Half-sisters Robin and Andrea McBride were both born in Los Angeles California, but grew up thousands of miles apart – one in the U.S and the other in New Zealand, both in wine regions, without the knowledge of each other’s existence, thinking they were the only child. After the passing of their father a relative connected them and in 1999 the long lost half-sisters met for the first time. Robin and Andrea are both passionate about wine. They like to describe themselves as dreamers and risk takers. With hard work, dedication and passion for life’s pleasures the McBride sisters have conquered a male dominated industry as the first two African American sisters to start a wine company.
In our interview Amina Touray talks to the McBride sisters about the entrepreneurship, growth and pursuing of dreams.
Amina Touray: You noticed pretty early that wine was one of your mutual interests. When did you decide to take it a step further and make your passion into a career?
A & R: We both, independently of each other, grew up in wine regions over 7,000 miles apart in California and New Zealand. Once we finally met and discovered we both had a passion for wine, we felt we were destined to become vintners together; it felt as though the universe was on our side. So, we made a plan to make it happen! We started in the industry first with a wine import business, and later, created The McBride Sisters wine company and launched our two wine brands: eco.love from New Zealand and recently Truvée from the Central Coast of California.
Andrea McBride: I was still at university when we first started our business and before officially getting into the industry, I had spent time grape farming with my uncle in Marlborough, New Zealand. Not glamorous and really hard work! So from a young age I was heavily influenced by sustainable farming, flavor farming and the purity of fruit.
Robin McBride: I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Monterey, California among miles of vineyards. I always had a passion for wine, but my early career began in sales and marketing, as well as international import and exportation. Emily Ley grew up along the Gulf Coast of Florida. A self-described overachiever, Emily earned fancy degrees .
AT: As two female entrepreneurs, what challenges have you faced when starting your own wine company?
A & R: It’s a challenge being women in the wine business. The industry is made up mostly of men. We’ve had to kick through some ceilings and really prove ourselves with the quality of our wines. Hopefully it makes it a little easier for all the other women behind us that want to be in the wine business.
AT: What do you know about the wine industry now that you wish you would have known earlier?
A & R: As crazy as it sounds, not knowing is an advantage. Sometimes knowing too much scares you into not taking a risk!
AT: What’s the best thing about owning a company together with your sister?
A & R: We speak the same creative language, and our business means everything to us. We travel the world looking for great vineyards, making amazing wine, eating incredible food, throwing awesome parties and meeting interesting people along the way. It’s so special that we get to do it all with each other.
AT: What have you learned about yourself and each other from running a company?
A & R: 1) Family first. 2) We will always get through tough times no matter what
3) Its ok to be uncomfortable in the creative process, it usually leads to good things!
AT: What advice would you give to any other young entrepreneur who is just starting out?
A & R: To always believe in your dreams and pursue them tenaciously. You never know how life is going to work out. This whole business all started from one small dream.
AT: What’s the best advice you have been given?
A & R: A successful woman is one that can build a strong foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at her.
AT: How do you plan on expanding your company?
A & R: We’re always looking at new regions to explore around the world. Our goal is to keep making delicious wines; we’ll keep you posted on our next release .
Photographer & Writer: Amina Touray Wardrobe Stylist: Lisa Valerie Morgan Make up Artist: Florah, Stylebee Hair Stylist: Brittany Gaines Location: W Hotel, Westwood Wine: McBride Sisters, Truvèe Chardonnay