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
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
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!
Let's Celebrate the Magic of Black Women
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 ROUGE1.5 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 handBeyonce - 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 handHidden 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 #CheersToBlackGirlMagicKatherine 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!
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 Ingredients1.5 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!
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!
IngredientsRaspberry 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
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!
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.
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:
- Brazil: South East Brazil, Bahia, Pernambuco
- Colombia: Cartagena, Palenque de San Basilio
- Carribean: Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic
- 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!
46th Presidential Inauguration Day
Image from the LA Times
Powerful women are all around us. Today we celebrate the ones making history! It is with grace and poise that for the first time, a woman will be the Vice President of the United States. The barriers breakers of our time, Ruther Bader Ginsberg, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Kamala Harris, Ilhan Omar and more are paving the way for the women in this country while also carrying the immense weight of hope for all of womankind. Today, we raise our glass to them. Tomorrow will be a new day for the country and throughout the next four years, we will be able to watch with hopeful eyes, how a woman shapes our nation, our policies and our livelihoods. It is their hardwork and dedication that gives so many of us women, members of the BIPOC community, and our allies; more reason to pop a bottle of Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut today, in celebration of the 46th Presidential Inauguration. Cheers to 2021: the year of the woman.
It feels like only yesterday that Hillary Clinton opened our eyes to the possibility of having a woman in the White House, when she announced her first presidential campaign aspirations. Her strength, confidence and ambition is exactly what drove six women including Harris, to take on what may be their most important roles in government yet. With our glasses full of bubbles and our hearts full we will see the first Woman, Mixed Race Black and South Asian Vice President be sworn into office.
Women are in such domination of 2021, that we can’t fit them all into one blog (as much as we would like to!); so we’ve compiled a list of some especially remarkable women in politics to watch in the 117th Congress, and 46th Presidential administration.
Women to Watch
Image from PBS News Hour
- Deb Haaland: Otherwise known as Debra Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe. Deb will be the first ever Native to hold office as a cabinet secretary. Her appointment as head of the Department of the Interior will see a return of authority to Native Americans who were once solely responsible for U.S lands and natural resources. In her acceptance speech for this position she promised, “I’ll be fierce for all of us, for our planet, and all of our protected land” (and we can all cheers to that!).
- Maryland Strickland (D-WA, 10th District): Like Kamala Harris, Strickland is a Mixed Race woman of Black and Asian descent. She is one of the three first Korean American women in congress, this year. Like some of her female colleagues before her, Strickland is using fashion as a powerful means of expression and politics. For her swearing in ceremony Strickland chose to wear a traditional Korean dress referred to as a hanbok, which was meant to both honor her Korean mother and be a positive reinforcement for representation.
- Nikema Williams (D-GA, 5th District): Williams is not only the first Black woman to chair the Georgia Democratic Party but she will also be the first woman to represent her district. She is following in the footsteps of the late representative John Lewis.
In 2021, we are seeing the most women ever in the House of Representatives. See the full list of Women to Watch from Politico here.
The roster of impressive women across Congress and the White House could go on, and on...as it should! 104 years after Jeanette Rankin became the first woman to be sworn into Congress, there are 26 women in the Senate, and 118 women in the House of Representatives. As if a historic 144 women in the Capitol aren’t reason enough for 2021 to be the year of the woman, President Biden has surrounded himself in the sound advice of over 2 dozen powerful female minds, not including our Madame Vice President Kamala Harris! Regardless of our political values, American women have come together to let the world know: #SHECAN and she will. As she has said before, she may be the first but she certainly will not be the last.
So today it feels even better to raise a glass of wine from a Black-women-owned business. A toast to women, trail blazers like Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Deb Haaland, and ourselves! With no glass-ceiling to hold us back, the sky's the limit.
5 Black-Owned Retailers To Know
A beacon among the lively communities across the country, these hard working entrepreneurs are making their mark. These wine shops, convenience stores, liquor stores and other businesses are the building blocks within their communities. The local pit stops to grab your favorite bottle of wine or even an oasis to hang out with the dedicated team behind the counter. You’ll also find all three of our McBride Sisters Collection brands on their shelves, keeping our wines readily available across the country!
These businesses have also made a point to carry, highlight and grow other Black-owned wine and liquor brands in order to share their successes. When they rise, they raise others. Across the country, these shops are all intertwining a love for wine, community and a work hard mentality to truly set their businesses apart. We raise our glass to these 5 trailblazers and the many others out there, we will support your endeavors always. Shop small, buy Black and always support local!
7/11: Arlington, Texas - Alyson Rae Lawson
At just 32 years old, Alyson Rae Lawson is already her own boss. The CEO and franchisee owns and operates two convenience stores and gas stations, challenging the corporate structure by doing things her own way through franchising. “It wasn’t easy, but it is definitely less difficult than starting a business from the ground up. It had its challenges, but I had no plan B so I was forced to work through them,” Lawson said to Shoutout DFW.
With a background in government administration, Lawson earned her MBA and Master of Accounting, however did not feel properly respected in corporate America. Lawson has since realized the importance of staying true to herself. “I did not get to where I am today by being what other people wanted me to be. I got here by being 100% unapologetically me!” She is a force to be reckoned with and has continued to grow and expand her franchise by bringing others along her journey to success. Her shelves are stocked with other Black-owned businesses and great wines to provide you with a 711 shopping experience like you’ve never seen before. She continues to bring her great taste to her community and inspires others to think outside the box in order to find success.
Kimbark Beverage Shoppe: Chicago, IL - Jonathan Swain
On Chicago’s South Side, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe is a community pillar. A family run business that has been in operation since 1974, when John W. Swain Sr. purchased the store that was initially part of a Hyde Park urban renewal project, and his son Jonathan Swain took over the shop 12 years ago. “What brought me back to this business was my commitment to my community,” Swain told Beverage Dynamics.
At Kimbark Bev’s roots, the retailer continues to focus on giving back to the community, employing 19 people, with a focus on those in need. “We hired people who had spent time in prison even before that was a tax credit...we believe that people deserve a second chance.”
Beyond its community of Chicago, Kimbark Bev focuses on supporting Black businesses nationwide, stocking a range of Black-owned alcohol brands. Swain acknowledges the importance of distribution, while discussing the deeper issues of American policy that have exempted Black people economically. “We support black-owned brands because they’re part of our ecosystem,” Swain said.
SIP Wine & Beer: Escondido, California - Cassandra Schaeg
Nestled in Downtown Escondido is a wine tasting room and retail store called SIP that was founded on the mantra of “SIP, BUY, SHARE”. “SIP our unique selection of wine and beer, BUY a bottle to take home, SHARE wine knowledge through themed events and educational classes,” founder Cassandra Schaeg told SD Voyager.
After settling into Escondido for a few years Schaeg noticed that she wasn’t spending any time or money in the actual area, so she decided to focus her efforts on the community by opening up a wine bar. “Community development and involvement, my love of quality wine, and the desire to share wine knowledge became the building blocks of Sip Wine and Beer LLC.”
Happy Cork: Brooklyn, NY - Sunshine Foss
Happy Cork in Brooklyn is much more than just a wine shop, it is an oasis. Owner Sunshine Foss put her background in fashion design and textiles to use, creating a wonderland with floral arrangements, decorative antique pieces and accent walls. “People come in here and don’t want to leave; they spend hours talking to staff about their whole lives,” Foss told Black Owned Brooklyn.
The former designer bought the space in 2016 with her husband, but after having difficulty finding tenants they decided to turn the space into their own wine and spirit shop. Despite facing various hardships when trying to open up shop, the store officially opened its doors in March of 2019, to the support and love of the surrounding community.
As a minority business owner, Foss shares the importance of stocking minority-owned products, despite often running into roadblocks. “There have been times that I have requested minority brands from certain distributors, and they tell me they don’t carry any. Not even one,” Foss told Travel Noire. Happy Cork currently stocks around 35 Black-owned wine varieties and approximately 15 Black-owned spirits.
3 Parks Wine: Atlanta, GA - Sarah Pierre
A veteran in the hospitality industry, Sarah Pierre was feeling the burnout of spending too many years managing restaurants. “I couldn’t handle the late nights anymore, reckless behavior, long crazy work hours, and missing important events and milestones for myself, family and friends,” Pierre told Voyage Atlanta, who took some time off before deciding to open wine retailer 3 Parks Wine.
Located in close proximity to three Atlanta park neighborhoods, 3 Parks Wine offers an all-inclusive experience that provides wines for everyone. “I wouldn't say I only go organic or bio-dynamic, but smaller production is what I'm looking for when picking wines for the shop. I'm also thinking of my customers and what they are looking for when they come into the shop,” Pierre told Eater. Offering a casual, fun and friendly neighborhood environment is also what sets 3 Parks apart, and keeps customers coming back.
To find our McBride Sisters Collection Wines near you check out the store locator here. Join the McBride Sisters Wine Club to have a hand curated wine selection delivered directly to your door every quarter, read more here.
An Origin Story
A wine that represents the heritage and beauty of New Zealand, where Andréa was raised. The McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc is an ode to one of the most breathtaking wine regions of the world, Marlborough. Located on the northeastern side of the South Island, this dry cooler climate has earned it's spot on the map by producing some of the most delicious Sauvignon Blancs. Notable of crisp acidity, gorgeous green notes and soft tropical fruits. A versatile white wine that pairs with our favorite dishes and represents a piece of the incredible story that brought Andréa into the wine world!
The Sauvignon Blanc Grape
Sauvignon Blanc, a green-skinned grape variety, originates from the Bordeaux region of France and produces a dry, crisp white wine. In the 1880s, the first Sauvignon Blanc cuttings were brought to California, the location of McBride Sisters Collection headquarters. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the grape was first introduced to New Zealand, where the McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc is grown and made. In 1979, Sauvignon Blanc was first commercially produced on New Zealand shores and is now the country’s most widely planted variety.
Besides California and New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is also cultivated in France, Chile, Romania, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Washington state. We love a world traveler!
This varietal can grow in many different regions varying in climate. These temperature differences influence the wine significatnly. Cooler climates produce wine with high acidity and flavors of grass, green bell peppers, passion fruit, and floral notes. Sauvignon Blanc’s primary flavors are lime, green apple, tropical fruit and white peach. The flavor palate ranges from zippy lime to flowery peach.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape is unique due to it's aromatic organic compounds called “pyrazines” give the wine its herbaceous flavors of bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry, and grass. Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity level is medium to medium-high.
Similar varieties include: Verdejo, Albariño, Colombard, Grüner Veltliner, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Tocai Friulano, Savignan (rare), Traminer, and Sauvignon Vert (rare).
The Perfect Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc does not particularly benefit from aging, so there’s no need to wait to open a bottle. We'd suggest serving Sauvignon Blanc at “cellar temp” (about 50 to 60 degrees). When it comes to chilling white wine, there are two options. You can either leave it in the fridge for several hours, or you can put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If the girls are on their way, pop that bottle in the freezer and you’re good to go.
Luckily for us, Sauvignon Blanc has a variety of foods that mutually compliment each other.
- Seafood lovers, this one’s for you! Sauvignon Blanc’s zing enhances the citrus and garlic-based sauces used for seafood, shellfish, and white fish. It is also one of the only wines that works well with sushi.
- By now you know that Sauvignon Blanc has herbaceous notes. These pair well with similar green herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, tarragon, thyme, fennel, dill, and chives. Other “non-green” spices include white pepper, coriander, turmeric, and saffron.
- Meat lovers, unite! Perfect white meat pairings are chicken and turkey.
- We love a delectable cheese board. Try Sauvignon Blanc with softer, briny, and sour cheeses like goat’s milk cheese.
- Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the veggies! Pair these vegetarian dishes with Sauvignon Blanc: asparagus quiche, cucumber dill yogurt salad, white bean casserole with zucchini, and green hummus.
- Now that you’re a Sauvignon Blanc expert, put your knowledge to the test. Kick back with a bottle (or two) of crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc! Visit our Wine Shop to explore our wines.
This is more than just a wine, it's an origin story. Order a bottle of the McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc in the store here or find our wines near you on the store locator here. If you want to taste through the Collections, check out our Wine Club to recieve hand curated wines sent directly to you quarterly.
Own Your Year
We are coming to the end of what has been quite a year. At the close of 2020 we are taking in some self care and appreciation for the good things that came from this year; like our interview with NPR’s Guy Raz on “How I built this''. Thank you to everyone who listened, shared, and responded to both episodes! We’re so grateful for the love & support we’ve had on our journey; which is why we want to celebrate you, your strength, and the lessons we’ve all learned going into 2021. So as we start reflecting and manifesting the year to come with a bottle of our favorite Sparkling Brut, (or two, maybe three, ...) let us cheers to closing 2020 with style!
Our vision boards both personally and professionally act as affirmations that remind us to live our best lives, every day. Creating visual reminders of our daily mantras has helped us turn our wildest dreams and innermost desires into reality; and can help you do the same! Whether you’re a vision board goddess or a first timer, we've created a guide to help organize your goals and dreams while leading you through the creative process, every step of the way. Now it’s time to manifest your best year to date!
What You’ll Need:
Your very own McBride Sisters Vision Boarding Template - download here!
- A physical Vision Board — we’ve ordered this set in the past
- Magazines & Prints (we love a good vintage)
- A bottle of Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut
Step One: Center the Future with Past & PresentFirst off, make sure you have a full glass of wine!
- Then take some time to deeply reflect on your accomplishments, milestones and events from this past year. It’s also important to think of any areas where you see room for improvement in your life. Reflection can be done alone, but also presents a sweet opportunity to check in with friends and family at the start of the New Year.
- Next, focus on building the future of your dreams. Start to envision your life a year from now: dream up what you hope to accomplish and any changes or steps that might be necessary to make those accomplishments happen.
- When conceptualizing your board, think deeply about what you want to invite into your life on a daily basis.
- If it helps, write it all down! Think of your vision board as a kind of photo journal, that will make a habit of actually journaling your past, present and future. This will continue to help you map out your ideas and track your progress.
Step Two: Attract Positive Energy
- Decide on one or several related themes to set the mood for your board.
- We like to center our content around values such as quality, creativity, gratitude, etc. (but you can also get specific: professional, health & wellness, relationships… ).
- Find messages and symbols that you make you feel inspired, excited, and alive. You want this vision board to carry you through the entire year, so it has to be amazing.
- Pull a mix of imagery, art work, words, and quotes from anywhere that you can cut and paste.
- We like to use blogs and magazines to get us started.
- Our go tos for this year are: Essence, Forbes, Refinery29, Wine Enthusiast, Well+Good, The Every Girl, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, and so many more!
- We like to use blogs and magazines to get us started.
Tip: Pinterest is a great start for inspo; in fact, the whole site is kind of like a huge, digital vision board. This is the perfect platform to keep up your vision boarding throughout the year. But for now, print out your favorite pins and focus on a physical vision board that you can hang on your wall. It’s important that you are reminded every day of your hopes, dreams and inspiration.
- After you’ve exhausted the internet and your magazines/articles/etc., print out, cut out, and gather all of the content that you’ve collected.
- Content can be any and everything that you want to manifest for this upcoming year: magazine cut outs, printouts from your favorite blogs, postcards you’ve collected from traveling, the business card from your favorite restaurant…
Step Three: Design the Reality of Your DreamsStart the crafting process and pour more wine! (Check out our wine club for more!)
- It's a great idea to share your research and goals with friends and communicating your ideas is a rewarding way to start your relationship with your vision board and your future.
- Take your vision board, content, glue or thumbtacks, and begin turning your dreams into an expression of your best year yet!
- Your board can be minimal and focused or sprawling and energetic, it’s about whatever works best for you and your goals. This is your vision for 2021 and you have the full freedom to manifest it however you please.
- Placement is where your imagination and creativity can run free. The design of the vision board is completely up to you. It can mirror the ebb and flow of your life or have no pattern at all; just be sure that it does reflect the inspiring theme(s) you chose to keep yourself motivated and on task!
Step Four: Start Manifesting(Did we say pour more wine yet? Crafts should never be done on an empty glass!)
- Place or hang your vision board somewhere that you can visually access on a daily basis. Where and when, is your vision board able to best reach you? Are you a morning person that does your best thinking while getting ready in the bathroom mirror, or while warming up your coffee? Maybe you’re a night owl that does your finest work late in the gym, or at the end of the day with a tall glass of Black Girl Magic Rosé. Either/or, give your vision board a home in a place where you elevate: in the bathroom by the mirror, in the kitchen on the fridge, at the office over your desk, etc..
- Thinking about your ambitions daily will make a habit of them. So make sure you pass by your vision board at least 3 times a day!
- Take a deep breath (and a big sip) to get ready for a new year. Embrace an attitude of gratitude for yourself, your ambition, and the friends and family that will help build you, and your dreams for 2021.
- You couldn’t have envisioned a brilliant future without loved ones you’d like to share it with, so double-check to make sure they’re somehow included in the messages on your board.
Now Get Ready For An Amazing New Year + Download our Vision Boarding Template Here!
We can’t stress the importance of quality time with your dreams and aspirations. Above all else, we hope this vision board inspires you to live this next year to the fullest; and to celebrate every accomplishment, moment of happiness, and hardship. We are all strong enough to get through anything, especially as a community! When we were vision boarding for 2020, we never could have anticipated the highs and lows of this year. Not even in our wildest dreams could we have imagined being supported by your strength, style, and grace through it all. You are at the center of our vision board for 2021; because we would not be where we are today without you. Your encouragement inspires us to cultivate a better world for women, and to shine an especial light on beautiful examples of Black women being loved and uplifted. Thank you for helping us grow our SHE CAN and Black Girl Magic wine collections throughout this past year. Both brands have been welcomed by an exceptional amount of excitement by this community. You have all showered these brands with so much love and enthusiasm, that the passion for these wines and the message that they serve, is the true magic of 2020.
Thank you again for one of our best years yet. It is our wish to bring quality, love, and celebration into your life for many more years to come! Cheers to the New Year!
Holiday Celebrations Across The Northern & Southern Hemisphere
Fuzzy seasonal sweaters, hot cider by a warm fire, scarves, Christmas markets, and even snow playgrounds. Comforting festive visuals are what some of us know Christmas to be all about. For those of us who grew up in the Northern Hemisphere this warming visual may be spot on, however, for those residing in the Southern Hemisphere, a very different picture is likely to come to mind. So many of the Christmas traditions in the Northern Hemisphere revolve around the cold season, so a change in climate is sure to be reflected in the way the holidays are celebrated.
One of the things that make the McBride Sisters Collection unique is the story of how we came together as sisters from opposite sides of the world. With Andrea growing up in New Zealand, and Robin coming from Monterey, we were connected after years of not knowing the other existed following a family event that brought us together. As a result, both hemispheres are very important to us and hold a special place in our hearts.
The holiday season is a time for celebration. No matter where in the world you are located you’re bound to have certain traditions that you follow and take part in when the holidays come around. To celebrate diversity and unity of the two hemispheres, we have put together a guide highlighting how both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres celebrate the holidays in their own unique ways.
What Do The Decorations Look Like in Different Hemispheres?
Traditionally, certain countries that experience colder climates during the holiday season, such as America and Europe, tend to decorate grand trees with lavish ornaments typically in gold, white and red colors. These colors are associated with warmth during a season when most of the Northern Hemisphere wants to be rugged up somewhere cozy, escaping the harsh winter cold. In Japan, the customary Christmas tree is adorned with handcrafted decorations such as paper lanterns and origami, with the origami swan being one of the most popular Christmas ornaments.
In a majority of countries in the Southern Hemisphere, the holiday decorations typically reflect the traditions of their Northern Hemisphere counterparts, with large Christmas trees and opulent ornaments lining the trees. This could be because of the way in which Hollywood’s perception of an American Christmas has shaped many other countries worldwide. Australia and New Zealand are two countries who follow such traditions, albeit, occasionally with a twist. In either of these countries you might find decorations that reflect the island life, such as seashells, native plants and flowers, and more. New Zealanders actually have their own version of a “Christmas tree”, the Pōhutukawa, which is a native tree that grows vibrant red bauble-like flowers during the holiday season.
In many parts of South America it is common to find a nativity scene, or pesebre, accompanying the traditional Christmas tree, while in Mexico, piñatas decorations are filled with toys and candy to be a fun and interactive treat for the children.
Every individual country does have its own unique customs and traditions, however, there are some similarities that connect each region. Meals in the Northern Hemisphere winter months are typically based around hearty, warming dishes. In the United States, a holiday spread is likely to consist of a variety of roast meats, accompanied by gravy, stuffing, and lots of delicious sides, with hot apple pies and Christmas puddings following for dessert. In parts of Europe soups and stews are traditionally served to keep the winter chills away. In Poland, a homely soup called Bigos (“Hunters Stew”) is enjoyed around Christmas, while in Slovakia they serve one of their most celebrated dishes, a cabbage stew.
Holiday dishes in the Southern Hemisphere countries typically reflect the warmer climate, however, there can still be somewhat of a British influence seen in certain holiday spreads. In Australia and New Zealand, hot summer Christmas days are celebrated with spreads of fresh local seafood, salads, and often barbeques are cooked outside, typically accompanied by fresh fruit and a dessert called pavlova. In South Africa, it is also common to celebrate the holidays with a braai (barbeque), while in Argentina they serve their own version of pigs in a blanket, called niños envueltos, which is typically stuffed with cabbage and meat.
No matter where in the world you are, wine is a universal beverage that unites us all. At our Christmas table you’re bound to find bottles of our McBride Sisters Wine. For celebrations and holidays, we always like to have a bottle of McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV New Zealand Sparkling Brut readily available. Grown sustainably in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and enjoyed by us in California, we’re merging the two hemispheres with every sip! Check out our store locator to find a bottle of these bubbles near you for last minute shopping.
Our favorite holiday wines? Reds of course. There is nothing cozier than a warm fire and a delicious bottle of red wine. This holiday season we'd recommend opening up a bottle of the McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend or trying one of our new red wine releases. The Black Girl Magic Wines Merlot will pair perfectly with your Northern Hemisphere holiday feast and the Black Girl Magic Wines Zinfandel makes a delicious mulled wine using one of the recipes here or paired with your favorite pie. Can't decide which wine? We have the perfect bundle for you, shop it here.
Champagne and wine are festive staples in both hemispheres, with delicious wine-based recipes, such as mulled wine, being enjoyed in the colder climates. Other traditional holiday beverages served include cola de mono, a Chilean alternative to Eggnog that is served cold, while Italy’s own Eggnog alternative is the festive favorite Bombardino.
Festive activities in the Northern Hemisphere tend to revolve around winter sports, such as ice-skating, skiing, or snowboarding, or attending traditional Christmas markets where hot beverages and artisanal items are sold. Visiting tree lighting ceremonies and Christmas lights displays are other popular activities among those looking to be dazzled by impressive festive decorations.
Many Southern Hemisphere folk like to spend their time outside over Christmas, making the most of the hot weather and taking advantage of one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most frequented summer locations: the beach. Spending Christmas Day at the beach is a tradition for many, and you’re likely to find a majority of the popular beaches, such as Bondi Beach, packed with families, friends and tourists.
Old world style, new world finesse. Taste through our collections and new wine releases with our McBride Sisters Wine Club! Find out more here about our hand curated wine shipments, delivered to you quarterly.
Robin & Andréa
The Do's and Don'ts of Holiday Table Presentations
‘Tis the season to be festive (and creative!). With all the planning that goes into organizing food and presents during the holiday season it can often be very easy to forget about one important part - your feast table presentation. A standout holiday dining table can not only alter the aesthetics of the space, but it can also improve the vibes of the event, even if it’s a small gathering this season. This is your time to really shine and create a feast to remember!
The ideal holiday table presentation ultimately comes down to personal style and taste. You can co-ordinate your holiday menu to aesthetically match your table presentation, or you can even get your family involved with DIY holiday decoration craft sessions. The choice is up to you. There are, however, a few starting points or guidelines to follow to help things run smoothly, so we have provided 5 do’s and don’ts to help take your holiday table presentation to the next level.
DO: Get festive
What your holiday season looks like can depend a lot on where in the world you live. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, holidays may be reminiscent of snow, pine trees and hot cocoa. Get festive by embracing snow days, through crafting paper snowflakes that can drape down from the ceilings, or using miniature personalized snow globes that could act as a place setting for each guest. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, holidays may mean warm days at the beach and ice-cold drinks. You may opt to use brighter colours, or focus on a theme that explores tropical locations.
DO: Focus on color palettes
When you think of the holiday season what color palettes come to mind? Golds, reds, greens and whites are typical color palettes, but there are many different color schemes that you can play around with depending on your own personal taste. Stepping outside of the traditional red/green colors can mix things up a bit and create unexpected pops of color. Think of pastels, citruses, LED-inspired colors, neutral warm tones, and more. Tip: Choose glasses that match your color palette from Estelle’s stunning colored glassware range. These hand-blown colored glasses will be an incredible addition to any holiday table, and will take your chosen color palette to the next level.
DO: Create unique, eye-catching accents
Accents are what tie everything together and can make your holiday table feel complete. Without carefully chosen accents a centerpiece can feel too imposing or asymmetrical. Choose accents that contrast with the color palettes of your centerpiece, while complementing them at the same time. If you have a holly and pinecone centerpiece, you may want to have silver and gold accent colors to really make the centerpiece pop. Another great centerpiece? Wine bottles. Create a visual wine list on your table and the bottles will double as decor! Get one of everything with our Winter Vibes 12-pack to taste through the wines and to use on your feast table.
DO: Get Fragrant
Now it’s time to embrace your senses of sight, touch and smell by picking flora that will have guests in a sensory overdrive. For a personalized fragrant experience try attaching individually tied bunches of flora to guest’s chairs, try using pine, thyme, rosemary, lavender or eucalyptus. For an added festive touch use ribbon or twine that matches your color palette, and place loose items from your chosen plants in the centrepiece to tie everything together.
DO: Get hands-on
Get crafty and add a homemade touch to your decorations by workshopping some artistic pieces that will delight your guests. Create custom-colored bottlebrush trees by using fabric dyes or diluted stamp ink. Alternatively, you can also experiment with brightly colored crepe paper to make your own unique bottlebrush trees. Another simple, yet effective idea to spruce up your table is to cut and fold holiday-themed paper to create cone “trees” of varying sizes.
DON’T: Be afraid to experiment
If you’re new to holiday table decorating, don’t stress! This is the time to have fun and try new things. Holiday table decorating all comes down to personal taste. However, if you don’t know where to start — the best thing you can do for inspiration (other than following this guide) is look at decoration pictures that excite you and use those as a starting point.
DON’T: Forget to create a centerpiece
The centerpiece is the statement creation that everything else on the table will be set around. This striking piece is typically a decoration of some form, but it could also be designed out of food and/or drinks. Design tip: Build a dazzling gold centrepiece complete with gold-leafed candlestick holders encompassed with a fabric flower, ribbon and dried flora creation that has green, white and gold accents. Add two bottles of our Black Girl Magic NV New Zealand Sparkling Brut on either side to complete the stunning masterpiece.
DON’T: Limit your decorations to the table
Create a festive wonderland by expanding your decorations from the table to other parts of your space. Use light fittings and wall hangings that connect different elements and themes present on the table to your living room, kitchen and dining room. If you’re hosting at a location with an entry hallway, decorate the walls and hang pieces from the ceiling to create a magical experience for guests from the moment they step through the door.
DON’T: Forget to play music
Set the mood and keep awkward silences to a minimum by having background music playing. You may have a quirky Christmas playlist that you want to show off and use as a conversation starter.
DON’T: Obsess over everything being perfect
Remember, this is a party and the point is to have fun! It’s very easy to get wrapped up in running a party that you can often forget to slow down and actually enjoy yourself. Take time to talk to your guests, enjoy the food, and have a drink. You deserve it.
After checking all Do's & Don'ts, don't forget to check our wine club for more favorites! Happy holiday & Cheers!