The McBride Sisters’ Triumphant Discovery of Each Other.
McBride Sisters Wine Company became a business under the most unlikely of circumstances. While it’s not entirely unlikely for siblings to start a company together, it’s almost completely unheard of to open one with a sibling you never knew you had.
Robin and Andréa grew up with dreams of working in the wine industry. But for the first half of their lives, one half-sister grew up in Marlborough, New Zealand, and the other grew up in Monterey, California.
They didn’t even know each other existed.
Both half-sisters grew up thinking they were only children on opposite ends of the Pacific Ocean, over 6,500 miles away. Andréa grew up with her mother, Pauline, in New Zealand until she sadly died of breast cancer. At the age of six, she was placed with a foster family. While Robin was raised by her mother, Karen, in Monterey, California.
Their shared biological father never mentioned to either of the siblings that they had a half-sister. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to ask their father why he never told them, as he died from stomach cancer in 1996. However, before passing, he did ask his family to connect the two girls. They were able to get in touch with Andréa but had no idea where Robin was living.
With no way of searching by Google or Facebook, as they did not exist at the time, the family had to perform time-consuming investigation techniques. They ended up pulling the records of every Robin McBride listed in the Department of Motor Vehicle database. After writing dozens of letters, Robin received one from her aunt (her father’s sister).
The note read, “I’m your aunt, and I’m sorry to tell you that your dad has passed away, but you have a little sister,” Andréa told CBS This Morning. The shocking and exciting news led to the sisters’ meeting at LaGuardia Airport in New York just one day after Robin received the letter.
As the story goes, Andréa recalls walking down the jet bridge and thinking she was seeing her reflection in the glass at the end of the hall. While walking toward the glass, she realized it wasn’t her reflection. It was her first time seeing her sister. Robin says she often gets emotional listening to that story because after losing a mother and a father, discovering she had a sister meant so much.
Not long after meeting each other, Robin and Andréa discovered they both had a passion for wine. Robin says that while they both grew up in major wine regions in California and New Zealand and had big dreams, they probably wouldn’t have ended up in the industry alone. But since all the stars aligned and the world brought them together, they seemed destined to start a winery together.
“The world brought us together. We’re invincible, we can do anything,” says Robin. That was certainly the attitude that was needed when they opened in 2005. Even now, the wine industry is mostly white and male. But back then, it was even more so. But they took on the challenge to transform the industry, leading by example and cultivating the community.
With the right mindset and intent, these two fierce and forward-thinking leaders were able to defy tradition and gender, seize opportunities, and build the largest Black-owned wine business in the United States. But it’s not the size of their company that they are most proud of — it’s that they accomplished that feat by focusing on being socially aware, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable.
What’s even more unique about the McBride Sisters Collection is that you can try wines from Andréa’s home state of California and Robin’s home country of New Zealand.
For instance, you can try the Reserve Pinot Noir “Papatūānuku” from Central Otago, New Zealand (92 Points by Wine Enthusiast) or the Reserve Pinot Noir “Cocky Motherf*cker” from Santa Lucia Highlands, California (91 Points Wine Enthusiast).
While those wines we just mentioned hover around $70 (which is a great deal for the quality you’re getting), most of the McBride Sisters’ wines can be purchased for under $25. Robin and Andréa make it a point to keep their wines affordable for the average joe without sacrificing quality. That’s just part of the reason the company has gained such a loyal customer base.
In addition to their unique collection, like SHE CAN, canned wine you can bring anywhere, McBride Sisters also have their ever-popular Black Girl Magic collection. Not only is this collection an ode to their story and culture, but “they are premium wines that respect her palate and showcase the flavors of the finest single vineyards in California,” says Robin and Andréa.
Women-owned. Black-owned. Sister-owned. What started as two half-sisters meeting after the loss of their father turned into an amazing success story that’s stranger than fiction… and there’s a lot more to be told.
TROORA MAGAZINE | APRIL 2023
WRITTEN BY KEVIN JAMES JEFFERY
PHOTOS COURTESY OF @MCBRIDESISTERS | EATING WITH ERICA |AFROELLE MAGAZINE