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Robin McBride
 
March 31, 2021 | Robin McBride

The One & Only Jessica Alba

Thank you for joining us throughout our #WomenCrushingIt campaign. We're so excited to close out March by interviewing a mother, entrepreneur and game changer, Jessica Alba! Jessica founded The Honest Beauty Company in 2012 to provide consumers with mission-driven, clean beauty products that are earth conscious. She’s also developed one of the most successful baby care product lines with the goal of making basic necessities available to all families. 

Jessica was on the cover of Forbes “Self-Made Women” and has been listed in Fortune magazine as one of the 10 Most Powerful Female Entrepreneurs. She’s a bestselling author and icon among women and mothers of today. 

 

Not only has she taken on the beauty industry with the goal of providing clean products for all consumers, she’s done so with sustainability at the heart of her company. The Honest Beauty Company was awarded the Pioneer in Sustainability Award by the Sustainable Business Council of Los Angeles. 

She cares about other mothers, the planet and using her platform to raise the voices of other women. We’re in awe of her success and drive. She’s crushing it as a woman in business and in every industry she enters.

Meet Jessica Alba

Robin: When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why? 

Jessica: I am most looking forward to raising a glass with my extended family -- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...the whole fam. I am excited to be surrounded by all those close to me. I have been in a pod with my immediate family, but I look forward to gathering again with everyone I love.

Robin: How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

Jessica: This year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge is meaningful for me because it’s important to use my influence for good, to empower women and smash stereotypes. I recently learned that 73% of women experience bias at work which is completely unacceptable. In my personal experience, I have found that when people aren't used to a female leader, and a strong female leader at that, it takes a lot longer for them to absorb direction and feedback. 

As a business owner, I’m determined to continue to support our female workforce at The Honest Company to ensure they feel safe and empowered, both professionally and personally. At Honest, 68% of our workforce are women and 59% of our leadership team are women -- women are at the core of everything we do! This year, I challenge myself and others to call out gender bias and inequity when we see it. 

Robin: Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in business and entertainment?

Jessica: Oprah has always been a huge inspiration for me as a leader not only in entertainment and business, but in life in general. 

Robin: How would you define your tribe or sisterhood that has supported you during your path? 

Jessica: My tribe consists of a few extremely close girlfriends. They are more than friends at this point, they are friends that have become family… they are my sisters. I prefer this over having a bunch of acquaintances. I lean on these girls and we are there for each other through both the good and the bad and we love each other unconditionally, as sisters do. 

Robin: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions?

Jessica: You must know every piece of your business model, from the market opportunity to the creative angle to your competitive edge and how you will win in the landscape. It’s also important to pressure test your idea with friends, family and people that you respect in business prior to going out and raising money. And as always, know your numbers. This is key when you are working to turn your passion into a profitable business. 

Robin: How has the pandemic changed your work, industry and outlook?

Jessica: This past year was challenging to say the least, but it reminded me to prioritize what truly matters most, which is my family and loved ones. As we have all been through a lot this past year, it’s important now more than ever for women to lift each other up and to support each other. As a female entrepreneur, I know firsthand how hard it is to start a business for anyone, especially for women. It’s always been my priority to surround myself with other strong women and to give back and support them however I can. For me, it’s about women supporting women by bringing each other up and giving them an equal opportunity and a seat at the table.

Robin: What are you most excited about in your work right now?

Jessica: I am most energized about continuing to build a company and a workplace that people are excited about. My mission is always to create an environment that supports our employees, not only professionally, but personally as well and recognizes them as a whole person, connecting both the head and the heart. 

Robin: Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it?

Jessica: SHE CAN is my go-to favorite for myself and to gift to others. The packaging makes it super convenient and, of course, the wine itself is amazing. An outdoor, socially distanced walk with a SHE CAN in hand is my jam.

Xoxo,

Andréa McBride
 
March 29, 2021 | Andréa McBride

Raising A Glass To Rachel & Paige

As we close out March, we’re mixing it up a bit for this #WomenCrushingIt interview (you know we like to break the rules, right?) This time, we’ve got an amazing pairing — actress Rachel Brosnahan and her production partner Paige Simpson. 

Rachel Brosnahan is an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, House of Cards), as well as a producer and founder of Scrap Paper Pictures. She’s also a passionate advocate for young people experiencing homelessness and currently sits on the board of Covenant House International. 

Photo by Victoria Stevens
 

Paige Simpson is the Head of Development for Scrap Paper Pictures. Her previous projects have included the Affair, Billions, Black Monday and Masters of Sex, as well as programs for OWN and BET+. Rachel & Paige are actively producing diverse content and providing a platform for artists to tell their stories, their way. 

We’ll admit to being a little obsessed with Rachel’s turn as the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (her character was blazing trails for women back in the 1950s, after all), and it looks like these two are going to give us a lot to look forward to. We toast to this talented team of women crushing it in their industry…  and we can’t wait to see what comes next. 

Meet Rachel Brosnahan & Paige Simpson

Andréa: When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why?

Rachel: “My pod! The four of us have been together through the thick and thin of all of this and I wouldn’t have made it through the last year in one piece without them. Cheers to the end & to new beginnings (and hopefully being able to travel again!)”

Paige: “I will be raising multiple glasses to my college friends who I haven’t seen since Spelman College’s Homecoming 2019. A few of my friends have had babies, and I can’t wait to meet them for the first time, catch up and make great memories.”

Andréa: How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

Paige: “This year has been a continuation of last year’s challenges. The theme to me means that we are all choosing to challenge all things that don’t make sense, are immoral and all injustices. Change is a challenge, so we must continue to fight for the changes we want to see in our world.”

Rachel: “#ChooseToChallenge feels like it’s been my unofficial mantra since I began working in our industry and certainly represents the mission of Scrap Paper Pictures. The goal has always been to challenge myself as well as society’s ideas of how women should move through the world, hold positions of leadership, make art, use our bodies and voices...but it’s not always easy. I, like every other woman I know, have been made to feel small, to question my talent, passion and ambition, to feel the need to apologize for advocating for myself and others. But those challenges make me even more grateful for women who have led by example and courageously carved pathways for us to follow and continue to grow.”

Andréa: Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in your industry?

Rachel: “My first manager Carole Dibo who empowered me to say “No” to people, situations and even opportunities that didn’t feel right from a young age when so many women feel pressure to say yes all the time. But the list is long...Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, Shonda Rimes, Laverne Cox, Greta Thunberg, Amy Sherman Palladino, Michelle Obama, Madge Thomas, AOC, Shakina Nayfack, Carson McCullers, my close girlfriends & so many more.”

Paige: “My mother. She raised me with the belief that I could be and do anything I wanted to. It was very freeing. My mom worked very hard to provide me with experiences and knowledge.” 

Andréa: How would you define your sisterhood that has supported you during your path?  

Paige: “They are my everything … my sounding board, my laugh factory and my heartbeat. They uplift me when I’m down and never drop me.”

Rachel: “Lifeblood. I admire, learn from, grow alongside, love deeply and am ceaselessly grateful for my sisterhood every day.  Would not be here without them.”  

Andréa: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions?

Paige: “Know that you will hear ‘No’ a lot. You might even say no to yourself. But the moment that you truly believe in yourself and your abilities, you can’t be stopped. No weapon formed against you can prosper, and God has your back.”

Andréa: How has the pandemic changed your work, industry and outlook?

Rachel: While it’s been undeniably challenging, it has forced folks to get even more creative and given the space to reflect and re-examine our priorities. I’m excited to see the kind of work that results from this period of introspection (and one thousand zooms). 

Andréa: What are you most excited about in your work right now? 

Rachel: To have any! I’m immensely grateful to be juggling a handful of projects I’m passionate about and to be collaborating with other artists who are inspiring creative powerhouses.

Andréa: Which wine varieties or styles are most often on your table? Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it? 

Rachel: We don’t discriminate when it comes to wine...but we do love a high low moment. One of our favorite pairings lately has been the McBride Sisters Brut Rosé with a good old fashioned New York slice. 

And we’ll leave you with one of our favorite “rants” from Mrs. Maisel herself - 

“Why do women have to pretend to be something that they’re not? Why do we have to pretend to be stupid when we’re not stupid? Why do we have to pretend to be helpless when we’re not helpless? Why do we have to pretend to be sorry when we have nothing to be sorry about? Why do we have to pretend we’re not hungry when we’re hungry?” – Midge Maisel

Xoxo,

Andrea McBride
 
March 24, 2021 | Andrea McBride

The Art of New Traditions

For our next #WomenCrushingIt we’re introducing an icon in the kitchen and winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for ‘Best Chef: South.’ Nina Compton is one of the most impressive chefs in the country, and she’s been uniting cuisines and cultures throughout her career. Originally from St. Lucia, she started her journey in the kitchens of many notable restaurants in Miami, and earned accolades at every stop. 

Nina then opened her first solo restaurant in New Orleans, Compère Lapin. There she made an art out of intertwining St. Lucia, her love of French and Italian cuisine and the indigenious ingredients found throughout Louisiana. 

Nina is a visionary and a woman who focuses on the epicurean experience of food. She’s crushing the food and restaurant industry, creating successful and rave worthy restaurants, while also serving as a Culinary Ambassador for St. Lucia. Her most recent venture, Bywater American Bistro, is shaping the way chefs explore their culinary curiosities and continue to challenge themselves with bold cuisine and bigger dreams.

Meet Nina Compton

 

Andréa: When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why?

Nina: ​My Mum. She's in St. Lucia and we haven't been able to see each other this whole time. I can't wait!

 

Andréa: How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman of color in a male-dominated industry?

Nina: Looking back, there were never a lot of me in the kitchen. I'm encouraged today that this is changing and the young women of color have that encouragement to challenge for any job they want.

 

Andréa: Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in your industries?

Nina: ​Leah Chase (known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine) told me I have to make it as a chef and restaurateur to set the stage for the next generation like she has for me and my peers.

 

Andréa: How would you define your tribe or sisterhood that has supported you during your path?  

Nina: ​I think the combination of being around successful friends as well as those working hard and coming up creates a nice balance. 

 

Andréa: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions? 

Nina: Do what makes you happy with realistic expectations of what the future could hold. I went to the best culinary school in the states, but there was still years of learning and refining my craft until I was ready to own my own restaurant.

 

Andréa: How has the pandemic changed your work, industry and outlook?

Nina: It turned the restaurant industry upside down. However, while we were shut down, I was able to slow down and work through things that required that time. When we reopened, we were able to reset some systems in the restaurants which made for a more equitable environment. The outlook I i think is very bright once we get past the pandemic.

 

Andréa: What are you most excited about in your work right now? 

Nina: The changing of the seasons is always fun because I get to change the menu!

 

Andréa: Which wine varieties or styles are most often on your table? Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it? 

Nina: We have 9 months of warm weather here, so most often it’s the McBride Sisters Sparkling Rosé. It’s great with fresh warm weather foods like crabmeat salad and also stands up to a spicy ceviche.

 

Andréa: One of our initiatives this year is content and education on the African Diaspora. Where are your family’s roots and how has that influenced your cooking? ​

Nina: My father was from Canouan and my mother St. Lucia so Caribbean has had the greatest influence on my cooking. St. Lucia particularly with African and Indian influences

Xoxo,

 

Robin McBride
 
March 17, 2021 | Robin McBride

Activist. Entrepreneur. Sommelier.

For our next #WomenCrushingIt in celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re raising our glass to Grace Mahary. Grace is a woman who brings wisdom, an inspiring work ethic and strength into everything she does. She started her career in the fashion industry modeling for international companies such as Chanel, Vogue and Prada. As an Eritrean-Canadian model, she has leveraged her platform -- and over fifteen years in the fashion industry -- to focus on what she believes in most: Equality. 

Grace is a global activist and entrepreneur, and the founder and executive director of Project Tsehigh. Over the last six years, Grace and her team at Project Tsehigh have focused on researching and finding renewable energy sources for countries who are lacking the infrastructure. It was after visiting Eritrea, in Eastern Africa, that she realized how many people were living in under-resourced communities without power, driving her to find ways to provide solar energy solutions for communities in need. She’s dedicated, driven and crushing it across many different domains. 

In addition to her activism, she’s also a certified sommelier. As co-owner of Chulita in Venice, California, she curates wine lists and wine experiences within different spaces using her knowledge of wine, keen palate and great taste. Grace is a change agent and we’ve watched in awe as she has focused on leaving the world a better place than she found it, while enjoying the journey along the way.

Meet Grace Mahary

Robin: When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why?

Grace: My husband, family, and closest friends I’ve missed over this time.

Robin: How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman of color in a male-dominated industry?

Grace: I love to see the status quo challenged especially when it means freeing up space for those who’ve been marginalized in society. There are countless challenges, but knowing your worth and building confidence have helped me visualize my place in the world.

Robin: Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in your industries?

Grace: My mother

Robin: How would you define your tribe or sisterhood that has supported you during your path?  

Grace: They are my outer brain that I consult regularly!

Robin: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions? 

Grace: To not doubt themselves, to dive into as much research as possible and to start! (You’ll figure it out as you go.)

Robin: How has the pandemic changed your work, industry and outlook?

Grace: It definitely has slowed things down and has made working from home possible. I never thought I could love or live in stillness as I do now.

Robin: What are you most excited about in your work right now? 

Grace: Continuing to shine light on underrepresented and sustainable artists, winemakers, and game changers whilst making personal discoveries along the way.

Robin: Which wine varieties or styles are most often on your table? Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it? 

Grace: We’re always exploring! My favorite MSC wine is the Central Coastal Red Blend. It's silky and smooth, definitely my Friday night vibe.

Xoxo,

 

 

Andrea McBride
 
March 10, 2021 | Andrea McBride

The Woman Who Leads The Pack

 For our next #WomenCrushingIt this Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a Change Agent on the distribution side of the business, challenging the wine & spirits industry status quo, proudly and loudly driving diversity and inclusion at her company and not accepting anything less.  It goes without saying that Jennifer Chaplin Tolkin embodies the phrase of “women supporting women.” Jennifer is the Vice President, Family-Owned Brands for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the largest and most prominent distributors of beverage alcohol in the United States and the world. 

Jennifer has been crushing every industry she takes on since she graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. From global entertainment to national strategy & business development, she’s a force that leads in her roles and champions other women as she goes. For Robin & I, she’s elevating what it means to be a powerful, thoughtful and groundbreaking leader.

Through a partnership with Columbia Business School, she’s helped build the Southern Glazer’s and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Women in Leadership program. This program not only supports women in business, it encourages them to find their strengths and leverage them in the business landscape in order to step into, with a whole lot of confidence, roles of greater influence by focusing on the advancement of all women as the goal. She’s a mother, thought leader and gamechanger. 


Meet Jennifer Chaplin Tolkin

Andréa: When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why?

Jennifer: Before the pandemic, my extended family would get together for dinner every Monday night, hence the name, Monday Night Dinner. This tradition started with my late Grandma Arlene more than 30 years ago with just eight people and has now morphed into a 25-person gathering every Monday night. I can’t wait to raise a glass (safely) with my family and celebrate just being together again. 

Andrea: How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman (in a male-dominated industry)?

Jennifer: I want to keep pushing boundaries and making it known that I have just as much grit, passion, and determination as anyone else. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I am any less. It doesn’t mean I care less about my job, or more about my family, or vice versa. Both are extremely important priorities to me. The environment is a challenging one, but if we keep chipping away at the iceberg there is no way we can’t win. 

Andrea: Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in Wine & Spirits?

Jennifer: This may sound funny, but most recently I’ve found inspiration from within. This past year has forced me to overcome so many different obstacles and I have never given up. I am proud of myself for staying the course. There have been times I didn’t think I could juggle all of the competing responsibilities of being a working mom, but I continue to surprise myself. I am also inspired everyday by my colleagues at Southern Glazer’s. I get to work with people who are just as passionate about diversity & inclusion and getting the job done as I am. Seeing their passion ignites my fire even more and I know together we can inspire so many. 

Andrea: How would you define your tribe or sisterhood that has supported you during your path?  

Jennifer: I am lucky to have several different support systems. My husband, for example, has always been there to gently push me beyond my comfort level. As an executive in his own family’s business, he really relates to my work situation. He knows how far I want to go in my career, and he supports me every step of the way. I couldn’t achieve anything without his guidance, love, and of course, help with our son. My mom has been another influential member of my tribe. She has been the greatest example of how I want to mother, how I want to love, and how I want to stay a positive force for my family. Of course, I can’t forget about my Dad. I think grit, tenacity, honesty, and hard work has been ingrained into my framework from day one because of his example.   

Andrea: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions? 

Jennifer: Never be scared -- everything happens for a reason -- and never give up! I originally studied at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts to become an actress, and when that didn’t work out, I moved on to a talent agency in New York City. When I decided to move back to Miami, I didn’t really know where I would fit in at Southern Glazer’s. I started in events and worked my way to the commercial side of the business where I am beginning to thrive and find my niche. It takes time, and sometimes you have to realize the best thing you can do is ask questions and take it all in. Every experience, good or bad, is a learning opportunity. 

Andrea: How has the pandemic changed your work, industry and outlook?

Jennifer: The pandemic has changed so much for me, and so many. I had my son, Henry, at the end of March 2020 right at the outset of the pandemic. I’ve learned so much about being a woman, a mom and a working mom. Sometimes I can’t wait to get back to working in my office, with my colleagues, and travel for meetings, etc., but then I remember that means spending more time without my baby and family. Although I know it will be hard to separate family life and work life when it's time to get back to in person meetings, I can’t wait to do what I love most, and that’s spending time with the people in our industry and at Southern Glazer’s. I also feel incredibly lucky to work for a company that cares so much about FAMILY.  That commitment to FAMILY was really demonstrated during 2020 – when many of us pivoted to work-from-home, while at the same time, we put in extensive safety protocols and other policies in place to protect our essential frontline employees. It was because of these measures that we were able to continue serving our customers without disruption, while keeping our people healthy and safe. I want to recognize those employees on the frontlines, particularly our warehouse teams and drivers, who really stepped up during this challenging time.

Andrea: What are you most excited about in your work right now? 

Jennifer: Our Industry is begging to be more diverse and more inclusive, and that’s extremely exciting. I feel like I am a part of something way bigger. It’s incredible that the passion for diversity, equality and inclusion is so well aligned with our suppliers’ priorities. They are looking to do business with diverse and inclusive companies that take action to move the needle. I’m lucky that Southern Glazer’s is one of those companies that continues to strive to be better in every way.  I also love getting to work with other family owned companies who have similar values. Integrity, inclusiveness, leadership, honesty, are all a part of my day to day interactions with them.

Andrea: Which wine varieties or styles are most often on your table? Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it? 

Jennifer: I love all different kinds of wine, but my go-to is definitely chardonnay. I love the McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay with my husband’s Brussels sprout salad. It’s shaved raw Brussels sprouts, toasted pine nuts, and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese topped with a light olive oil and lemon dressing.  It’s light and fresh! 

Jennifer, we raise our glass to your triumphs, your hard work and your purpose. We’ve seen you CRUSHING IT for years now and this #WomensHistoryMonth we celebrate you.

XOXO,

 

Robin McBride
 
Andrea McBride
 
March 3, 2021 | Andrea McBride

The Women Behind The Wine

It’s Women’s History Month and we’re highlighting #WomenCrushingIt in their industries every week of March. These women are inspiring, hardworking game changers. We’re kicking it off with two of the women on our winemaking team who perfectly complete our sisterhood across two hemispheres. 

Before we begin, a little HERstory from Andréa and Robin:

Andréa: “In 2016, we were on the prowl for a GREAT winemaker that could join us on our mission. Not an easy task, given our winemaking philosophy, non traditional approach and view of the world through Rosé colored glasses. (Not to mention the fact that our sister wine journey is 18 years strong.) And while wine is tied to 8,000 years of history, we can’t ever learn enough and remain hauntingly curious, tasting hundreds of wines a year in pursuit of pleasure and perfection of our craft and portfolio. We’ve developed our own unspoken language when it comes to wine … sometimes we don’t even need to talk about it, we just know what the other is thinking. Robin has the stronger palate and my strength lies in the geeky details. Robin hates pretense, and I can be boujee AF. We are nothing without each other, but definitely something together, here to break the rules and drink the wine.

Image: Jean Pedigo

 

Robin: “We met Amy Butler first. Stasi Seay, a force whom we both admire greatly, had been breaking barriers in grape growing and Viticulture in the Central Coast with more than 30 vintages under her belt. She said we had to meet Amy. Amy had been bitten by the wine bug at a young age too. Her mom joined a wine club and she was mesmerized by the winemaker notes. She decided to attend UC Davis and pursue a degree in fermentation science. After graduation, she first worked for Stag's Leap and then she worked for the well-known American winery, Schramsberg, to perfect her skills in sparkling wine. Eventually, she found herself in Paso Robles and her love affair with Rhone varietals would lead her to become president of the Rhone Rangers in the Central Coast and she is still an active member in the organization. Amy is fearless, but also practical, incredibly thoughtful and smart. We work closely with Amy to develop wines that we love, wines we are proud of. And 5 years later, she’s our head winemaker, doing the impossible and CRUSHING IT.

 

Andréa: “Diana Hawkins is one of our newer family members. We first learned about her at Essence Festival in 2019 when we were chatting with esteemed Advanced Sommelier Wanda Cole Nicholson about expanding our winemaking family. She mentioned a Diana Hawkins, who was ‘down in New Zealand, finishing her Master’s program in winemaking.’ We find out that Diana was a former engineer who quit corporate America to follow her passion for wine. She’d attained her Level 2 Certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers and worked at one of the best restaurants in Chicago, Alinea, which has 3 Michelin stars. My mind was blown. We met up in New Zealand and over several glasses of sparkling wine, at the bottom of the South Hemisphere on a tiny island that most have never heard of (Waiheke), we got to know each other and I was immediately taken by her confidence, curiosity, humbleness and perspective. She’s been our Assistant Winemaker since 2020, based in Waiheke Island, New Zealand and she is absolutely CRUSHING IT."


Let’s hear from Amy and Diana in our first #WomenCrushingIt Q&A to celebrate Women’s History Month. This month is a time to showcase and celebrate the women in our sisterhood. Raise a glass and enjoy!

Meet Amy Butler 

Head Winemaker

Robin: “How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman in a male-dominated industry?”

Amy: “I have always felt (and maybe this is just my personality) that I had to do more and be better to get by. When I started my own wine brand, this became even more clear to me. I was constantly asked ‘Who makes your wine?’ Or even ‘So your husband makes the wine?’ It is truly a breath of fresh air to be working in a women-owned, women-driven business, where there are no assumptions and no ignorant sexism. And yes, I still feel like I have to do more and be better, but now that’s just a work ethic instead of a gender-imposed challenge.” 

Robin: “Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in wine?”

Amy: “You and Andréa are overwhelmingly inspiring. You absolutely live by your ‘Break the Rules, Drink the Wine’ mantra. To be honest, you both were the first women in a position of power in my professional life who truly, truly believed in me and convinced me to get on board! I'm so glad I did!”  

Robin: “How does your sisterhood - friends, family and colleagues - support you personally and professionally?” 

Amy: “My mother has always inspired me. She was always a career-focused woman who showed me how to do it! The girlfriends I feel closest to are largely entrepreneurs (entrepreneuresses?) and make their own rules. And we are truly cheerleaders for each other! Maybe they don't make wine, but they make chocolates, or visual art or legal briefs. We all appreciate each other so much. Professionally, I'm on a great team of women in the Operations/Winemaking department at MSC, and their talent, communication, and execution constantly amaze and guide me.”

Robin: “What inspired you to get into winemaking and how does this career measure up to your expectations?”

Amy: “When I was in high school, my mom was a wine club member and there was one on the Central Coast of California whose shipments I came to anticipate because of their super-creative wine club enclosure. Their winemaker waxed poetic about the offerings and I just LOVED his writing. I decided I wanted to be a winemaker … I think I thought they were ALL brilliant wordsmiths and wacky scientists. I feel lucky because I'm equally comfortable handling a shovel in the cellar and a pipette in the lab, foot treading grapes or creating a blending spreadsheet. Without being certain what my expectations were, I have to say that my life feels very fulfilled from a career perspective. I've had other jobs, but winemaking has been my only career. I'm not sure I know how to do anything else!”

Robin: “What is your favorite part of the process when it comes to making wine?”

Amy: “Completion. While bottling day is either the most interesting (if it goes poorly) or boring (if it goes smoothly) day of a winemaker's life, it is so satisfying to see that product finally filled, corked, labeled and boxed. Few people realize how many moving parts have to come together to make that happen. It's like cooking eggs benedict for a crowd!” 

Robin: “How would you describe the region you're working in and what makes it so special?”

Amy: “I'm California born and bred. Napa had its appeal when I first came out of college, but when it came to settling down for a life and a lifestyle, the Central Coast was everything. It still has a small town appeal while taking wine very seriously! I love the cool nights here during the summer and early fall, and so do the vines! You only need to drive a few miles to experience completely unique grape-growing conditions.”

Robin: “If you could describe your job in one word, what would it be?”

Amy: “One word? Just one? FUN! Even though it can be high-stress and fast-paced and there's a lot at stake, ultimately we are creating an unforgettable experience for women of all kinds. How can that be anything but FUN?”


Meet Diana Hawkins

Assistant Winemaker

Andréa: “How is the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge meaningful to you? What has challenged you as a woman of color in a male-dominated industry?”

Diana: “If we don’t challenge the status quo, nothing is ever going to change for the better. By encouraging people to get a bit uncomfortable or challenged via calling out inappropriate behavior, it encourages and promotes positive change and progress (which is sorely needed!) 

In addition, making wine is a very physical process. Other than overcoming misogynoir, the biggest challenge when I was first starting out in the cellar was making what my male counterparts did work for me. I don’t need to be able to deadlift a wine barrel to get the job done safely and efficiently, for example. Another challenge has been overcoming people’s shock to my very existence as a young, black, woman winemaker. Sometimes people short circuit initially and don’t know what to do with me (lol) but I’ve found that once they get over that initial shock, they’re happy I’m there and quick to put me to work on the team.”

Andréa: “Who has inspired you to break the rules or think beyond them as a woman in wine?”

Diana: “My grandmother. She broke every rule in the book and inspires me to keep pushing and challenging the status quo. She moved from Louisiana to Chicago during the great migration, went to college and got her teaching degree. When my biological grandfather died suddenly, she raised 4 kids as a single mom, paid off her house, and travelled around the globe. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for her tenacity and rule breaking behaviour.”

Andréa: “When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

Diana: “I wanted to design and build robots and cars. I went to school for engineering. So I did design and build robots, but in the end it wasn’t for me.”

Andréa: “What inspired you to get into winemaking and how does this career measure up to your expectations?”

Diana: “I’m a nerd and had a lot of questions about wine and the winemaking process that I didn’t find answers to in the books I was reading at the time. So, I decided to take the plunge and really get into it. I absolutely love it! I love the physical aspect, the creativity involved, the seriously geeky parts, how it brings people together and everything in between.”

Andréa: “What is your favorite part of the process when it comes to making wine?”

“Blending, which occurs once the wines have been made. I love tasting through all the different vineyard blocks (lots) and detecting the nuance and differences between each one. Then, you blend them together to make something far more profound. Winemaking is equal parts art and science, and blending is definitely the artsy part. I also love selecting yeast for fermentation and tasting a wine as it goes from grape to glass.”

Andréa: “How would you describe the region you're working in and what makes it so special?”

Diana: “There is no place on earth like Aotearoa New Zealand. That’s not hyperbole, it’s quite literal. There are animals here that are found nowhere else.  There are breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes, and the earth’s crust is so thin that there are unique geologic features (think Yellowstone) and tons of sleeping volcanoes (think Hawaii). The temperatures here never get too hot or too cold because of the Pacific Ocean and Antarctic currents. The soil types are also quite varied, and the winemaking culture so young that there’s still so much to explore. So, I find the region really exciting because of that – there are infinite possibilities.”

Andréa: “If you could describe your job in one word, what would it be?”

Diana: “Making it happen!”


That’s our foursome, that’s our winemaking team. Bold, discerning women. Different ages, nationalities, cultures and backgrounds, all united by a common mission: to transform the industry, lead by example and cultivate community, one delicious glass of wine at a time. Cheers to the #WOMENCRUSHINGIT!

Xoxo,

 

Robin McBride
 
February 15, 2021 | Robin McBride

National Black Girl Magic Day

Let's Celebrate the Magic of Black Women

Image from 'The Colored Girl' campaign photographed by Joey Rosado @islandboiphotography

February 15th marks National Black Girl Magic Day and while we celebrate Black women every day, today we are screaming from the rooftops, around the country and around the globe, to celebrate #BlackGirlMagic and we encourage you to do the same! Black Girl Magic was created by CaShawn Thompson in 2013 when she started the movement #BlackGirlsAreMagic, that has since been shortened and popularized to #BlackGirlMagic — now championed by men and women alike. In an inspiring article for Black History Untold, CaShawn shines a light on Gloria Richardson, civil rights worker and warrior, as one of the inspirations behind the term. The drive and poise that Gloria embodies throughout her time fighting for civil rights is portrayed perfectly in the image of her pushing away a bayonet at a protest in Maryland. Gloria and the power of this image fueled CaShawn to start a women-led revolution of her own, leading to the inception of the #BlackGirlMagic movement. She used digital activism and the beauty of language to celebrate Black women and Black history in a way that had never been done before. Today we raise our glass of Black Girl Magic wine as we toast to CaShawn, Gloria and all of the other women who have made their mark on the world. 

The story behind Black Girl Magic Day, is much the same as the story behind our Black Girl Magic Collection. For us, Black Girl Magic is more than a phrase. It’s a feeling. A look. A mood. A taste. We wanted to create a collection of wines that embody the feeling and the magic of Black women. The mood of this collection is that we’re here, breaking the rules and changing an industry for the better. We’re Black women who have pushed beyond all barriers to provide you with a wine that represents your culture, your story and your mood. This collection is inspired by the Black women in our family, our community, and beyond. These wines are to be enjoyed by all, but are meant to set the tone that Black women will always bring the magic to every occasion.

Today we celebrate all of the amazing Black Women that have come before us, and raise a glass to the queens of the present. Through collections like Black Girl Magic Wines by McBride Sisters, the digital movement of #BlackGirlMagic and this namesake holiday, we aim to amplify the role that Black women have played in this world and set the foundation for future black women to come. 

How should you celebrate? With a great glass of wine and maybe even a few cocktails! Grab a bottle of Black Girl Magic Riesling, call up your girls, and stir up some goodness in a glass with our official Black Girl Magic Riesling Rouge Cocktail!

BGM RIESLING ROUGE

1.5 oz Grand Marnier
3 oz McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Club Soda

 

Tag us @blackgirlmagicwines and @grandmarnierusa in your cocktails pics! 

 

Remember that Black Girl Magic Day activities aren’t limited to cocktails and confetti. This day is also about taking a moment, or the whole day, to celebrate yourself too. We’ve put together some of our favorite artists, movies and inspiring women that get us in the mood to celebrate our magic!

Top 5 artists to listen to celebrate with a glass of Black Girl Magic Merlot in hand 

Beyonce - Homecoming at Coachella   
Missy Elliot - Supa Dupa Fly 
Lauren Hill - Miseducation of Lauren Hill 
Aretha Franklin - Young, Gifted and Black 
Jill Scott - Who Is Jill Scott?

 

Top 5 movies to watch to celebrate with a glass of Black Girl Magic Zinfandel in hand 

Hidden Figures 
Foxy Brown 
Waiting to Exhale 
Black Panther 
Harriet  

 

First 5 women to come to mind as you raise a glass of Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut and #CheersToBlackGirlMagic

Katherine Johnson 
Rosa Parks 
Ursula Burns 
Kamala Harris 
Madame CJ Walker 

Thank you for reading, celebrating and supporting us. We wish you a very happy Black Girl Magic Day!

 

Xo,


 

Robin McBride
 
February 10, 2021 | Robin McBride

Valentine's Or Galentine's?

However you're celebrating, make it special!

Happy Valentine’s/Galentines day, lovebirds! Whether you’re coupled up, flying solo, or want to celebrate your love with friends, we’re all for celebrating love in every form possible. Chances are your celebrations may look a little different this year, with social distancing and all, but that doesn’t mean what you organize will be any less fun. You can either recreate some of your favorite V-Day traditions, or have fun with new and exciting ones.

(Read on if you want to spice it up with some new ideas, we sure do!)

For those choosing to have an at-home date, the benefits are endless. No traffic to deal with, reservations to plan, or social distancing rules to abide by. At home, you can make your own rules. 

In the spirit of fuzzy feelings, friendship hugs, and self love, we’ve put together a guide to help you celebrate Galentine’s or Valentine’s Day however you choose to; with your special someone, alone, or with a group of loved ones.

Valentine’s Date Ideas

Virtual or At-Home Wine Tasting

If you were able to order in time, we are hosting Virtual Wine Tasting Event to celebrate Black Girl Magic Day on Monday, February 15. Missed out? Join our mailing list here to get exclusive emails and first chance opportunities to join us for events like this. Sign up because we’ll be hosting many more in the future, that you won’t want to miss! 

For your own virtual tasting event with friends, pick up a couple of different McBride Sisters Collection wines at a store near you and pair them with a delicious cheese board. For a party game, cover the bottles in foil and see what flavors you and your partner or group are able to pick up on from each individual wine, without revealing the bottle.

Get a Birth Chart Reading With Your Valentine’s Partner or Crew

Dabbling in astrology is always a lot of fun, especially when it comes to determining your love or friendship compatibility with those around you. You can find out how your planetary alignments affect your life, and what your sun and moon signs are. Book a reading with Wanica Dunn, an intuitive astrologer and teacher on her site, or Adama Sesay, founder of lilithastrology.com, who also offers readings via her site.

Host a Karaoke Night in Your Living Room 

Mariah, Whitney, Christina, eat your hearts out. Are you ready to belt all of the love song classics virtually with your love gang? Singing releases endorphins, creates a sense of community, and most of all, is a lot of fun! Set up a mic and download an app such as Singing Machine Karaoke, which can be downloaded on your phone and streamed via Google Chromecast. Alternatively, if you’re hosting a virtual Gal’s day, you can use Houseparty to video chat and karaoke simultaneously.

Catch the sunrise (or a sunset) with a picnic

Spending time outside in nature can reinvigorate your soul, while providing the opportunity to connect with those around you. Whether you choose to embark on an all-day hike in a national park, or opt for a shorter local hike or beach walk, your body and soul will thank you for it.

If your team are earlyrisers, plan to get up an hour before sunrise, pack a thermos of hot coffee and some sweets and watch the magic of the sun rising on a new day. For those who prefer to sleep in, you can set out in the afternoon to catch the sunset (be sure to check the closing times if you’re visiting a national park or hiking location, as they often shut before sunset) on top of a mountain or sitting on the beach. Pack a few snacks, fill your thermose with our McBride Grandiosa cocktail, our twist on the classic mimosa!

McBride Grandiosa Ingredients
1.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
2.5 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1.5 oz McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut
 
Tag us @blackgirlmagicwines and @grandmarnierusa in your cocktails pics!
 
Plan an at-home paint night (with a sexy twist)

What can be more intimate or fun that getting creative and gifting your artwork to your beau or friends? Implement a theme, such as famous historic love stories (platonic or romantic), or love destinations around the world. For something a bit more risqué, try drawing some nude portraits of your partner and seeing how long you each can last without touching each other.  If you’re flying solo, try sketching a nude portrait of yourself while sitting with a glass of wine and looking in a mirror. This will be fun. 

Build a fort, for adults!

For the perfect feel-good Galentine’s celebration, gather up all your pals and release the imagination and wonder of your inner children. Build a blanket fort, hang fairylights and play all the nostalgic flicks from your childhood. Top this off with some childhood snacks, be it s’mores or pop tarts, you decide. Just make sure you bring the wine in!

Pamper Yourself

Nourish your soul and give yourself some TLC. We often get so busy with our lives that we forget to take a moment to love ourselves, and this is your chance to do so. Spoil yourself with a bottle of bubbly, our Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut would be a delicious choice, light a few candles and incense, and relax to some soothing music with a face mask. We love the Oh Whale Aqua Mask by Nolaskinsentials, a Black-owned business that has developed a cult following online. If you have a bath, get those bubbles flowing and let yourself sink into the water and ease out any tension. 

Food & Drink

If you’re in the mood for hors d'oeuvres and nibbles, check out our cheese board recipe. If you’re in the mood for something pre-made, check out one of Karla Ahmed’s beautifully designed grazing boards (available to those in the Bay Area/Tri Valley area). For something more filling, check out this delightfully pink recipe for strawberry ravioli with balsamic and basil or indulge with a plate of creamy masala mussels. For dessert melt into the decadent chocolate fondants with salted caramel sauce.

Image and recipe from Delicious Magazine
 

Wine, of course!

A bottle of Black Girl Magic Rosé is the perfect pink drink to celebrate love. No matter who you're celebrating with, pour a glass of wine to match the occasion. Rosé pairs perfectly with some of our favorite foods. Pick up your favorite tacos to go, order from your favorite Italian resturant or even just make your best mac n cheese recipe. Your rosé will taste delicious with all of the above. 

Red wine is for the lovers. There's nothing more romantic than a great bottle of red wine, even if you're just enjoying it on a night of self-care with yourself. The deep berry, plum and cedar notes of the McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend is the cherry on top to a perfect night. It'll pair with your perfectly cooked steak, grilled lamb chops or even that great lasagna recipe you have. The wine to end every date night, you always want to have a bottle on hand.

If you're wanting to shop locally, find a store near you here. 

Valentine’s Day Love Spritzer Recipe

In the mood for cocktails? Looking for the perfect love-themed drink to get you in the mood? We’ve got the spritzer for you. This love spritzer is the ideal mix of light sparkling brut with fruity flavors to get you feeling pink all over!

Image via 2cookinmamas. View the full recipe here.

Ingredients 
Raspberry infused vodka or raspberry liquor
1 bottle McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut
Raspberry cocktail juice (or cranberry as a substitute)
⅛ teaspoon of vanilla extract (per glass)
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
 
Instructions
Add 1 shot of raspberry juice, 1 shot of raspberry infused vodka, and the dash of vanilla extract into each champagne glass. 
Top off each glass with McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut.
Add a couple of raspberries to each glass to garnish. 


Tip: if you’re looking to turn your drink into an instant dessert, change the champagne flutes to wine glasses and add a dollop of raspberry or strawberry sorbet. Yum!

And with that, we're going to get our Valentine's/Galentine's Day plans ready. This entire weekend we're celebrating Black Girl Magic is prepartion for Black Girl Magic Day on Monday, February 15th. If you were unable to join our virtual tasting event, sign up for the mailing list next time to be the first to know about events. If you want to try more wines, check out our seasonal and quarterly wine clubs here. Perfect for the wine lover who never wants to run out of wine! We hope you have a safe and lovley weekend!

Xo,

Andrea McBride
 
February 1, 2021 | Andrea McBride

Celebrating Black History Month

 

Tracing the Routes of the African Diaspora through Wine & Food

All of our wines are an intimate reflection of who we are, and where we come from. During Black History Month, we are reminded of the journeys, people, and cultures which have made the McBride Sisters Collection possible. Our own family history, which covers multiple states, countries and continents (!), keeps us particularly mindful of the depth and scale of the African Diaspora. 

While history focuses on the mass movements of the African Diaspora and its impact on the creation of Transatlantic Slave Trade, we want to showcase the beautiful traditions, cultures and cuisines that are a direct reflection of the men and women who were bought, sold and traded on foreign land. We want to take you on a tour through the Diaspora by tracing our roots (and routes) to highlight the cultures and cuisine that have influenced our lives, while also giving you recipes and wine pairings to bring these cultures into your own kitchen. 

A Diaspora is defined as “the migration of a people and its culture away from their homeland” according to San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora. While the literal definition is accurate, in regards to the African Diaspora it is singularly important to note that the African migration was forced for roughly 500 years. From as early as the 1400’s through the late 1860’s, even after the Civil War (see Juneteenth), PBS estimates that at least 12 million Africans, spanning 50 different linguistic and ethnic groups, were taken from their homes and scattered around the world to foreign places throughout Europe and its colonies in the Americas.

Historically, much of the African Diaspora is horrific and traumatic, with the negative impacts intergenerationally being present to this day in Black communities around the world. However, despite the darkness, we represent a diverse population of over 140 million beautiful Black peoples, cultures, cuisines and utter excellence that were crafted and rooted from generation to generation, despite it all.    

Map Source
 

Tracing The Routes -Where Did Our People Migrate From?

The Transatlantic Trade, or Triangle Slave Trade, originated in Europe, but spanned at least three continents. According to PBS, a majority of enslaved Africans were sent to South America and the Caribbean, whereas a minority of that 12 million went to North America, explaining the breadth and vibrancy of today’s Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean cultures. The origins of this African/Latin/Indigenous panism can be seen in the range of colorful dialects, tones and cuisines that have come from Transatlantic migration. 

Smallest migration origin: South East Africa — Mozambique 
Biggest migration origin: West Central Africa — Republic of Congo, Nigeria 

Main areas we landed after Crossing the Atlantic: 

  1. Brazil: South East Brazil, Bahia, Pernambuco 
  2. Colombia: Cartagena, Palenque de San Basilio
  3. Carribean: Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic 
  4. United States of America: Gulf Coast, New Orleans + Coast of Georgia and the Carolinas 

 

The Cuisine Rooted In African Heritage

“For Africans and their descendants in the Americas food and its preparation are deeply infused with social and cultural meaning, rooted in African traditions, and have always held an intrinsic role in creating, preserving, and transmitting expressions of ethnic cohesion and continuity.” 

As people were being forced from their homes in Africa, they brought traditions, stories and distant memories of their homeland with them. Over many years, the slave trade was bringing a large and constant influx of people to Brazil, Columbia, the Carribean and the United States. These movements brought culinary artists and expert agriculturalists across the Atlantic ocean, leading to a re-energized African culture that was incubated and permeated throughout rural and urban cooking throughout North and South America. The result was deeply rooted culinary excellence in new and evolved cooking styles, recipes, spices and flavors. 

According to Diane Spivey from The Black Past, the African Diaspora introduced many new methods of cooking to the American palate, from frying, simmering, roasting and steaming. Prepared cuisine and traditional dishes were becoming more delicious due to the influence of African migrants in the kitchen. Hot peppers and spices were used to season fish, meat, rice, beans and vegetables. Seasoning can be one of the most notable influences of the African culture within American cuisine today. Oils used to prepare African dishes included groundnut, peanut, melon seed, sesame seed, coconut, corn, shea butter and palm, “which remains the favorite in West Africa due to the reddish-orange color it imparts to foods.

Wine That’s Redefining Tradition
Culture and creativity first. 

With no aristocratic heritage and tradition to the wine industry, our only boundary to the rules of our wines is within ourselves. Break the rules. Drink the wine. As we define the McBride Sisters Collection, stewarding the best expression of the vineyard and grape from the region is important and will always be a given for our winemaking process. The most important aspect for Robin and I is to focus on how each wine we make will inspire and illuminate our tribe. It’s the mood and experience that drives our creative process behind each bottle of wine. 

A wine starts as an idea, a varietal and a vineyard but evolves into a way to express our culture, heritage and purpose by redefining tradition. During the ideation and creation process we always evaluate how a wine will be enjoyed. Will this wine experience be overcomplicated (everyone has that one friend like this, you know exactly what we’re talking ‘bout) and need to be served in a quiet, focused, intellectual environment, supported by contemplative and slow sips? 

Or is this wine thirst-quenching, optimistic, happy AF and straight to the point? Ultimately, how does this wine elevate the food and people experience? 

Our wines may never be the loudest in the room because we are quietly confident that each wine will elevate your food and mood. But most importantly, these wines will help create an intimacy between the deep roots of our love for wine and the dynamic routes of our families history along African Diaspora. 

Every time you open a bottle of our wine, we want to elevate your experience without you even noticing. Over the coming weeks and months, we will share the perfect wine pairings, wine cocktails, recipes, culture, history and music as we take a tour of the African Diaspora. 

Join Us In #TracingOurRoots

Over the next few months, we will be highlighting the powerful influences of the different countries who were a part of the African Diaspora through cuisine, wine and more. We’ll showcase the beauty of our culture and the many cultures across the world that are deeply rooted in the African traditions and artforms brought over by the migrations. Along the way, we'll explore the routes, introduce chefs that are keeping their heritage thriving and give you the perfect pairings to enjoy the recipes and wines at home. 

Black History Month presents an amazing opportunity to find out more about Black history, culture and cuisine, and it also provides a powerful incentive to look into your own ancestry, however you identify. As we’ve seen; diversity, curiosity, and connection are the makings of a great origin story, so we encourage you to set the table with enough seats (and enough glasses!) for everyone!

XO,

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