”
What’s the first thing you consider when pairing wine with food?
Once again, say the sisters, “No rules.” If you know what you like, don’t be afraid to enjoy it. It’s not just about the occasion, it’s about creating a mood, and a great wine always takes things to the next level.
Tell us about #SheCanThrive and why it’s important to you.
Our SheCan Fund has always channeled the strength of our mothers into helping other women entrepreneurs step through the doors that we’ve opened. Though 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone, it’s been especially challenging for black-owned businesses. They’ve been twice as likely to close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. #SheCanThrive commits funds to helping women-owned, black-owned small businesses thrive during these unprecedented times, while also helping to bridge the gender and race gap. This year the fund will help businesses reopen and make the necessary strategic adjustments to thrive in a post-quarantine world.
What’s in your sights for 2021 and the future?
We want to change the face of wine for our community and our industry. And of course we want to launch lots of incredible new wines. But right now we’re just grateful and celebrating style and survival … and the powerful women who, at the end of a seriously intense year, are still thriving and still excellent. We hope everyone has a holiday season to remember for a year we will never forget.
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