In a world that often resists change, some individuals defy norms and carve their paths. Iris Duplantier-Rideau, a woman of remarkable resilience and diverse talents, is one of them. From her early years navigating Jim Crow laws in the South to her pivotal role in the Great Migration to California, to establishing a successful winery in 1997. Iris’s story is one of resilience and reinvention. Her foray into the wine industry, marked by the creation of the renowned Rideau tasting room, challenged norms and brought Creole culture to the forefront. Now, with a family project in New Orleans, she seeks to preserve their mixed heritage, bridging the gap between white and black identities. Rideau reflects on the challenges faced and the acceptance sought in the predominantly White wine industry, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. As she discusses the role of black institutions in cultural preservation and imparts advice to future generations, her legacy emerges as a powerful narrative of courage, authenticity, and unwavering determination.
It’s so great to get to sit down with you! Tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately. What are you looking forward to?
My name is Iris Duplantier-Rideau and I was born in the south. My title now is now author since I've had so many titles in my years. I was a successful insurance agent, the first Black woman agency on the West Coast and that was in 1967. It became my reason for wanting to be involved in civil rights and human rights, so I did that in Los Angeles for 32 years. I’ve had many titles, so it’s kind of hard to answer that question.
That there is a woman of many talents! Let's talk about your wine history. How long have you been in the wine industry and how did you get started? What has the journey been like for you?
I moved to Wine Country in 1990 and got started going to tasting rooms and learning a lot about wine and the winery lifestyle; it just became my passion. By the time I moved here [California] In 1990, a property came on the market and I bought it in 1995. I fell in love with it! My tasting room, Rideau, was an old 1884 historical Adobe in Santa Barbara County. It needed to be restored, and as I got into the restoration and before I knew it, I was planning on a vineyard and opening my own tasting room. I opened my doors in 1997 and had it open for 20 years. It was one of the most successful wineries in the valley. I introduced my Creole culture to the valley, which meant that they could take me for whatever they wanted to. In those days, I couldn’t find a Black winemaker anywhere but I was able to find a couple of Black women from my tasting room [to work]; that was the extent to my representation. Everyone loved my Creole cooking and Jazz playing, that was the reason we became successful overnight. People didn’t have a place to go like mine. It wasn't time for me back then, the wine industry was not interested. [They] didn't even think that we drank wine.To me, it’s time for us, you’re in high demand and we are in high demand as Black people and women. You can do anything you want to do.
That was the beginning of a huge Legacy in the wine industry. What you created and the courage to do that, did you feel like you were well accepted when you first came on to the scene and started building this?
In the beginning, most people didn’t even know so I didn’t say anything. There were only two percent of us in the valley, so I had to depend on the white community. As I started making that transition into becoming a winery for everyone I discovered that some parts of the White community were not ready to accept us, but those that were open to change came, stayed, and loved the opportunity to talk with my Black customers and get to know each other.
Let's talk about what it was like growing up and the transition from Louisiana to California. You wrote a whole book about it, From WHITE to BLACK: One Life Between Two Worlds.
My formative years were throughout the 1940s during Jim Crow laws. The suffering and oppression that was imposed on Black people was so hard. You can’t even imagine how difficult it was to grow up as a Black person back then. We as Creole people, for those that could, took the opportunity to pass as White. My grandmother introduced this concept to me and took me everywhere in the South and New Orleans primarily passing for White. I can't forget those days. During that time weren't even allowed to look at White people, we had to put our heads down so that our eyes wouldn’t touch them, let alone sit next to them on a bus. By the time I was 10, I knew that I couldn't live in the South because I was losing my identity as a person of color. I was losing my dignity, I was losing everything. So, I finally convinced my mother to move to California when I was 12 years old. It was the time of the Great Migration when six million Black people fled the South. I spent my adult years in Los Angeles and that's when I got involved in politics. I found myself opening an agency for Black people who could not get insurance during those times after the Watts riots. It was called redlining, so you couldn't get insurance or secure a loan. It launched my career and how I became sort of successful in LA for 32 years.
You have a dual legacy of being the first in a lot of ways, you’ve always kind of been on the frontier of change, Civil Rights, and making sure that you were taking care of the community regardless of who thought you were Black or White. It says a lot about you as a human, how you just reclaimed your humanity at the age of 10!
Can you tell us about the project that you're working on right now with your family in New Orleans?
We just started it! We call ourselves the Duplantier shape, peasants. We go from white to black and everything in between. And it's so beautiful when there's a picture that we presented to the state, now called Magnolia Mound. It turns out that my great-grandfather Gave his mixed children his last name. Had he not done that, I wouldn't even know my history. That goes for all black people who grew up on those plantations. The plantation now is owned by the state of Louisiana. At first, they were kind of defensive, but they realized that we were there to offer our educational background and our knowledge. The first thing that I want to get done is a monument that is going to be made out of bricks and each brick will have the name of the slave who lived and died on that plantation.
Throughout all of the things that you’ve built so far, do you have any regrets along the way of the journey?
The only regret I have is selling my winery! I knew it had grown and would keep growing and I was in my 80’s. I had to give it up but I moved right down the road from it. I still go there almost every day and it still has the same name!
What role do you believe that black institutions such as social organizations, schools, and churches play in preserving and transmitting cultural heritage?
I think that's up to all of us. The facilities, the universities, churches, and so forth are great places for us to be able to tell our story. But, I think that It's up to us as Black people, of all ages, to continue getting our education and continue growing. Spreading the word making, a change is determined to be about change and to use those facilities.
How do you measure your legacy? What advice do you have for future generations and people who are coming after you?
I want my legacy to be about being a role model, a Trailblazer for young people and to have that ability to assist whenever I can. I'll be an example for anybody. Don’t accept no,iIn fact allow it to drive you further and you're not going to tell me that I can't.
This February we’re celebrating Black History Month through the lens of Legacy, where we embark on a journey to honor the achievements, resilience, and contributions of the Black community who have shaped history, both in the world of wine and culture. Today, we're focusing on the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee, a mosaic of cultural traditions that have been indelible in American cuisine and winemaking in the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
What is the Gullah Geechee Culture?
The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to the region to work on rice plantations during the colonial and Antebellum periods. Gullah Geechee refers to both a distinct culture and a unique Creole language spoken by African Americans in the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida, particularly in the Sea Islands. The Gullah Geechee culture is characterized by its preservation of African cultural practices, traditions, and language, which have been passed down through generations. This includes storytelling, music, dance, cuisine, and craftsmanship. Stories and famous folklore have been passed down through generations and resonated with many communities with special characters such as Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus. Their stories highlighted wit and true oral traditions based on West African storytelling.
The Gullah Geechee language, often referred to simply as "Gullah" or "Geechee," is a Creole language that developed from various African languages mixed with English. It has its own distinct vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, and it continues to be spoken by members of the Gullah Geechee community today. There are common words such as "Kumbaya" which refers to the famous folk song but is also used as a term to "Come By Here" reflecting the community-oriented nature of the Gullah Geechee people. This meaning embraces its musical association, embodying a spirit of unity and togetherness ingrained in the Gullah culture for generations. This distinctive culture is a testament to the resilience of the descendants of West and Central African slaves who worked on plantations in the area.
Beyond "Kumbaya," the Gullah language is composed of words meant to capture the nuances of daily life, traditions, and spirituality. Today, we socially use terms such as “ting” to describe “things” and even people depending on the reference. From culinary terms like "gumbo" to unique pronunciations that distinguish Gullah from other English dialects, the language serves as a living testament to the resilience and cultural identity of the Gullah Geechee community.
Let's talk food!
Gullah Geechee cuisine has left its indelible mark on Southern cooking. It’s easy to find similarities between Gullah Geechee and the Creole cuisine of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, but there are specific details that make it stand out. Think thick, hearty, savory dishes that scream Southern comfort. From one-pot wonders to seafood delights, their food brings people together. The Gullah Geechee culture has an impact on the food industry, including one-pot dishes and the crab pot and garlic crabs. These signature one pot dishes include red rice, oysters, okra, and seafood gumbo. Being close to the coast, they've mastered the art of fish, making dishes like shrimp and grits famous. The Gullah Geechee communities actively preserve their cuisine, passing on traditional recipes and techniques from generation to generation.
In the realm of Gullah Geechee culinary excellence, Emily Megget stood as a testament to the power of flavors as her recipes served as bridges between the past and the present. Her recipes were more than just culinary concoctions; they were portals into the rich history of the Gullah Geechee people. Her efforts earned her recognition as a James Beard Award Nominee and an impactful pioneer. With a dash of tradition and a sprinkle of her South Carolinian roots, Emily transformed each dish into a vibrant storyteller, recounting tales that echo through generations.
But the fun doesn't stop in the kitchen.
Let's sip on some facts about Gullah Geechee in the world of wine. Instead of traditional grape wines, they're all about indigenous fruits such as muscadine grapes, peaches, and blueberries. Muscadine grapes bring a rich and unique flavor to their wines, making them a hot commodity in the southeastern United States. Peaches, with their sweet southernness, turn into wines crafted to capture the essence of the region. And blueberries? Oh, they're not just for pancakes – Gullah Geechee turns them into wines crafted to showcase the impressive agricultural diversity of the coastal areas. The influence of this culture can be traced to the current winemaking practices in the region, although specific Gullah Geechee wines may not always have been explicitly represented.
The indigenous fruits aren’t the only feature that renders Gullah Geechee wines noteworthy; it is the application of traditional winemaking techniques such as vineyard blessing and sweetgrass infusions. Before the grape harvest, community members come together for a sacred ritual known as the Vineyard Blessing. This ceremony, rooted in Gullah Geechee spirituality, involves prayers, songs, and the pouring of a symbolic libation to honor the land and seek blessings for a bountiful harvest. The positive energy spread during the Vineyard Blessing is believed to resonate in the grapes, contributing to the stellar production of Gullah Geechee wines. Unique to Gullah Geechee winemaking, the Sweetgrass Infusion Technique involves the careful addition of locally sourced sweetgrass during the fermentation process. Its inclusion imparts a subtle herbal note and symbolic connection to the land, turning each sip into a sensory journey through the Lowcountry.
Cheers to the Gullah Geechee community – a toast to their spirit and inspiring passion! They've left their mark on the cultural tapestry of America, from mouthwatering dishes to fruity wines crafted to celebrate their heritage. The Gullah Geechee culture's impact on American cuisine and culture is undeniable. Beyond the kitchen, the Gullah Geechee community's passion for fruit cultivation has left a permanent mark on winemaking customs. Gullah Geechee wines showcase the region's diversity of agriculture and the cultural depth of an ethnic group whose heritage remains, showcasing all aspects from muscadine grapes to the sweet essence of local peaches and the vivid flavors of blueberries.
Cheers to history, heritage, and the legacy that lives on!
We're highlighting the distinctive Gullah Geechee culture, a unique mosaic produced by the descendants of West and Central African slaves who established themselves in the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. The Gullah Geechee community has preserved its rich heritage and left an indelible mark on many facets of American culture, such as the culinary and winemaking techniques. In this exploration, we delve into the profound influence of Gullah Geechee culture on the food industry and, perhaps unintentionally, the world of wine. Welcome to the celebration of Black History Month through the lens of Legacy Wines, where we embark on a journey to honor the achievements, resilience, and contributions of black people who have shaped history, both in the world of wine and culture. Today, we're focusing on the unique culture of Gullah Geechee, a mosaic of cultural traditions that have been indelible in American cuisine and winemaking.
What is the Gullah Geechee Culture?
Gullah Geechee refers to both a distinct culture and a unique Creole language spoken by African Americans in the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida, particularly in the Sea Islands. The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to the region to work on rice plantations during the colonial and Antebellum periods.
The Gullah Geechee culture is characterized by its preservation of African cultural practices, traditions, and language, passed down through generations. This includes storytelling, music, dance, cuisine, and craftsmanship. The Gullah Geechee people have a strong connection to the land and the sea, and their culture reflects influences from West and Central Africa, indigenous peoples, and European settlers.
The Gullah Geechee language, often referred to simply as "Gullah" or "Geechee," is a Creole language that developed from various African languages mixed with English. It has its distinct vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, and it continues to be spoken by members of the Gullah Geechee community today.
South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina have a unique heritage of Gullah Geechee culture which has developed over centuries. This distinctive culture is a testament to the resilience of the descendants of West and Central African slaves who worked on plantations in the area. The Gullah Geechee culture had a major influence on American history with the wine and food industry that we still use today.
Gullah Geechee Culinary Influence
The traditions of Gullah Geechee cuisine, which influence the flavors and techniques used in Southern cooking, are now prevalent today. It’s easy to find similarities between Gullah Geechee and the Creole cuisine of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, but specific details make it stand apart. The results of Gullah Geechee are dishes typically thick, hearty, savory, and unmistakably Southern. The Gullah Geechee culture has an impact on the food industry, including one-pot dishes and the crab pot and garlic crabs. Gullah Geechee displays preferences for community meals bringing people together by showcasing signature one-pot dishes such as red rice, oysters, okra, and seafood gumbo. The proximity to the coast has resulted in a mastery of fish preparation, with dishes such as shrimp and grits becoming famous representations of Gullah Geechee culinary skills. The Gullah Geechee communities actively preserve their cuisine, passing on traditional recipes and techniques from generation to generation.
Wine Production Enriched by Gullah Geechee Cultural Traditions
The Gullah Geechee community also has a historical influence on winemaking, and their wine tradition is solely based on fruit production. Although the specificities of Gullah Geechee wine can vary, their cultural practices include fruit wines such as those produced from local fruits. The influence of this culture can be traced to the current winemaking practices in the region, although specific Gullah Geechee wines may not always have been explicitly represented.
Significant Fruit in Gullah Geechee Wines
Muscadine Grapes: Muscadine grapes are an essential component of Gullah Geechee wine production, which is widely cultivated in the southeastern United States. Known for their thick skins and unique flavor profile, muscadine wines are celebrated for their richness and regional character.
Peaches: The abundance of peaches in the region has resulted in a great variety of peach wines. The Gullah Geechee community uses the sweet taste of local peaches to produce wine that preserves the essence of the South's landscape.
Blueberries: The Gullah Geechee grape growers embrace the vivid flavors of blueberries to produce wines representing the region's agricultural diversity, thanks to thriving blueberry farms in coastal areas.
We honor the Gullah Geechee community's tenacity, innovative thinking, and steadfast passion as we raise a glass to their community and their remarkable contribution to the cultural tapestry of America. The Gullah Geechee culture has had an immense impact on food culture through its ability to prepare seafood and savory one-pot recipes. Beyond the kitchen, the Gullah Geechee community's passion for fruit cultivation has left a permanent mark on winemaking customs in the vineyards. Gullah Geechee wines showcase the region's diversity of agriculture and the cultural depth of an ethnic group whose heritage remains, showcasing all from muscadine grapes to the sweet essence of local peaches and the vivid flavors of blueberries. Let us celebrate and value the Gullah Geechee culture as we enjoy the results of their effort because it is a monument to the resilience of those who have influenced history, food, and even the production of wine. We look forward to toasting the launch of Legacy, inspired by the rich history and contributions of black people to the world of wine and culture, in the spirit of Legacy Wines. We'll continue to highlight important moments in Black history, leading up to the legacy of the Sisters and the launch of the Legacy Wines.
Cheers to history, heritage, and the legacy that lives on!
This month, in the spirit of gratitude and togetherness, we have a very special guest... our very own, Robin McBride, Co-Founder of McBride Sisters Wine Company.
Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' Series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get acquainted in true McBride Sisters fashion - over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine.
Not only are you our fearless leader, with boundless drive, flare, and tenacity, but you are a consistent source of inspiration, support, and motivation to all of us here at McBride Sisters Wine Company. Thank you for all that you do.
As 2023 comes to a close, what have been some of the most memorable moments for you this last year? What are you most grateful for?
Some of my most memorable moments of this year start with getting our new property, M Ranch in Napa, which we got the keys to on Dr. Martin Luther King Day – we had a dream, and it came to life! I also hit the big 5-0 this year which was of course memorable. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet the fabulous Kelis at her amazing home, Bounty Farms, and for being on The Tamron Hall Show where we shared our story across the nation. Also, receiving the Impact Warrior’s Award from The Golden State Warriors (getting a McBride jersey) recognizing our community impact through the McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund... there are so many more incredible moments, but these are just a few of my favorites.
You are an inspiration to many. Who inspires you most, and who has made the biggest impact in your life?
My mom for sure! She was a single mother and an entrepreneur who had her own life challenges. She had to raise a very challenging daughter and did it all without losing her mind, lol. I reflect on the ways that she gave me the freedom to explore what was right for me while modeling how success can be defined through a different lens.
How are you planning to spend the upcoming holidays? Do you have any unique family traditions to share?
This year I’ll have two Thanksgivings! One at home with family the week before the holiday weekend, and the other in New Orleans for The 50th Annual Bayou Classic with the SHE CAN Fund’s HBCU partner, Southern University.
We’ll attend the Battle of the Bands and Bayou Classic Gala where we’ll be inducted into their 2023 Class of The University Club in recognition of our partnership. Christmas will either be in Hawaii or at home, haven’t decided which yet, but it will include great wine!
As you know, entertaining is an art form. Do you have any tips for all the hosts preparing their special gatherings?
Think about your food and wine early! I think about wine first in case there are special bottles I need to order ahead of time and then make sure everything is paired to perfection. After that, the best tip is to relax and don’t make it stressful. When the host is anxious it affects everyone’s experience. Remember the point of getting together is to connect, celebrate, and make great memories over food and wine ☺
McBride Sisters has wine for any time, anywhere, and everyone. Do you have recommendations of specific bottles for different occasions, like date nights, family gatherings, or cozy nights in this season?
I definitely do! For larger gatherings of friends and family, I always recommend variety like our McBride Certified Tasting Pack. That way there’s a little something for everyone whether they love red, white, rosé, or sparkling. Date nights require something special, like a Limited Edition Reserve Wine that tells a story and shows you care to choose something really unique. And for all of us who enjoy a night out, you can’t beat wine in a can. I love packing up some SHE CAN and taking them with me to music in the park, backyard hangouts, or movie nights. They’re perfect for just about anywhere and you don’t need glasses or a corkscrew!
As Co-Founder and President of McBride Sisters Wine Company. How do you find time to unwind and “unplug”?
To be honest, I have to plan for it. There are so many exciting things going on that otherwise I would never slow down. So my calendar has time blocked off for rejuvenation. I try to be diligent about having at least one day a week to unwind and relax.
Tell us something we don’t know about you….
Probably I’d like to live on a farm, at least part-time.
WHERE WILL WINE TAKE YOU Next?
Next up for me will be our time in Paso Robles, the heart of where we make our California wines where we’ll be working on some new wines (top secret) that will be introduced next year.
I love being there with our head winemaker, Amy Butler, and getting to geek out with her. Her excitement around new projects is contagious! I cherish her and what we create together!
Thanksgiving can be a tricky meal to pair with wine. All those beautifully different flavors, sweetness levels, and culinary influences can make picking the right bottles a challenge – especially in potluck situations when you aren’t 100% sure what’s for dinner.
Don’t worry, though! The sisters have you covered with this quick-reference guide to the best Thanksgiving wine pairings, from appetizers to desserts to all those delicious leftover creations you’ll be feasting on afterwards. Cheers to giving thanks with the perfect wine!
Hors d’Oeuvres and Appetizers
Nothing kicks off a holiday meal like a glass of sparkling wine. The McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé makes a gorgeous pairing for your charcuterie board, spiced nuts, and bacon-wrapped dates. The bright red fruit flavors and bubbles provide a dynamic counterpoint to rich snacks, with a bold bit of zing that refreshes the mouth.
If you’re serving a cheeseboard, or an assortment of creamy dips, offer some Black Girl Magic Riesling. This white wine’s rich, full texture and apricot-like flavors make a great complement to triple-cream cheeses, classic onion dip, or super seasonal pumpkin queso fundido. The clean finish leaves your mouth ready for the next exciting bite, whatever it might be.
In California, many families start their Thanksgiving feast with Dungeness crab or fresh artichokes. Rich, succulent crab pairs well with McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé or Black Girl Magic Riesling, but artichokes need special handling – they contain natural compounds that make whatever you eat or drink next taste sweet. The best wine pairing for artichokes is dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, like the McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s bright acidity and citrus flavors are a fantastic match with artichokes, as well as crab, shrimp, and pretty much every other type of shellfish. Make it your signature pour for fresh veggie and seafood starters!
Thanksgiving Main Course(s) and Sides
Whether your family does traditional turkey or likes to spice things up, the McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir delivers just the right amount of sweet red fruit, silky texture, and warm oak spice for your holiday.
This wine is light-bodied enough for turkey breast and vegetarian mains like whole roast cauliflower, but still has all the heft it needs to complement dark meat, stuffing, bacon-y brussels sprouts, or an elegant mushroom Wellington.
Unlike a lot of red wines, our Central Coast Pinot Noir has enough acid to meet your cranberry sauce where it’s at, and the tannins won’t clash with anything on the table. You really can’t go wrong pairing this wine with a traditional Thanksgiving menu, but it also flatters a huge range of globally inspired dishes like shiitake sticky rice stuffing, “Indian-ish” sweet and sour butternut squash, or turkey with Oaxacan mole.
If you’re serving something seriously spicy – or you just prefer white wine – reach for more of our zippy McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This versatile, charismatic wine pairs like a dream with punchy fall salads and herb-rich dishes, as well as fiery foods like tandoori turkey or this West African-inspired tamarind and scotch bonnet-glazed bird.
And then there are the real Thanksgiving rebels. You know who you are – making your own holiday traditions with deliciously non-turkey meats. The cocoa and herbal notes of our Black Girl Magic Red Blend make a brilliant match with succulent rib roast or earthy cassoulet. For Korean barbecue, glazed pork, and any other rich meats with a touch of sweetness, the ripe cherry and chocolate flavors of Black Girl Magic Merlot get our vote. Both these reds are smooth, bold, and unapologetic – just like your Thanksgiving menu.
Desserts can be tricky to pair with wine. The dry wines you loved with your main meal can sometimes taste harsh when you’re sipping them with dessert. Solution: Pick sweeter wines when the pies come out!
Our lightly sweet SHE CAN Berry Spritz adds a fun blackberry sparkle to classic pumpkin or apple pies, and makes a fantastic pairing for dark chocolate brownies or other chocolatey nibbles. If you’ve got coconut flavors on the dessert table, reach for the island vacation vibes of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz – a natural with macaroons, coconut cookies, and beignets of all kinds. Cheesecakes on the not-too-sweet side will find a fantastic partner in our SHE CAN Crisp White, whose juicy pear and citrus flavors meld with soft floral notes.
With a little creativity, Thanksgiving leftovers can be every bit as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner. This kind of playful, and transformative cooking deserves wines to match – and we’ve got just the ones you need!
The classic Thanksgiving leftover sandwich – filled with turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce – finds its soulmate in SHE CAN Dry Rosé. Ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit aromas bring out the best in this traditional Thanksgiving mouthful. Layering turkey, stuffing, cranberry and gooey cheese into a Thanksgiving quesadilla, though, calls for SHE CAN Berry Spritz, which has the effervescence and bright berry flavors to balance every bite.
After a while, though, everyone wants to mix things up. A leftover turkey carcass could become fragrant turkey pho, paired with SHE CAN Crisp White. Slices of breast meat that maybe weren’t picture perfect can find new life as Thai turkey laab salad, or coconut green curry, both of which pair beautifully with the lush fruit flavors of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz. Dressed up with herbs and pickled vegetables in banh mi sandwiches, your Thanksgiving leftovers take on a whole new persona – shown off by the rich red fruit of SHE CAN Dry Rosé.
Chef Claudette Zepeda’s recipe for adobo sauce or Nik Sharma’s guide to murgh makhani (butter chicken) can transform your leftover bird into an incredible filling for tacos, sliders, or wraps – or just on a plate with rice or leftover mashed potatoes. Open a can of SHE CAN Tropical Spritz or Crisp White to boost the heady fragrance with refreshing fruit aromas.
Turkey isn’t the only leftover with potential, of course. Mashed potatoes can become pan-fried potato cakes or even potato waffles in just a few minutes – just top them with lox and sour cream, and pair with SHE CAN Dry Rosé for an amazing Thanksgiving weekend brunch! (This also works fabulously with leftover stuffing; try this topped with ham or bacon and paired with the sparkling sweetness of SHE CAN Berry Spritz.) Mashed potatoes also make easy air-fried potato croquettes, seasoned with leftover herbs and some hot sauce – your new favorite happy hour snack paired with SHE CAN Tropical Spritz.
If all else fails, you can always fall back on eggs. Leftover mac and cheese, roast veggies, and even grain salads get a total makeover when you put them in a frittata. Add chopped herbs to change up the flavors, maybe some more cheese from that cheeseboard, and sit down to a whole new meal in 15 minutes. Pair with whichever SHE CAN wine you like best, and pat yourself on the back for a Thanksgiving weekend done right.
Hello, Shiza! Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' Series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get acquainted in true McBride Sisters fashion - over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine. Thank you for being here with us!
A Pakistani immigrant on Forbes’s “30 Under 30” list of global social entrepreneurs and Time Magazine ``30 Under 30” list of world change-makers, you are a force… As a female business innovator, activist, investor and educator, your accomplishments include co-founding the Malala Fund, an international non-profit advocating for girls’ education in the most vulnerable communities, and creating one of our favorite socially-conscious kitchen and dinnerware brands, Our Place.
Shiza, could you please start by sharing a bit about your journey from co-founding the Malala Fund to founding Our Place?
I’ve always built organizations that address an issue I see in the world, and to try to make it better. That’s why I co-founded the Malala Fund - to help girls in vulnerable communities around the world access an education. And that’s why I cofounded Our Place - to create a brand in kitchen and home that represented and our values, and how we actually cook at home today.
How did your upbringing in Pakistan influence your perspective on social impact and entrepreneurship?
My upbringing in Pakistan shaped who I am in so many ways - Pakistanis are deeply hospitable, and welcoming, and they will always feed you! I carry that spirit of generosity and love with me, and it’s part of Our Place’s DNA.
Our Place is all about creating a sense of togetherness and community through shared meals. Can you tell us how this ties into the lifestyle you envision for your customers?
Our customers love food. They express their creativity, and learn about culture through home-cooking, and they enjoy gathering and forming connections around food, and drinks! At Our Place, we obsessively design better products to make cooking easier for our customers, so we can enable more of these moments.
Any particular memories or personal associations to share around shared meals or foods that bring you feelings of comfort and community?
I love hosting dinner parties - we have an absurdly long dinner table in our home that fits 16 - and we love gathering new and old friends, cooking up a meal, and sharing our stories. When I first moved to America, I built my community around dinner tables, so it’s a tradition I hold close, and one that Our Place is founded on.
As we explore The Art of Entertaining this Fall and Holiday season, we are thrilled about your new Party Coupes wine glasses. Tell us about these gorgeous new pieces!
Our Party Coupes were almost two years in the making, and we’re obsessed with them. We wanted to design an unfussy glass - that worked for wine, cocktails, aperitifs, even desserts! We spoke to our community and understood the features that mattered most to them - stackability, versatility and durability - and paired those with our signature Our Place design aesthetics creating the most beautiful and functional, hand-made, two-tone, color-infused glass you’ll ever see!
Do you have holiday traditions or are you looking forward to any other moments of celebration this season?
I’m fortunate to carry and participate in my own traditions, and those of my partner and friends - so there’s always something to celebrate: Eid, Diwali, Nowruz… Currently, I’m most looking forward to Friendsgiving - as an immigrant, I love the idea of a holiday to celebrate chosen family.
If you could put together your dream dinner party, who would have a seat at the table and what would you prepare? Any favorite McBride Sisters Collection wines to pair? ;)
I’d curate people from different walks of life, because a diversity of thought and lived experiences enriches everyone. So let’s say Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Jane Goodall, and Malcolm Gladwell? And we’ll have the McBride Sisters Red Blend 2019!
As a successful entrepreneur and advocate for social change, what advice would you give to our audience on leading a more purposeful and balanced lifestyle while making a positive impact in the world?
I believe our happiness and wellbeing is directly connected to the depth of purpose we feel in our day to day lives. I’ve always sought out ways to have a positive impact in the world , and it’s made me a more fulfilled and joyful person. So if you feel a lack of purpose in the life you are living, that’s your inner wisdom calling on you to make a change. Don’t ignore it!
What can we expect from you next?
Building Our Place is my purpose, so I'm going to be staying very focused on our mission and work here. Keep following us for exciting new product launches, community events, secret recipes, and more.
This month, we’re thrilled to release our very first McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir – Certified Carbon Neutral and sourced from a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard!
This sustainability certification means the grapes were grown using practices that respect the environment, employees, neighbors, and society, and that are economically viable to keep using in the long term. It also means the fruit is beautifully balanced, free of harmful chemicals, and full of delicious flavor!
Bright, luscious, and elegant – our new 2022 McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir is a serious triple threat. Fresh cherry and raspberry aromas open into plush plum notes with subtle spice, and brilliant red fruit flavors that linger for days.
One taste, and you’ll see why Pinot Noir is one of our favorite varieties, and favorite California wines!
A Pinot Noir Primer
This thin-skinned red grape is so silky and fragrant, it will sweep you off your feet from the very first sip. Pinot Noir grows best in cooler climates like the Burgundy region in northern France, where it produces some of the most famous wines on earth. The grape thrives in Central Otago in Aotearoa New Zealand (where we source fruit for our acclaimed McBride Sisters Collection Papatūānuku Pinot Noir Reserve), and the foggy, maritime-influenced Central Coast of California – home of our Cocky Motherf*cker Reserve Pinot Noir and our new Central Coast Pinot Noir.
Soft tannins and a lighter body than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make Pinot Noir a great red wine choice for more delicate foods – think fish, plant-based dishes, and meats with tender textures. Grilled salmon and roast chicken are classic pairings, but it’s also incredible with BLTs, mushroom tamales, and pork tenderloin. Pinot’s signature bright red fruit and earthy flavors really shine with earthy ingredients like beans, braised greens, roasted root vegetables, and mushrooms. And, of course, it’s amazing with cheese!
We asked our friends at Point Reyes Cheese Co. – another sister-owned Bay Area business we’re proud to partner with – to share some of their favorite pairings for our California Central Coast Pinot Noir. Their wide range of suggestions show how incredibly versatile this wine is – and how many delicious pairings are in your near future. Read on for their top three choices!
TomaRashi was the team’s top pairing with the 2022 Central Coast Pinot Noir. This is a new cheese from Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s “Toma with Attitude” lineup, which brings exciting flavors to their original award-winning cow’s milk Toma.
The key to TomaRashi is a Japanese spice blend called shichimi togarashi, which includes chili flakes, nigella seeds, chili powder, orange peel, ginger powder and nori flakes (dried seaweed).
This cheese has great umami richness and nutty flavors, with a warm and gentle heat that lingers on the palate, and complements the Pinot Noir’s bright red cherry fruit.
You might notice hints of dried guajillo chili on the wine’s finish, rounding out the chili heat from the cheese and bringing all the flavors together in perfect harmony. Need a three-ingredient appetizer for your next get-together? You won’t go wrong with TomaRashi, crackers and McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir.
TomaTruffle is another “Toma with Attitude” that made the Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s shortlist. Infused with Italian Black Truffles from Umbria, the TomaTruffle balances their irresistible earthy aromas with notes of fresh strawberries, dried fruit and a hint of cocoa in the buttery richness of the cheese. This fragrant, fruity and luscious treat makes a natural partner for the silky red fruit flavors in our Central Coast Pinot Noir.
Aromatic truffles tend to love Pinot Noir as much as we do, and these Italian specimens are no exception.
To take this pairing to the next level, top your TomaTruffle with some caramelized onions – and if it suddenly becomes grilled cheese sandwich night, you’ll have no regrets. Want to dress things up? Melt TomaTruffle over French onion soup, and break out the Burgundy-style wine glasses for some very elegant indulgence.
Rounding out the top three cheese pairings for our Central Coast Pinot Noir, we have Point Reyes Cheese Co.’s classic Bay Blue – inspired by the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area’s coastal climate. This rustic-style blue cheese is known for its mellow flavor and sweet, salted caramel finish.
While more pungent and salty blue cheeses might overwhelm our Pinot Noir’s delicate texture and aromas, Bay Blue melds seamlessly with the plush plum and red fruit flavors. The creamy natural sweetness in the cheese makes a perfect match for the Pinot’s silky fruit.
Whether you crumble Bay Blue over a roasted beet salad, or stir it into a sauce for tender steak medallions, this Pinot Noir pairing makes entertaining a snap.
Thank you for inviting us into your studio.
You’ve changed the game with your inclusive bridal designs and style for some time now, and we’re excited for the opportunity to share your story and magic with anyone who might not know you yet.
First off, will you please tell us a bit about your background, what were you doing before Bridal Babes came to fruition?
Prior to starting Bridal Babes, I was a Marketing Manager for various campaigns in the Federal Government most notably youth tobacco prevention work at the Food and Drug Administration. I’ve worked across Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing since my initial introduction at Universal McCann in 2009. Fun fact, Cara Sabin was one of my clients on Neutrogena back in the day. She’s now the CEO of Shea Moisture.
While I was working at the FDA, I also worked part-time for a multicultural wedding blog Aisle Perfect as their Sales Manager. At the time, it was just because I was obsessed with weddings! I had no idea that foundation and those connections would come back around when we launched Bridal Babes!
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Bridal Babes? What motivated you?
When I was planning my wedding in 2016, I remember thinking “It shouldn’t be this difficult to find bridesmaid dresses that will make my best friends look and feel amazing by my side". My bridesmaids were mostly curvy women and there was nothing on the market that was beautiful, flattering, and size inclusive.
I remember searching high and low across the internet to find something that wasn’t frumpy and unflattering. I finally found dresses that included plus sizes and achieved my vision for my bridesmaids but of course - they were not from a traditional bridesmaid dress store.
After that experience, my husband and co-founder, Charles and I got to work building Bridal Babes – the first size inclusive bride-to-be and bridesmaid gown line. Bridal Babes was created as a solution to a common wedding planning problem - the lack of fashion-forward, curve-hugging bridesmaid dresses for women of all shades, shapes, and sizes.
Bridal Babes is not just revolutionizing how people shop for wedding attire, but we are committed to making a space for diversity in the multi-billion dollar wedding industry by showcasing models and clients of all shades, shapes, and sizes. It is so important that women can see themselves in our gowns and our models may or may not resonate with every client (although we hope they do!).
For that reason, we also showcase our gorgeous clients who represent the brand and become ambassadors for us to their friends, family, and community.
How has your personal background and experiences influenced your journey?
Growing up I loved classic shows like “Say Yes To The Dress” and “Platinum Weddings”. I guess weddings and reality TV have always been my thing. But, I never noticed the lack of representation and how that impacts your viewing and perception. None of these shows seemed tangible to me because I rarely saw people who looked like me.
When I started working with Aisle Perfect, a multicultural wedding blog, my eyes were opened to this beautiful world of weddings that were completely under the radar. Lavish Nigerian weddings, tradition-rich Indian ceremonies, and so much more!
I knew there was an huge untapped market that was overlooked by the traditional bridal industry. This insight was key in the development of Bridal Babes.
How do you and your husband, Charles, set boundaries between your work and personal life when you're constantly together conducting business and tending to your relationship?
It has been a really fun (but intense!) process working together - especially when we were building the brand with two under two out of our basement during the Pandemic! We have since moved into a larger warehouse space which allows us to focus on our core areas.
This separation of tasks is important as we each work on very different parts of the business. We meet every other day to discuss any urgent or overlapping business areas.
We try our best to not bring work home, but during our busy seasons, it’s a little more difficult. The most important “meeting” is our date night. We plan a date night every other weekend whether it’s a Netflix night or out to a hot, new restaurant in DC. This allows us to re-connect and we keep all conversation very light and fun. We also meet weekly to discuss personal and business schedules, tasks and goals. This keeps us connected and focused on our overall goals!
What was the experience like pitching your business on Shark Tank and what was the impact overall?
Pitching on Shark Tank was phenomenal. It still feels surreal. When we started the brand, people would always ask “When are we going to see you on Shark Tank”? I would always laugh it off because I heard the application process was nearly impossible.
I applied on a whim one day and received a call about 2 weeks later to start auditioning. After all of the auditions and due diligence, pitching on Shark Tank was a breeze!
We actually didn’t know Emma Grede, the Co-founder of Good American and Founding Partner of Skims, would be the Guest Shark during our pitch until a few weeks before. Once we knew she’d be on, the stakes were so much higher. We knew we had to have her on our Cap Table.
Having Emma as an investor, has been so valuable. She’s very hands-on and really wants our business to succeed. She has provided a wealth of resources including inviting us the Fifteen Percent Pledge Annual Gala earlier this year. The Shark Tank platform has been an amazing springboard for our success!
What is your creative process and how do you continue to find inspiration?
I am truly a creative at heart. So, I try to keep 1-2 days free of meetings so I can brainstorm, go outside, visit museums and hotels to keep my mind open for inspiration. Traveling also helps me broaden my mind and soak in new cultures, colors, textures and more.
As your business grows, what are your future plans and aspirations for the company?
In the short-term, we hope to expand to a retail showroom in the DC area, where clients can try on dresses and order directly from our store to ship to their homes. We want to expand past weddings and become the top special occasion store in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.
What is the most rewarding part of your journey since starting Bridal Babes? Have there been any experiences in particular that stand out?
The most rewarding part of my journey is being able to set my schedule and spend time with my family. This was always the goal for me with entrepreneurship. You certainly don’t have more time, but you get to have more flexibility with your time.
What have been your proudest accomplishments to date?
My proudest accomplishment has been our community of over 200K aspiring brides, lovers of weddings, brides, and bridesmaids.
They have not only become our advocates and ambassadors, but many have become friends of the brand - supporting us on our launches, celebrating our wins, visiting our design studio to give live feedback and scheduling brunch dates to check in.
What advice would you give to aspiring women of color starting their journey in entrepreneurship?
I have two important pieces of advice.
Celebrate all your wins! Big or small they are all important and you have to take a moment to savor the
fact that you accomplished another goal.
Don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. Business, especially entrepreneurship, is a
rollercoaster. There are always going to be setbacks so the ability to stay even keeled is a crucial skill.
Do you have any favorite Black Girl Magic Wines?
I love the Sparkling Wine – it is at almost every personal and professional celebration! I also enjoy the Red Blend for some of our at-home date nights.
I didn’t mention this earlier but my husband is basically a Chef! The Red Blend pairs well with many of his dishes.
What does “Black Girl Magic” mean to you?
Black Girl Magic is our innate sense of style, confidence, and poise. When we design our gowns, we design with us in mind. We are the blueprint.
We just do everything so effortlessly, it’s like it’s magic!
Welcome to the McBride Sisters Collection “At Home With'' Series, where we raise our glass to individuals who inspire us, toast their outstanding accomplishments, and get acclimated in true McBride Sisters fashion - over intimate conversation and a nice glass of wine.
We are so happy to be here with you!
For those who don’t already know, Jon is a born-and-raised New Yorker who brought the flavors and style from the Bronx to the world through food, fashion, style and design.
He co-founded Ghetto Gastro, a culinary collective that uses food as a platform to spark conversation about larger issues surrounding inclusion, race, access and how food - and knowing how to cook - provides freedom and power.
Tell us, Jon. How did you get here? How did Ghetto Gastro start and what is your role in the group?
Ghetto Gastro started with friends. Just with a vision of creating a new vernacular and in the food and art space, really wanting to highlight Black Culture, flavors of the Diaspora, and the stories of the Diaspora. My role within the Ghetto Gastro… they actually call me a dishwasher and I handle the creative direction. I sit in the CEO role when it comes to executive duties.
How has the collective evolved?
We started doing parties and events, and as we've evolved, we've gotten more into publishing. We published a book called The Black Power Kitchen that we released last fall, along with more products. We just launched edible/consumable goods at Target. Toaster pastries, syrup, and pancake and waffle mix. Also a bunch of fashion, collabs and whatnot. So yeah... Went from the ephemeral to the tangible.
You have collaborated on a laundry list of unconventional projects, keeping us all on our toes. How do you approach partnerships, and do you have any favorites?
I don't have any favorites because I think each one is so different, but typically the way we approach partnerships is just from a state of curiosity, and it all happens organically. We're collaborating with people that we were friends with and that we've been fans of for years. So, it all happens organically over conversations and just vibes. We don't necessarily set out with a crazy strategy like, “we have to do these collaborations and these different spaces”, it more just happens, with friends. There's mutual respect and we think the world doesn't need more things, So if we think we can offer something of value that's not plentiful in the universe, then we move forward.
Ghetto Gastro’s first cookbook, Black Power Kitchen, was released last year including 75 recipes along with loads of cultural context and gorgeous photography. What was that process like? Would you do it again?
It was a grueling process, but it was a beautiful process, because for so long in our tenure people often thought Ghetto Gastro could be an abstract idea that goes over a lot of people's heads. So this was a chance for us to really distill what it is. We approached the book like, alright, if this is our first book or our last book, let's make sure we give them enough food for thought to really understand what we were thinking about. [With the thinking that] the book would outlive us, so just having an artifact to give to the world. So it definitely wasn’t easy.
It was probably, at the time, the hardest project we ever worked on – that got harder and harder as we kept going, because it almost felt like it was never ending. It's like you come up with the concept, you come up with the recipes, and have to get them tested. Finding all the artists and getting the artists on board. Designing the book, doing the photography, it was just a lot of grueling parts, but It's something that we're really proud of. So, it was a beautiful journey and just a reminder that the work doesn't lie. If you put in that work. Then, something good is gonna come out of it.
When you’re not disrupting the culinary world, you’re also an avid art collector. What are your most prized pieces and what’s on your wishlist?
I have a difficult time picking favorites, but the collection is definitely centered around black women and artists from the diaspora.
Whether it's a black, female identifying painter who makes the work or artist that makes work (because I have a few sculptures as well), or they're being depicted and represented by a male identifying artist.
It’s funny because I get a lot of joy from artwork and me being a custodian of these artworks is a pleasure. If I had to think of things on a wishlist, I definitely want a Wangechi Mutu piece – I love her, I love her sculptures. Her paintings are incredible too. She is just such a generational talent. Simone Leigh, Jennifer Packer, Firelei Baez, and my dear friend Lynetter Nylander. These are people that I have a deep adoration and admiration for. Those are the people on the top of my wishlist and when I get to another tax bracket, I might have a chance to make those dreams come true.
If you could put together your dream dinner party, who would have a seat at the table and what would you prepare?
My dream dinner table definitely doesn't involve me preparing food [haha]. It'll involve me eating. I think of the people I'd like to break bread with. I think for a great table, you’d want some comedians in a seat to keep it light. Chapelle would be dope. Mo’Nique, maybe to keep it spicy. The McBride sisters, of course, someone got to bring the wine! Some activists like Dream Hampton, to make sure we having, purposeful discourse. And someone like Toni Morrison.
What can we expect from you all next?
Next, we just keep building. We’re definitely interested in creating more media because I think media is so influential in how people see themselves, and see the world, and understand the possibilities. if you don't see it, sometimes it's hard to believe you could be it or achieve it.
We definitely want to showcase more of the possibilities that we feel are under expressed, and media. Also more product, more flavor. It's more flavor for you, your eyes, your ears, and for your mouth. More product expanding on a product. We're gonna keep building.
Possible to share a recipe or two with us and our community? Maybe a few favorites from the Black Power Kitchen cookbook, and which McBride Sisters Collection wines you would recommend pairing with them?
We’re big on the brunch occasion. I would do the McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé and Ghetto Gastro Strawberry waffle mix, I would do the pancake and waffle mix strawberry with some berries and our spicy maple bacon or something like that. So, you got the spicy Mighty Maples syrup. Big big, waffle and rosé energy.
Today is Matariki Day in New Zealand, and we’re celebrating with traditional kai (food) and nontraditional wines from the McBride Sisters Collection!
Though Matariki Day has only been a public holiday in New Zealand since 2022, the holiday has a long history with rich traditions. Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades constellation – one of the key astronomical guides the Maori used to navigate on their first voyages to Aotearoa New Zealand. When this constellation returns to the sky each year in mid-winter (June/July for the Southern Hemisphere), Maori culture welcomes it as the start of a new year and new cycle of life.
Traditionally, Matariki’s return is a celebration of the dead, when loved ones who passed in the last year take their place in the sky as stars. It also celebrates the completion of harvest, and honors our connection to the natural world. Many people in New Zealand mark the occasion by watching Matariki rise just before dawn, reflecting on the past and hopes for the future, and – of course – gathering with their whānau (family and chosen family) around great food!
What do you serve for a Matariki Day feast? Find inspiration in Maori tradition, and include ingredients celebrating the earth, the sea, fresh water, and the sky. To honor the earth, you can’t do better than our McBride Sisters Collection Papatūānuku Pinot Noir Reserve, grown in Central Otago, NZ and named for the Maori Mother Earth. The bright red fruit and mineral notes would be amazing with roast or grilled pork, and a side of kānga waru (steamed corn and sweet potato bread)!
To salute the sea, seek out some fresh pāua (abalone) to eat raw as sashimi, or breaded and fried as spicy seafood patties. Pair either one with our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé from Hawke’s Bay, whose fresh and fruity bubbles are a perfect foil for spiciness. Or, steam up some New Zealand green lip mussels in coconut milk with lots of cilantro, ginger and chilies for an amazing match with our zesty McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
To bring some freshwater foods to the feast, whip up a creamy smoked trout dip and enjoy with a glass of our luxuriously textured McBride Sisters Collection Reserve White Wine “Abalone or Pāua?”
To honor the sky, pick foods that grow high on trees – cherries, peaches, plums, figs, walnuts, almonds etc. – and use them to elevate your salad greens or creamy burrata. Fresh nectarines or peaches would be amazing with our McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Pinot Gris! You could also bake your “sky” fruit into a crumble or crostata to end the Matariki feast on a sweet note.
Whether your Matariki Day menu is traditional or totally original, we hope it brings your whānau together in the joyful bounty and spirit of the new year.
Mānawatia a Matariki! Welcome Matariki!