The McBride sisters are masters of winemaking and on ‘Masters of the Game’, Opinion,
OPINION: The McBride sisters' story of how they came together to build the largest Black-owned wine company in America is truly extraordinary.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Imagine, one day out of the blue, you get a call from your father. You two haven’t talked in years. He says you have a sister, but he doesn’t know where she is. But he wants you to find her. Also, he’s dying. OK, OK, I know that in a lot of Black families, this scenario isn’t that unusual, but it’s still a wild beginning to the creation of the largest Black-owned wine company in America: the McBride Sisters. The two sisters behind the brand — Robin and Andrea — are at the center of the next episode of “Masters of the Game.” It premieres on theGrioTV on Friday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET.
Robin grew up in Monterey, California, in wine country. Andrea, who’s nine years younger, grew up in New Zealand in wine country there. They grew up separately, unaware that the other existed until their father’s call. In 1999, a few years after that call, after he’d passed away, Andrea was visiting family in Alabama when Robin happened to call. The connection was made.
“When I found out she was in the states, I was like, I can’t not take this opportunity to meet my sister that I just found out exists in person. I want to do it right now,” Robin said. The next day they met at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
They felt a deep love from their first airport hug, and as they bonded, they realized they shared a love of wine. “We were going through the process of getting to know each other as women and sisters, and it was like, in bonding and then telling stories about what it was like where we grew up, and then, you know, I had an uncle who was a grape grower,” Andrea said. “Robin grew up around a lot of winemaking, families and agriculture, and it was just something that kind of just naturally kind of formed and happened.”
In 2005, they began making wine together. Today, their brand, the McBride Sisters, is sold in over 1,500 locations and it’s respected throughout the industry.
I met the sisters in Napa Valley, California, at a 12-acre ranch they recently purchased, which included 1,500 grapevines. They were looking forward to their winemaker coming by. She would tell them exactly which day would be the perfect one to harvest the grapes. It was any day now so they were closely monitoring the grapes, the weather, the sun — every last detail. Winemaking is, of course, both a science and an art. Andrea explained that one big part is the particular quality of the wind.
“We’re right by the ocean,” she said. “A lot of the vineyards where we grow are by the ocean. So there’s this oceanic influence, which basically means that there’s a breeze that comes in and it cools down the vineyard. And with that cooling, you get this like freshness and acidity that comes in our wines that’s like a vibrant vibrancy.”
She wants that because she wants you to fall in love with their wine before you even drink it. “When you pick up a glass of McBride Sisters wine and you put your nose in there, we want all of these amazing flavors to jump out, to enter into your nose to give you, like, you know, a beautiful experience even before you put it in your mouth,” Andrea said.
If you love wine, and you believe in Black Girl Magic, you need to hear the full amazing story of these two sisters who are hyper-successful business partners, and you need to hear them talk about how they and their all-female team make wine. The McBrides are truly inspirational. Don’t miss their story premiering Friday, Dec. 29 on TheGrioTV.
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.
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