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Robin McBride
 
January 13, 2022 | Robin McBride

Break the Rules, Ditch the Resolutions in 2022

Hello 2022! This year, we’re setting meaningful goals and intentions for ourselves. Instead of measuring our success by meeting the expectations of past resolutions, we want to nurture ourselves to grow and build the year of our dreams. 

Andréa and I have big plans for this coming year and our vision boards are full. 2022 is the year of being intentional about our lifestyle, focusing on loving ourselves and continuing the momentum of changing the wine industry. We’re focusing on the culture and traditions of our wine lifestyle. By setting wine intentions, you get a chance to ask yourself:

  • “How can I feel good about the wines I drink?”
  • “Which wine producers do I want to support this year and why?”
  • “What events and occasions are the most important to me?”
  • “How can I educate myself on wine to create a lifestyle that works for me?” 

It’s time to break the rules of what the wine industry tells us, find new ways to feel good about what we drink and shine a light on a more diverse industry as we go. With that said, we couldn’t think of a better person to join us to kick off 2022 than the Founder of The Hue Society—the one and only, Tahiirah Habibi!

Join us with Tahiirah on Black Girl Magic Day [February 15th] for a day of celebration, togetherness, and a guided wine tasting! Get your FREE invite to this special event HERE (don't forget to purchase the Fly Girl Luxe Virtual Tasting Pack to taste along with us!)

Tahiirah is a dear friend of ours, a recognized sommelier who curates culturally relevant experiences dedicated to increasing economic inclusion and empowerment in the wine industry. As the first Black woman to land on the cover of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Tahiirah has made a name for herself. The entrepreneur has been named on the 40 Under 40 Tastemaker list, featured in Ocean Drive as of the top five female sommeliers, and her story has been picked up by Vogue, VinePair, Upscale Magazine, and Wine & Spirits, to name a few.

Ahead, we sit down with the wine & culture expert to learn how she's dismantling the status quo by normalizing Black women in the wine industry. In the words of Tahiirah and The Hue Society, "assimilation not required."

Meet Tahiirah Habibi

What made you decide to get into the wine industry and what challenges did you overcome along the way? 

I initially used wine as a tool. I was in leadership positions, and when I graduated [college] I saw how powerful it was—but not many people in the community I grew up in had access. 

I wanted to learn everything I could. I wanted to normalize Black women in the wine industry because there were so few of us. I wanted to be the first Black female-identifying master sommelier. 

Normalizing showing up as yourself is definitely a challenge, and is a barrier that I continue to try and dismantle. This idea that you need all these certifications to get your foot through the door… There are other ways to learn and grow. You can come from what some consider disenfranchised neighborhoods and be a Black woman in this industry and do it on your own terms. 

What does 'break the rules and ditch the resolutions' mean to you as we kick off the New Year?

Resolutions can easily become disappointments. Being intentional really breaks the rules and you get to live from a place of joy. Create life on your terms—wine, love, relationships. Free yourself!

What are your wine intentions for 2022 and how did you go about creating these goals?

First, I want to start a podcast (videocast). Next, my intention is to try everything and not write anything off—from different styles, to different techniques, and beyond. I love finding wines that are super geeky and unique. I want to explore my palette more. Lastly, I want to dive into Eastern European wines and wines from Caribbean countries to explore the diversity of wine from a cultural perspective.

How do you plan to educate people on the cultural perspective of wine, and what does that culture look like? 

We have to stand up for our culture. We have to break stereotypes and push past that barrier. That means digging into the nuances surrounding who we are, mentioning these nuances in articles, and decolonizing language. 

That looks like doing things on our own terms and ditching the idea that food from Black cultures doesn’t pair with wine. Enjoying wine as a part of everyday food. For example: When you’re cooking at home and making mac & cheese, there is no shame in this pairing. Who defines what pairs with fine wine?

Why is wine education important and what are some tools you recommend for soaking up the most information?

Wine education is important because it gives you a foundation. But, nothing can override experience except community—the greatest tool that you can get. Community gives you a sense of courage and place (and nothing is more important than a place to call home!). 

If you're studying for certification, you can now get recommendations on books and tools specifically for us, knowing that we speak in a different vernacular. Not having to code switch during this process increases your confidence.

What are two of your non-wine goals or intentions for the New Year?

1. Write a parenting book. The book would focus on: raising a child from a place of love and respect, non-traumatizing parenting, raising a child as a human being rather than possession, and raising a child while trying to build a career.

2. Build a creative space for women focused on fashion and jewelry. Sometimes as women we get too scared to do what we love. I want to cultivate a space for women to feel empowered and make a statement. Do what makes you feel good. Own the room!

What wine are you drinking the most in January 2022?

First off, I love bubbles. Period. Besides that, I'm drinking Eastern European wines and exploring Caribbean wines.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite wine & food experiences? From the varietal, setting, music, any details you can remember… a moment that is frozen in your mind as a perfect wine experience.   

When I was in Miami, I put on the Wine & Reggae festival, my first real Black wine experience. It was an underlying thought that Black people didn’t drink wine. I wanted to create a space that eliminated what people were used to drinking.

When you looked around the event and everyone was just vibing out, it was just us through our own lens. Our food, wines from all over the world, and music.

So many people authentically being themselves. I thought, "It does work. This tribe matters. The work that you’re doing matters."

What's next for your career—as the founder of Hue Society, and as an individual? 

The Hue Society is opening more chapters across the US, as well as international chapters. We're on a mission to create a global network of Black wine consumers. 

Personally, I really want to get my podcast up and running—a space where Black wine isn’t represented at all. I want to create my own roundtables and video content, and position myself for hosting and thought leadership opportunities. I want to continue growing the Wine & Culture Festival. And finally, I always want to make sure I'm advocating and liberating, and growing myself—as a professional, and as a mom. 

 

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2022 at 12:31 PM Permalink to Break the Rules, Ditch the Resolutions in 2022 Permalink
Robin McBride
 
December 16, 2021 | Robin McBride

The McBride Sisters presents: 12 Days of Cocktails with Camille Wilson

It’s time to level up your holiday hosting. How? Wear your best outfit, hang the decorations, invite a guest list of your favorite people & mix up some great cocktails. This season, we’re serving the GOOD STUFF with Camille Wilson from The Cocktail Snob. We’re turning any vibe into an unforgettable celebration. 

Meet the Mixologist behind one of our 12 Days of Cocktails, she’s the friend who always knows where to “eat, drink and twerk” in New York City, where she’s lived for the last decade. She’s giving you style, personality and some of the best cocktails you’ve ever had. She’s that friend. That’s why we’re ringing in 2022 with a very sophisticated, bubbly cocktail hand-crafted by Camille herself. Apple Pie Mimosa anyone? It's so good we'll be serving this mimosa at our next holiday party and sipping on it when the clock strikes midnight this New Years Eve. 

Camille Wilson is a New York City-based cocktail blogger and the creator behind The Cocktail Snob. She provides her audience with elevated, yet approachable ways to create happy hour at home. And she sows seeds of confidence in home bartenders worldwide by sharing recipes and helpful hints for cocktail-making. Since launching her blog in 2018, she's partnered with brands like Woodford Reserve, Perrier, and Reed's. And she was recently highlighted in Food & Wine as one of the "20 Black Mixologists You Need on Your Radar" and in VinePair as one of "15 Cocktail Influencers You Should Be Following on Instagram." Her first book, Free Spirit Cocktails, is set to be published by Chronicle Books in Fall of 2022.

Meet Camille Wilson

As a cocktail expert, what role does wine play in the future of mixed drinks?

I personally love mixing wine into my cocktails! Wine allows for versatility, an extra layer of flavor, and, most importantly, a boozier drink. When most people think of wine in cocktails, the first thing that comes to mind is a mimosa or sangria. But there are so many ways to incorporate all kinds of wine- red, white, rosé etc. in your cocktail. 

How do you go about creating a cocktail from scratch and what’s the most important thing to keep in mind when making a new recipe?

I’m typically inspired by seasonal ingredients and flavors. So I usually start off with that as the base. From there, I decide what spirit will pair well with it and then add in other flavors/ingredients that will complement what’s already in the shaker/glass. The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a new recipe is balance. You don’t want any single ingredient to overpower the others. For example, cocktails that are overly sweet or too boozy are usually not good. So achieving a balance of ingredients is important and makes for a great cocktail-drinking experience.

What’s your favorite food & cocktail pairing?

Whenever I drink, I reach for something savory-anything from popcorn to pizza. If I had to pick a favorite pairing, I’d say a classic margarita paired with french fries or chicken wings. 

Celebrating all of life’s moments is what we do here at the McBride Sisters Collection, what’s the most recent moment you celebrated and what were you drinking during?

I’m big on celebrating life’s moments-big and small. So I can always find a reason to pop open a bottle of something. A big moment I celebrated recently was my birthday. I celebrated at The Seville in New York City with the Mission X, one of their signature cocktails. 

Can you tell us about one of your favorite cocktail experiences? Where were you and what were you drinking?

One of my favorite cocktail experiences was overseas at a bar called Revolucion Cocktail in Bangkok, Thailand. I can’t remember what I drank. But the mixologists there were incredible! They were skilled in creating delicious cocktails but they also showed off their performance skills and put on a show after lighting the bar on fire...literally. They successfully juggled cups, bottles, and shakers. A few bartenders even juggled flaming bottles of alcohol. And somehow they were all synchronized!  ​​I was absolutely mesmerized. It’s an experience I’ll never forget!

How does the Sister’s story resonate with you?

One thing I really love about the McBride Sisters’ story is how their shared love of wine brought them together. And the passion they had to share wine with the world shook the wine industry and they blazed a trail for women with similar passions.  The takeaway for me is that if you follow your passion and truly live out your purpose, you can lay the foundation for those who are coming behind you. 

What are you the most proud of after starting The Cocktail Snob?

I am most proud of how I’ve established myself in the influencer/content creator world in a short amount of time. I got where I am today by consistently challenging myself and not being afraid to try new things. When I started out, there were so many things I didn’t know and skills I thought I’d never have. But I pushed myself and took the time to learn and research on my own. It wasn’t easy, especially with a full-time job. But I’m so proud of myself for pushing through because now I feel like there is no challenge I can’t conquer.

Set the scene, how should the Apple Pie Mimosa be enjoyed this holiday season? What’s the vibe, music, setting, outfit.. 

The Apple Pie Mimosa is best enjoyed at brunch but is really perfect for anytime of day. Before COVID, I used to host an annual Mistletoe & Mimosas party for my close friends. And, if I were hosting this year, the Apple Pie Mimosa would absolutely make an appearance. The vibe is lowkey but fun. People come dressed casual chic, we play games, and laugh all day. Strangers become friends and the day party lasts well into the night. 

We love how much self-evaluation you used to create this blog in the first place, finding out what your passions were and what your friends and ever-growing audience turns to you for. What’s the next step for you?

I’ve got a couple of big projects in the works that I’m really excited about. One of which is my book, Free Spirit Cocktails, which will be published by Chronicle Books in November of next year. It’s a collection of 40 original recipes that I’ve spent the last year perfecting and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

 

 

Time Posted: Dec 16, 2021 at 3:33 PM Permalink to The McBride Sisters presents: 12 Days of Cocktails with Camille Wilson Permalink
Robin McBride
 
December 10, 2021 | Robin McBride

Show Up & Show Off Your Wine Knowledge This Season

This season, we’re showing up to the holiday party with a lot more than a bottle of wine. Show off your wine knowledge and be the person at the party who knows which wine to pair with the favorite family recipes. 

McBride Certified Wine 101 is a free wine education course that was created to teach the wine curious about winemaking, wine tasting, food pairing and more. Wine knowledge and education should be accessible to everyone. For the holidays this year, we’re joined by Cassandra Schaeg of SIP Wine & Beer. She’s using her platform to educate and entertain the wine world in an inclusive and exciting way. The more success she finds, the more she brings everyone up together. Her wine knowledge is on point, her business is booming and we can’t wait to learn more about her tips and tricks for how to enjoy wine over the holidays.

Cassandra is the Founder of SIP Wine & Beer, a tasting room in Escondido, CA, specializing in and promoting wine and beer made by women and people of color. Since 2016 SIP Wine & Beer has been a destination to inspire, empower, and educate.

Cassandra supports her community by sharing her experiences and knowledge to assist entrepreneurs, students, and the community in understanding the importance of social and economic impact. SIP has been a hub for women and BIPOC brewmasters to thrive and share their stories and spirits. As a result, the San Diego community spent $500k supporting brands made by women and people of color.

She is passionate about assisting women and people of color in the wine, beer, and entrepreneurial ecosystem and champions initiatives to increase advocacy and resources. Supporting women and people of color is vital to expand views often seen from a singular narrative. Through SIP Wine & Beer, her movement to SIP | CONNECT | SHARE lives through community, culture, conversation, and your support.

Level Up Your Holidays With Cassandra

Robin: Why wine? What made you decide to get into the wine industry and what challenges did you overcome along the way? What made you decide to get into the wine industry, and what challenges did you overcome along the way? 

Cassandra: I decided to get into the wine industry because I enjoy the community, culture, and conversation it brings. Connecting with friends, family, and strangers over a bottle of wine is exciting. Sharing the stories of winemakers who've persevered through challenges and created their rulebook to navigate the industry gives me the strength to continue chasing my dreams. Challenges are a part of entrepreneurship. The biggest challenge was navigating a space where representation was limited. Having a support system is vital, and I appreciate Robin and Andrea's willingness to be sisters to others in the wine industry.

Robin: Over the holidays, which wines are you always reaching for? What’s your go-to holiday wine? 

Cassandra: Bubbles are my go-to to start the party. I always start the party with Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut. After, it's a bold cabernet for dinner and conversation. My favorite is Kita's 2016 cabernet, made by the 2021 VinePair winemaker of the year Tara Gomez!

Robin: What role does wine play in your family feasts or holiday celebrations?

Cassandra: Wine is the glue that keeps our family feasts and holiday celebrations memorable. As the founder of SIP Wine & Beer, I am the designated wine curator, and I take this job seriously. 

Robin: Our holiday wine education theme is Show Up & Show Off Your Wine Knowledge this season. How does that resonate with you? 

Cassandra: Excellence and sophistication are words that come to mind when I Show Up & Show Off. Sharing the excellence of women and BIPOC winemakers while drinking their wine with pride is a feeling everyone should experience. 

Robin: What are 5 wine facts to bring to the holiday dinner table this year?

Cassandra:

  1. Bubbles are a must, and they also help with digestion.
  2. Wine with acidity complements dishes like yams, mac and cheese, stuffing, and turkey. 
  3. Keep your wine selection to 3 bottles to savor the flavors and aromas paired with your meal. 
  4. Add a port or late harvest riesling with your banana pudding or peach cobbler and watch your guests will love it!
  5. Drink responsibly!

Robin: What are the 3 best holiday dishes + unique wine pairings to try this year?

Cassandra:

  1. Fried chicken + rose
  2. Collard greens + chenin blanc
  3. Peach cobbler + late harvest riesling

Robin: Can you tell us about one of your favorite holiday wine & food experiences? From the varietal, setting, music, any details you can remember — but a moment that is frozen in your mind as a perfect wine experience.   

Cassandra: A moment that sticks out is Thanksgiving 2020. I had to be creative to cure my pandemic woes, so I decided to cook fried chicken, yams, mac and cheese, greens, and cornbread. My drink of choice was LeFete Rose, and it changed my life! Paired with classic movies like House Party and Boomerang, it was a Thanksgiving I'll never forget.

Robin: Wine education also includes educating the consumer on inclusivity. What role have you taken in driving forward a more inclusive wine industry? How are you continuing to make an impact?

Cassandra: SIP Wine & Beer's business model supports local women and people of color. When you visit SIP, you are entering a space where inclusivity thrives. SIP's success depends on the success of brands represented, and it is vital to support innovators who defied odds in an underrepresented industry. 

Robin: Why did you decide to start SIP Wine & Beer and what’s next for your career?

Cassandra: I started SIP Wine & Beer to immerse myself in the community. Through wine and beer, I forged bonds with women and BIPOC winemakers who are the epitome of excellence. I truly enjoy my entrepreneurial journey, and next year’s goal is to continue to generate $1M in sales through women and BIPOC brands. Stay tuned for what’s next!!!

 

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2021 at 5:00 PM Permalink to Show Up & Show Off Your Wine Knowledge This Season Permalink
Robin McBride
 
November 17, 2021 | Robin McBride

How To Remix Your Friendsgiving + Festive Holiday Cocktails

This holiday season, we're inviting you to serve up the good stuff. If you’re hosting for the holidays this year, it's time to remix your friendsgiving cocktails. From a Ginger Bells Spiced Zin to our Apple Pie Magic Mimosa, let us make hosting easier. Make the perfect playlist, decorate your home & send out the invites for your best friendsgiving yet! 


 

12 Days of Cocktails Wine Set

 

With this six bottle wine set, we’re sending you home with the best holiday cocktail recipes hand crafted by some amazing mixologists and our winemakers that we’ve teamed up with! 

Includes an exclusive friendsgiving drink recipes for 12 holiday cocktails using this set of six wines. Recipes will be accessible on the luxe insert included in your wine set. 

Get The Set

 


How To Remix Your Hosting

  • The Perfect Friendsgiving Drinks Table

Make the cocktails the center of attention for your holiday events. Decorate and set up the perfect drink station for your guests. Include the written recipes, glassware and ingredients for each guest to create the holiday drink of their dreams. Add some extra decorations to this table and make sure you can hear the music from this spot in the room. Don’t forget to have an area to add a spiced rim to each of the cocktail glasses depending on the recipes!

  • Make Great Memories

Grab about 5-10 polaroid cameras and have them by the entrance of the holiday party. Put up a sign to encourage each guest to grab a camera and shoot photos of the party as they sip, sing and enjoy the event! Make sure to let them know to leave the cameras after the event ends so you can get them developed and then send the digital prints to each attendee afterwards.

 Extra: Build A Letter Balloon Background 

A night to remember is better when your guests are encouraged to take photos! Set up a balloon background that spells out the name of your event, such as, Friendsgiving, New Year’s Eve, Tis’ the season, etc. It will give your guests a reason to take photos in front of the sign but also add some unique festive decorations to the event. 

  • A Potluck To Remember 

Ask guests to bring their favorite holiday dishes. Before the event, create a full list of dishes being brought so you know what’s still needed! During the event at the dinner table, ask everyone to explain why the specific dish they brought is their favorite and what memories it brings up. Close out these special stories with a Friendsgiving toast! 

Happy hosting,

 

Time Posted: Nov 17, 2021 at 1:30 PM Permalink to How To Remix Your Friendsgiving + Festive Holiday Cocktails Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
November 2, 2021 | Andréa McBride

A McBride Sisters Wine + Food Pairing Guide

A Pairing Guide with the McBride Sisters Collection wines with curated food and recipes pairings, hand crafted by Alex Hill from Just Add Hot Sauce. What’s better than tradition? New traditions.

For far too long, the “rules” have overshadowed the experience when it comes to wine. With the McBride Sisters Collection, modern epicureans (aka Foodies) finally have a home that matches the fearless way they want to live. The only rule of McBride Sisters Collection is that … there aren’t any. This pairing guide is for those who love to cook, experiment and expand their palate when it comes to wine and food. With recipes created by Alex and beautifully paired with our McBride Sisters Feelin’ Myself set of wines, download the e-cookbook to start cooking these incredible, exclusive recipes!

Download The Guide

Alex Hill is a former Brooklyn girl now Washington, D.C. based, self-taught cook with a passion for making food that’s filled with flavor, functional and affordable. Her affinity for cooking developed at an early age watching her mother, Evelyn, create mouthwatering dishes for their family combining both her Puerto Rican and African-American heritages. 

In 2017, she created  Just Add Hot Sauce as an outlet to show an expression of love to the people you care about the most … through their stomachs. From dinner parties and blogging recipes to teaching cooking classes and trying new techniques, cooking is what brings her joy. Whether you want to add a little flavor in your recipe or a boost in your day, you can always get a kick when you ‘Just Add Hot Sauce’!

 


Get To Know Alex Hill

As a food expert, how does wine play a role in the dining experience? 

Alex: Everyone loves a good glass of wine and as I’ve gotten older I appreciate it even more with good food. Wine should always be a compliment to a dish and vice versa. One shouldn’t outshine the other, you know? Some wines bring out more flavors in a dish while other wines almost act as a palette cleanser to others. 

How do you create a dish from scratch that’s designed to pair with a specific wine?

Alex: I always think about the notes of a dish and what feeling am I trying to portray through a dish. Is it cozy with notes of cinnamon so I think about how a specific wine will compliment that dish? OH, and whenever I’m using a certain wine in a dish I always, always drink a glass (or two) first and think “Do I want to drink this?” then of course it is going to be amazing in a dish. 

What’s your favorite food & wine pairing?

Alex: Ugh, a good hearty pasta with red wine! FAVE PAIRING EVER! Especially if the wine is used in the sauce.

Family is the foundation to the McBride Sisters Collection, how does family play a role in your brand, Just Add Hot Sauce?

Alex: Family is my foundation as well. My whole brand started because of my Mom. She taught me how to cook and more importantly she taught herself how to cook when she was in the midst of a divorce from my Dad. She was always a good cook but she wanted to become better being that now she was a single mom. So whenever we were at my Dad’s house on the weekends she used that time to try new recipes then she would test it out on us. I loveeeeee being in the kitchen with my Mom, plus I feel like Mom’s cooking is ALWAYS better. 

Your Mother’s cooking has played such a pivotal role in your life and the career you’ve built. You’ve mentioned how no matter what, she made sure to have a sit down family dinner every night with you and your family. How has that shaped the way you enjoy food and the meaning of a family meal?

Alex: It’s so, so important to me. When I was younger we would have such great convos over dinner and my brother being the class clown, we would be cracking up laughing at dinner - so bellies full and heart full. For me food is community and an expression of love so my favorite part is not just the cooking process but enjoying the food with my friends & family - and a good glass of wine. 

Can you tell us about one of your favorite wine & food experiences? From the varietal, setting, music, any details you can remember — but a moment that is frozen in your mind as a perfect wine experience.

Alex: OMG, definitely when me and my partner went to this amazing vineyard in Cape Town, South Africa. It changed my life! We went to multiple vineyards via a tram and it was so beautiful and this may sound dramatic but I feel like every note they were describing, I tasted it every single note and it paired so well with what we were eating. I distinctly remember having this amazing sauvignon blanc with notes of pears and they served a cheese board with this thinly sliced prosciutto, I swear my mouth exploded with flavor. The fattiness & saltiness of the prosciutto with the wine wine was a match made in heaven!

What role has your cultural background played in your cooking and how does it influence how you envision the future of the food and wine industry?

My background is so important to me, I’m Black and Puerto Rican and I honor both sides of my culture through the cuisine I cook. It’s both soul food and hispanic with a mix of caribbean culture. I tell stories through my food and I hope there are more multi-cultural women in these spaces of food media represented. There’s so many white women in food getting these opportunities like book deals, TV shows,etc. so it always feels good when you see someone that looks like me and talking about the food I grew up on - and also, I’m a millennial! Where are the spaces for us?! I love to cook and also enjoy a really great glass of wine or cocktail!

How does the Sister’s story resonate with you?

I’ve known about the sisters for a while but listening to their NPR’s “How I Built This” interview really resonated with me, I cried listening to it and often refer back to it when I doubt myself in this new entrepreneurial world or having imposter syndrome. What really resonated with me was their ‘dream drives’, I do something similar on my morning walks where I dream and manifest about my life. The sisters really went for it, beyond their wildest dreams and look where they are now! It’s truly beyond inspiring. 

What was your favorite part about creating this e-cookbook Pairing Guide and how can the audience use it this holiday season?

Oh my gosh, what was really great was serving my friends after! I made all this food and called them like do you want to come over and eat! I loved creating these recipes and loved photographing them even more! My aesthetic is comfort and really showcasing the food and I really think that came across.

What’s next for you in your career? We know you love manifesting, what’s something you’re manifesting for yourself right now?

I’m getting intro products right now which is really fun! I recently released a kitchen candle which sold out twice and I’m releasing another product for the kitchen soon! I’m manifesting a published NY Times Best Selling Cookbook & a cooking show on a streaming platform - If I was in the car with the sisters on their dream drive, I would definitely say this!

Xoxo,

Time Posted: Nov 2, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to A McBride Sisters Wine + Food Pairing Guide Permalink
Robin McBride
 
October 25, 2021 | Robin McBride

A Look Inside the 2021 California Harvest

Here in the Golden State, we’re joined by Head Winemaker, Amy Butler, on the blog to take us through the exciting California grape harvest this year. For Amy, harvest started on August 28th with the fruit for our sparkling wine. Now, we’re in October and this week is going to be the last week we have fruit scheduled to arrive at the winery. At the tail end of this year’s harvest season, we wanted to take a look into what this year brought and what made it special! Learn more about how Amy joined our winemaking team here

The fruit we’re bringing in this year is primarily from the Central Coast of California. From as far south as the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County to as far north as the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County and everywhere in between.

“The growing season was long and varied, with low temperatures during flowering and fruit set leading to fairly light yields. The long hang time, provided by a relatively mild summer, meant that the fruit had plenty of time to develop full flavors without the quick accumulation of sugar. In Monterey County especially, morning fog lingered in the vineyards, delaying ripening even more. What we’ve seen so far is exceptional quality with only slightly diminished yields, and a very long, protracted harvest season.” - Amy Butler

One of the most important aspects of sourcing grapes and making wine is building relationships throughout the process. This year, Amy had the pleasure of meeting Kirk, a farmer she met sourcing grapes for our sparkling wines. Everyone plays an important role in the bottles of wine you know and love. “From the tractor operators, to the barrel coopers, to the harvest schedulers, the sugar samplers,  and the press operators. It’s crucial to create fruitful partnerships with our grower and production colleagues, the people who work side by side with us every day to make what we do a success.”

Kirk is a grape-grower who also has avocados and pigs too. For Amy, the grape farmers are some of her favorite people. Without our viticultural (grape-growing) partners, it would be impossible to do what we do. 

Harvest With Amy Butler

“As soon as I began tasting the fruit Kirk had grown, I knew it was exactly what I wanted for the sparkling base wine for this vintage. My first visit to his vineyard I knew I needed to measure the sugar content, pH, and acidity as soon as possible. I could already feel the wine that was inside those tiny, seedy little pockets of juice we call grapes. 

I was not expecting the grapes to be so ripe yet that I’d forgotten my gear. I had my clippers, but no buckets, and two blocks of Chardonnay that needed sampling! 

Lucky for me, Kirk also raises pigs. That’s when he handed me a large, transparent, blue plastic sock, with an elasticized top, meant for pulling on over one’s boots while mucking around pigsties. This would be the perfect container for 10-15 pounds of Chardonnay grapes. 

How I wish I had a photo of these blue booties filled with grapes, like a neon gift from Santa. My team at the winery were also amused with my new containers for picking. We crushed the grapes from Kirk’s vineyard, tested them and scheduled the harvest for that Saturday. 

After I left the winery that day, I got a text from Kirk: “Do you need more pig booties for your other vineyards?” Humor is part of what builds a long-term winery/grower relationship. Along with impeccable fruit quality. We’ll be back for more next year.”

Xoxo,

 

and the Winemaking Team

 

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2021 at 2:26 PM Permalink to A Look Inside the 2021 California Harvest Permalink
Robin McBride
 
October 25, 2021 | Robin McBride

Family Tell-All Virtual Wine Tasting

 

Family Day with the McBride Sisters

 

Andréa and I celebrated National Family Day the best way we know how, with each other, a great bottle of wine and a charcuterie board.  

For this event we talked about the power of family and how that’s contributed to the success of our business. For us, family is everything. We wanted to build a brand that continued to share the sisterhood we found with wine lovers everywhere. 

Make sure to join our mailing list here to reserve your spot for our next virtual event. Find our How To: Build A Perfect Charcuterie Board blog here to make the best grazing board this season.

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2021 at 9:40 AM Permalink to Family Tell-All Virtual Wine Tasting Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
October 14, 2021 | Andréa McBride

McBride Sisters Guide to Zinfandel

We love a great glass of McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel. Right now it can only be purchased online and is not available in stores! Produced in California, this wine can welcome you into the world of complex reds. From a fruit forward beginning to a hint of spice at the end, this grape is best paired with food (see our pairings below) and can be a great wine to expand your palate! Scientists predict that Zinfandel is one of the oldest grape varietals still being produced today. According to Zinfandel.org, it’s been traced back to 6000 BC. Zinfandel dates back to the 1700’s in the United States, being brought over from Austria into the Boston Harbor. 

The late-ripening red Zinfandel wine produces a jammy flavor bursting with fruity aromas of blackberry, cherry, plums, black pepper, and cinnamon with varying levels of oak. A fuller bodied wine that is high in alcohol content, Zinfandel is known for its fruity meets spicy kick with a smoky body. Previously known as California’s grape, it used to be made in a sweeter wine style but is now grown all over the west coast and internationally as well produced in a more dry style.

Zinfandel is a grape that can be largely misunderstood due to the ways in which it was produced in the New World (United States). With grape origin being somewhat of a mystery, scientists are now linking its roots to Croatia. Zinfandel, in Italy, is called Primitivo but while they have different names, they are the same grape. 

Zinfandel Tasting Notes

The taste of a Zinfandel wine can vary greatly, depending on the producer, region and winemaking. The style of the wine can be altered with winemaking techniques, making it important to try multiple producers to find your favorite style. Our Zinfandel is a red wine is a lovely purple-tinged ruby red wine with intensely aromatic fresh plum, dried cherry and delicate crushed black pepper followed by soft oak notes and a hint of spicy Madagascar vanilla. This wine has a generously fruit forward palate with bold flavors, berry jam and dried fig with a grand finale of dried cherry and subtle peppercorns.

Food pairings

Due to its unique flavor profile, Zinfandel pairs well with pizza, cheese lasagne, or any other dishes with tart sauces or cheese. It would also pair well with BBQ meat dishes (think juicy ribs) or even a spicy curry. Try any of these dishes with our online exclusive McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic California Zinfandel. 

Zinfandel Vs Other Red Wines

A popular red wine comparison can be found in Zinfandel vs Merlot. ​​Merlot is known for its soft, sensual texture, and one of the world's second favorite red wines (after Cab Sauv). It is extremely food friendly and produced for a range of price points. The easy-drinking red has an approachable style that makes it great for those new to red wine. With notes of chocolate and plum, this smooth and velvety medium bodied red wine has a versatility that makes it perfect both on its own and in blends. Zinfandel is typically more jammy than Merlot but both can be made in medium-bodied styles. Zinfandel is usually a more heavy-bodied red wine than your typical Merlot. 

Another comparison we hear about often is Zinfandel vs Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a popular light bodied red wine native to Burgundy, France, that is known for its flower and spice aromas which are complemented by a smooth finish. Despite being notoriously difficult to grow, the internationally produced wine is one of the few fruits that is often made into red, rosé, white, and sparkling wine. Typical flavors of a French Pinot Noir will be mushroom, cherry, potting soil and rose. Pinot is a lighter-bodied red wine. There are less intense ripe fruit notes than on Zinfandel. 

Have you been enjoying our wine guides? If you're hoping to learn more about the wines you drink, join our McBride Certified Wine 101 community for a wine course to learn all things wine, winemaking and wine tasting to give you the tools to feel comfortable in any situation.


Xoxo,

Time Posted: Oct 14, 2021 at 10:13 AM Permalink to McBride Sisters Guide to Zinfandel Permalink
Robin McBride
 
September 22, 2021 | Robin McBride

Must Mix Fall Wine Cocktails

Hello Fall! We’re passing up the Pumpkin Spice this year and diving right into our go-to wine cocktails. Hand crafted by our Head Winemaker, Amy Butler, we’re giving you our McBride Sisters twist on your favorite classics with recipes, an easy way to order the wines & storing tips if you don’t finish the whole bottle. 

The Oakland 75

Oakland is where it’s at! That’s why we're giving you our take on the classic French 75, with our very own twist. You can enjoy a French 75 to replace your go-to mimosa or enjoy it after your meal, as a dessert of sorts. That’s how we like it. According to Liquor.com, “The French 75 is named for the fast-firing 75 millimeter field gun that was utilized by the French during World War One.” 

Grab our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé to add some fruity, creaminess to the cocktail — conveniently available with our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel for your Red Wine Margarita below. One stop shop for the wines to mix up these special drinks! Get the wines here. 

Red Wine Margarita 

Margarita’s may be our drink of choice all year around, but pour over some full-bodied Zinfandel to give your classic Marg a bit of spice and ripe fruit. You may not ever go back to your classic. Salt on the rim is optional, we used our favorite coup glasses to make it fancy but any glass will do! Developed by Amy, we are just now realizing how well this woman can make a wine cocktail. Recipes that use red wine are our Fall favorites.

Grab our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel to spice up your Red Wine Margarita here — available in the perfect four bottle bundle with our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé for all of your fall cocktail needs! Shop now.

Opened Wine: How To Store It?

For some people (not always us!), you can end up with a pretty full opened bottle of wine after mixing up cocktails. Below are our top 5 storing tips for your open bottles so they don’t go to waste and are fresh to drink the next day. 

  • Make sure to keep the cork of screw off cap just in case you don’t have a wine storage cork. We’d recommend having these affordable, Repour rubber wine stoppers on hand for your still wines. 
  • For your bubbles, you’ll have a very hard time getting the original cork back in. Make sure to stock up on these sparkling wine stoppers from Cuisinart, before the holiday season.
  • Put all re-corked or wines with a stopper into the fridge after opening. For red wine, you can pull it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before drinking to let it warm back up. 

How long to wait before you drink your opened wine?

  • Red Wine can be stored in the fridge for up 5 days or so. We’d highly recommend drinking within 1-3 because the longer the wine is in the fridge you’ll lose some of the delicious fruit notes and rich flavors. 
  • We’d recommend storing White Wine in the fridge for up to 3 days but drinking within 1-2 as it will lose the aromas fairly quickly. 
  • For Sparkling Wine, it can really only last in the fridge for 1-2 days max before losing all of the delicious carbonation. We’d recommend always drinking the next day to keep the quality high. 

Getting into the holiday season already? Find our favorite festive cocktails for the holiday season here. For all of you who love to host a holiday party, find our Holiday Table Presentations Do's And Don'ts here. 

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Sep 22, 2021 at 8:11 AM Permalink to Must Mix Fall Wine Cocktails Permalink
Robin McBride
 
September 13, 2021 | Robin McBride

The Story Behind Black Girl Magic Wines

Black Girl Magic: Bold on purpose, sweet by design, refreshingly complex.

It was at ESSENCE Fest 2018 where we first launched our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic label. The incredible event is a “Party with a Purpose,” put on by ESSENCE Magazine, which has grown over 27 years to be one of the premiere gatherings for Black music, entertainment and culture — drawing averages of 500,000 attendees annually. It was a festival where thousands of Black women came together in one place to empower, educate and elevate during the day and party(with a purpose)at the music festival at night. Headlining with TRUE icons - we’re talkin’ Beyoncé, Barack & Michelle Obama, Missy Elliott, Diana Ross, and many more.

McBride Sisters at Essence Fest 2018

“ESSENCE is where Black Women Come First for news, entertainment, and motivation.”

ESSENCE

When we launched the label in 2018, it also happened to be the first time New Orleans had a Black woman mayor, LaToya Cantrell. Since ESSENCE Fest is such a huge contributor to the city, the mayor hosted the opening party and we knew that’s where we wanted to introduce McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic to the world.

We only launched one wine in 2018. Riesling, a noble grape that originated from the Alsace region of France, was one of our favorites. It’s beautifully floral, with jasmine, honey and punch-you-in-your nose aromatics. Our style of Riesling remixed the traditions; you know the way that we do it! We wanted gorgeous acidity balanced with residual sugar. It was at the Essence Fest opening party where we announced our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling. And let me say we have NEVER in our lives had people respond to a label and to a bottle of wine the way that they did that weekend. We ran out of this inaugural Riesling so quickly, that we knew right away we needed to give this label the attention it deserved. Robin & I tapped into something really special, something rare.

McBride Sisters at Essence Fest 2018

Since the incredible launch of our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling, we’ve added a Red Blend, Rosé, Sparkling Burt, Merlot and Zinfandel to our the Black Girl Magic collection. These wines and this label have received so much love from you all! We see your amazing Instagram posts showcasing your Black Girl Magic and that’s the reason we made this brand. 

McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic was cultivated at a time when we were seeing Black women breaking barriers as judges, scientists and in sports and entertainment. Black women were a huge part of the wine industry consumer demographic but were being underserved. If we were to honor the direct women in our family and the women within our community with a wine to celebrate their beauty and their resilience, what would that label look like? 

Black women have been at the forefront of beauty, culture and style since the dawn of time -- yet are always last when it comes to products and services designed with them in mind. If our mission has always been to shake up the industry, how can you really drive innovation and serve people from diverse backgrounds in different countries and cultures if you have a small exclusive demographic of people making all of the decisions? It was time for Black women and everyone who supports Black culture to have a wine that was made with Her in mind. Black Girl Magic is more than a phrase. It’s a feeling. A look. A mood. A taste. Our wines are a celebration for us, by us, of all the things passed down from our ancestors to today. Our features, our skin, our beauty, our magic … and the wine inspired by it all. 

These wines were made to celebrate the groundbreaking accomplishments of Black women including the small victories. Whether you’re sipping on them after work or for your wedding, there’s an indescribable joy in turning lowkey moments into unforgettable celebrations. That’s the power of these wines, we can turn ANY vibe into a celebration. 

She is fun, fresh and fly. Sun-kissed and ripe. Full-bodied and luscious. She is one of a kind, she is McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wines. 

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Sep 13, 2021 at 4:04 PM Permalink to The Story Behind Black Girl Magic Wines Permalink
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