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 from our wine club? 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 our wine club 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!
The perfect cheese board, it’s gorgeous and filled to the edges with different soft and hard cheeses, fruits and charcuterie. What's the secret? It's time for you to show up to the holidays, friendsgiving or even for a Friday night in with your very own Instagrammable wine + cheese board pairings. It's your time to shine with our wine and cheese pairings for beginners!
Here's the secret: it's all about the cheese pairings with wine. The board will look beautiful if you follow our step by step cheese board + wine pairing guide, but make sure the cheese you're buying is as delicious as the spread looks. Good cheese comes in all shapes and sizes, and pairs perfectly with all of our wines. Be sure to tag us in your cheese board posts, we want to see your spreads!
"How To Build The Ultimate Cheese Board" from William Sonoma
Each individual cheese board is unique and comes down to personal taste, dietary restrictions and choice. There are, however, general guidelines of items you can get to make your cheese board pop!
The Cheese: To start, you want to make sure you have three to four cheeses that have distinct flavor profiles. These could include sharp, creamy, nutty, or unique profiles. Sharp cheeses could include parmesan, cheddar, havarti or a sharp swiss. Some of our favorite creamy cheeses are brie, camembert and feta. Nutty cheeses include smoked aged gouda, gruyere or manchego. A more exciting flavor profile could be this BellaVitano cheese that has been rubbed and infused with freshly roasted espresso.
Once you have your cheeses you’re halfway there! This is a cheese board after all, and you have just selected the key contenders. The best cheeses are crafted from fresh, original ingredients and are made to suit a range of unique palates, so whatever you decide to pick will work perfectly.
The Cured Meats: To accompany the cheese you can choose a range of cured meats such as prosciutto, pancetta or Italian dry salami. If anybody at the party is vegetarian you can just as easily substitute any vegetarian option, such as Tofurky deli slices.
The Cheese Vehicle: Next, you need to pick the ingredients that the cheese will be served on. Pick a range of your favorite crackers, biscuits, or types of bread - it’s great to have a variety of serving options as everyone likes to have their cheeses served on something different.
Fruits, Nuts and Anything Extra: Now here’s where you pick the items that will accompany the cheese to bring some fun and variety to your plate. Honey walnuts, pistachios, grapes, strawberries, dates and a range of dried fruits are some of our favorites.Additional condiments could include toppings or vegetables that could bring some extra flavor to the board. These could include delicacies such as honey, sun-dried tomatoes, quince paste, marinated olives or artichokes. Think of these also as the decorative and exciting items that will bring your cheese board to life, making it look like an artist’s creation in the middle of your living room.
The Wine Pairings
Wine and cheese were made to be paired. The ideal cheese board wine pairing experience pairs with a red wine, white wine and sparkling! Depending on the size of your tasting group, we suggest opening all three bottles of wine to taste them side by side to find your favorite pairing!
Crisp, dry white wines
Crisp, lighter-bodied white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Sparkling pair well with fresh, unripened cheeses such as mozzarella, feta and burrata. Fresh, young and soft cheeses are best paired with our McBride Sisters Collection 2019 Sauvignon Blanc produced in Marlborough, New Zealand or the Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
Wine Buying Tip: Wines from New Zealand are produced in a cooler climate, this is one of the Southernmost wine regions in the world. The cooler climate contributes to a higher acid structure and lighter bodied wines.
Fruit forward, medium bodied white wines
White wines that are more fruit forward and medium bodied with subtle oak pair well with creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert. We’d highly recommend our McBride Sisters Collection 2018 Chardonnay from Central Coast, California to pair with your soft, buttery cheeses.
Wine Buying Tip: The key to these wine + cheese pairings is to find moderately oaked Chardonnay. Our McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay is produced in a winemaking style that involves subtle oak, but not enough to overpower the varietal aromas and flavors from the Chardonnay. If you are buying a heavily oaked Chardonnay, we recommend a harder/less creamy cheese.
Medium-heavy bodied, fruit forward red wines
Aged cheeses pair perfectly with the medium-heavy bodied, complex tannin structure and gorgeous fruit profile on a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These cheeses include Cheddar, Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano. The perfect pairing would be our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2018 California Merlot (a new release!) with one of these hard cheeses.
Building + Beautifying The Board
Since cheese is the main event here, we like to place our cheese down first. But if you like, you can start by laying down some flat greens (such as baby spinach) to give your cheese board additional presentation points. After the cheeses are placed in distinct areas of the board place the cured meats in between the cheeses for a clear visual contrast. Next, add the crackers and/or bread in the gaps, and then spread all the remaining ingredients out to artistically fill in all the spaces. The goal here is to make the board look abundant and beautiful while appearing visually balanced and decadent.
Other Tips & Tricks
- Taking your cheese board on a picnic? Try our SHE CAN Wines, they are easy to bring just about anywhere. They are our bottle quality wines with can convenience. We'd reccommend the SHE CAN New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or SHE CAN Island Citrus Dry Rosé Spritzer with the cheeses & meats above!
- Be sure to take your cheeses out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before serving, so that the cheese is just below room temperature.
- When it comes to pairing wine with cheese keep in mind that opposite flavor profiles can attract. An off-dry Riesling can pair perfectly with an Italian Parmesan, while a tart Sauvignon Blanc can be deliciously complemented by a buttery Gorgonzola.
- Taste test the wine and a slice of cheese yourself prior to serving. Your taste buds will be able to tell you if the pairing works or not.
- Keep in mind that not all wines pair well with cheese. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works!
Join our Wine Club and build cheese board pairings with your shipments every quarter! Learn more about our Wine Club here.
Wine is a given for the holidays, but let’s spice up this season with homemade delicious and cozy cocktails. Since this year has looked a little different, it’s time to level up your holiday drink game. You could even send the recipes you love from this list to your friends and host a holiday happy hour!
This collection of recipes is perfect for both casual gatherings, more formal sit down dinners or a zoom party with your family.
Mulled Wine (with a twist!)view recipe here
Quentão de Vinho
Brazilian Mulled Wine
We're starting off in the Southern Hemisphere! Whether you are craving classic Mulled Wine or want to try this Quentão de Vinho, a deliciously warm and aromatic warm red wine drink from Brazil, both will make your house smell incredible and will keep you warm through the winter. The sweet and spicy beverage is traditional in its home country and can make the perfect holiday alternative to mulled wine or cider.
What You'll Need
2 small red apples
1 orange, skin peeled
1 cup of brown sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
¾ cup of diced ginger root
2 cups of water
12 whole cloves
250ml cachaça (sugar cane brandy)
Two limes sliced thinly
Garnish: orange peel, sliced apples, cinnamon
1. Cut the apples into slices.
2. Combine the cloves, cinnamon sticks and the cup of sugar into a saucepan that is heated over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the ingredients are caramelized.
3. Add the wine, water, cachaça, sliced apple, ginger and orange peel and heat until the mixture is simmering.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is strong and fragrant.
5. Strain the mixture into serving mugs.
6. Garnish with sliced apples, cinnamon and orange peel.
Holiday Wine Spritzer
Featured image: Rudolph's Tipsy Spritzer (@tidymom) - view recipe here
Spritz up your night with everyone’s favorite holiday fruit, cranberries. The honey, apricot and floral tones of the Riesling will pair well with this bitter fruit, while the ginger ale will top it off with a kick.
What You'll Need
3 cans of the She Can Coastal Berry Dry Rosé Spritzer
3 cups of cranberry juice
3 cups of ginger ale
1 cup of fresh cranberries (or another festive berry if cranberries aren’t available)
Sugar for rim
Garnish: rosemary sprigs
1. In a large jug combine the bottle Riesling and cranberry juice until well mixed.
2. Rub lime around the rims of 4-8 glasses and dip into a plate with sugar to decorate the rims.
3. Pour into the sugar-rimmed glasses and top with ginger ale, cranberries and rosemary sprigs to decorate.
Christmas Sangriaview recipe here
This is the perfect festive, easy-to-make beverage that will be sure to delight your guests and add a holiday aesthetic to the drinks table. This delicious sangria can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve to your guests.
What You'll Need
¼ cup brandy or apple brandy
½ cup sparkling apple cider
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup of halved cranberries
¼ cup of whole cranberries
1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
Garnish: rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks or orange slices
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well until sugar dissolves.
2. Make sure to refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
3. Serve chilled and garnish with rosemary sprigs, cinnamon stick or orange slices.
Festive Cinnamon Pear and Apple Mimosaview recipe here
A twist on the classic mimosa, this cinnamon pear and apple mix will bring your winter tastebuds to life. A beverage that could be just as well consumed in front of a roaring fire as it could be at a backyard picnic, the pear and candied lemon of our McBride Sisters Sparkling Brut perfectly complement the core ingredients of this festive refreshment.
What You'll Need
¼ cup cinnamon whiskey of your choice
¾ cups apple cider
¼ cup pear juice
One ripe pear cored and sliced
Garnish: thyme or sage sprigs
1. Combine sparkling brut, apple cider and pear juice in a pitcher, then stir in the cinnamon whisky.
2. Add sliced pear and apples and leave in the fridge for half an hour to let the flavors develop.
3. Garnish with apple slices, cinnamon sticks and thyme or sage sprigs.
Pomegranate Rosé Holiday Margarita
Featured Image: Pomegranate Margarita from Create Yum - view recipe here
Another twist on a classic, this pomegranate Rosé margarita will appeal to both tequila aficionados and Rosé lovers alike. The aromas of orange blossom and raspberry from our McBride Sisters Rosé will pair with the floral pomegranate notes to provide an exciting sensory experience. Once you try this twist, there will be no turning back!
What You'll Need
¼ cup of agave silver tequila
3 teaspoons of agave syrup
One lime, half squeezed
One cup of pomegranate seeds
Garnish: mint, lime wheel and pomegranate seeds
1. Place the tequila, lime juice, agave, pomegranate and Rosé all together in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
2. Shake well for about 15-20 seconds so that all ingredients are well-combined.
3. Rub the other half of the lime around the glasses and dip into a plate filled with salt to create the salt rim.
4. Fill the glasses with ice and strain the pomegranate Rosé margarita.
5. Garnish with a lime wheel, mint and additional pomegranate seeds.
A Gift Guide for Black-Owned Businesses
2020 has been a difficult year for small businesses, with the effects of the pandemic especially hitting hard on Black-owned businesses. A report revealed that Black-owned businesses have been closing at almost twice the rate of other small businesses due to a range of economic and social issues only made worse by COVID-19.
This year we are redefining Black Friday by encouraging our customers to focus their efforts on celebrating and supporting Black-owned brands during one of the biggest retail days of the year. As a Black-owned business, uplifting other Black women-owned small businesses is a cause that is very close to our heart, so help us spread “Black Girl Magic” (and Black magic in general) in the gifts you choose to buy this holiday season and beyond.
We know that as the holidays inch closer your emails and social media will be flooded with deals, promotions and sales, so to help you shop consciously we have put together a full McBride Sisters Collection Gift Guide for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday, so stay tuned!
Who’s ready to spread some magic?
Black Girl Sunscreen: Natural ingredients that help to rejuvenate your face and body while providing protection and moisturising.
Pear Nova Nail Laquer: Vegan, cruelty-free nail brand that celebrates all skin tones. Pear Nova is currently offering 20% off for the holidays.
The Lip Bar: Vegan, cruelty-free lip colors that are beautiful on every complexion.
Beneath Your Mask: Micro-batched by hand in Southern California, BYM uses all-natural products to counteract physical, environmental and personal stresses on your skin. The founder, Dana, also has an incredibly inspiring story about her journey to creating BYM after being diagnosed with Lupus.
Mented Cosmetics: Provides make-up to suit light to tan to dark skin tones with a shade finder to help perfectly customize your make-up to your skin. Mented is also offering a buy one, get one 50% off sale sitewide now through to Black Friday.
Juvia’s Place: Beauty brand offering a range of vibrantly-pigmented essentials for face, eyes and lips for all people and all skin tones.
Eden Bodyworks: Hair and body products created from natural, cruelty-free ingredients created for all curly hair types from 2A to 4C.
Oyin Handmade: Named after the Yoruba word for “Honey”, Oyin Handmade provides moisture solutions for highly textured hair.
The 125 Collection: Urban luxury candle brand based in Harlem, NY, that features a range of sweet, spicy, spirit and boss quotes on their vegan candles.
The Black Home: Minimalist design hub that features candle, tableware, ebooks, wallpaper and more.
Estelle Colored Glass: Luxury hand-blown colored glassware including glassware and cake stands that are made by glass artisans in Poland.
The Jungalow: Lifestyle brand that features design goods and inspiration. Check out this beautiful Ayo Hook pillow by Justina Blakeney. Also, sign up to their newsletter for exclusive Black Friday deals.
Karibe Cookware: Cookware company based in New Jersey that features cookware, kitchen tools and cutlery.
Bolé Road Textiles: Elegant pieces handwoven in Ethiopia that can suit a range of household needs including table linens, pillows, rugs and bath accessories.
Eva Sonaike: Luxury home textiles and soft furnishings including rugs, cushions and fabrics that have a stunning West-African aesthetic.
Food & Beverages
Phillip Ashley Chocolates: Luxury, designer chocolates made out of the finest ingredients to create a unique chocolate experience.
Sweet Hot Mambo Sauce: Capital City’s signature sauce is infused with cayenne and habanero pepper to create the perfect sweet and tangy blend that you will win you over immediately.
Baked Cravings: For those with nut allergies this delicious baked-goods company provides 100% nut free, peanut-free, tree-free & kosher sweets.
Red Bay Coffee: Made in Oakland, California, this Black-owned coffee brand focuses on diversifying the coffee industry by focusing on creating opportunities for POC, people who were incarcerated, women and people with disabilities.
Brooklyn Tea Company: Tea lovers rejoice, Brooklyn Tea Company is offering a range of high-quality, organic teas that are fair trade wherever possible.
Zac & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm Honey: Family-owned business from rural New Jersey that uses all-natural processes to explore the benefits of home-grown, raw honey.
InBooze DIY Cocktail Kit: Handmade packets with dehydrated fruit, spices and herb that make it easy for you shortcut the classics at home, just add alcohol!
Telfar: Unisex fashion line established in 2005 by Telfar Clements.
Taylor Jay Collection: Ethically sourced and environmentally safe pieces from designer Taylor Jay that are made in a fair labor factory in Oakland.
Peryton: Luxury leather handbags that are created by Jamaican and American designer Gina Love.
Bruce Glen: Vibrant leather accessories, bags and a range of unique statement streetwear pieces.
Rochelle Porter Design: Bold prints created for the gym and beyond.
DIARRABLU: A San-Francisco based company that focuses on producing conscious contemporary womenswear through sustainable practices, while highlighting the unique patterns and colors of the African continent.
Nubian Skin: Nude lingeries that caters to a wide range of brown skin tones.
Toys & Other Gifts
Fresh Dolls: Award-winning dolls that honor the beauty and intelligence of multicultural children, with currently over 65 dolls representing Black, brown, mixed and blended children.
Kid’s Gardening Kit from Hortiki: Encourage kids to get excited about plants, nature and gardening from a young age. This kit allows them to explore the world of agriculture through puzzles, games, reading and more, and has an all-inclusive organic & eco-friendly gardening kit to make gardening safe and fun!
Entrepreneurs Color Too: For creatives and intellectuals alike, this is an inspiring adult coloring book that highlights the beauty and successes of Black women.
Culture Greetings: Greeting cards designed for consumers of color that let customers create a personalized message using handwriting fonts.
Darlyng & Co: “Everyday essentials for everyday parenting” that includes a range of kids products and apparel.
Puzzle Huddle: Inspiring and diverse children’s jigsaw puzzles that feature a range of characters.
Brilliant or BS Card Game: As said on the box, this is a card game designed for “know-it-alls and big fat liars”. Interested? We sure are.
Black-Owned Wine Shops To Visit Across The Country
Give the gift of wine this season. This Small Business Saturday we've created an ever growing list of Black-owned wine shops across the country for your last minute Feast shopping, holiday gifting or just for when you need a good bottle of wine. Black-owned businesses have been disproportionally impacted this year and we want to make sure these businesses can not only stay in business but thrive in 2021.
Enjoy the instant gratification of having a bottle of wine without waiting for shipping! We will continue adding to this list so please let us know if we've forgotten any wine shops to include in the comments. Shop local, shop small and spend your money with a purpose this holiday season and beyond.
SIP Wine and Beer | Escondido, CA
Boutique Vino | San Diego, CA
Stapleton Wines & Spirits | Denver, CO
District of Columbia
3 Parks Wine Shop | Atlanta, GA
Cynthia Bailey's Wine Room | Atlanta, GA
Corks and Cuvee Wine and Gift Shoppe | Conyers, GA
Kimbark Beverage | Chicago, IL
1340 Beer Wine Spirits | Chicago, IL
Second Vine | New Orleans, LA
Urban Grape | Boston, MA
House of Pure Vin | Detroit, MI
Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits | Brooklyn, NY
Good Wine NYC | Brooklyn, NY
3rd Ave Wine & Liquer | Brooklyn, NY
Harlem Wine Gallery | New York, NY
Down The Rabbit Hole Wine Boutique | Sayville, NY
Pyramid | Memphis, TN
Moffitt's Wine & Spirits | Milan, TN
711 | Austin, TX
711 | Dallas, TX
OST Liquor Store | Houston, TX
Downtown Spirits | Seattle, WA
It's the best time of the year! Usually the holidays are a time to travel and see family, friends and loved ones. But with everything that is going on in the world at the moment, this may not be a typical holiday season. This is, however, your chance to make new traditions. Through it all, we are still here and that is something to celebrate!
So grab your Sparkling Brut and get ready to pop the bubbly with your bubble! Gather with the friends that you know are being COVID safe & smart, the group you’ve been with since the beginning of this year, and plan a feast to remember! This Friendsgiving is going to be better than the rest because this season, your friends are your family.
So how does one plan a feast? What if you’ve never made an entire turkey before? To ease your mind, we’ve compiled a full guide on how to celebrate Friendsgiving so that you can focus on what’s important - friends, food and WINE.
It’s Time to Celebrate
Since the holiday landscape does look a little different this year, Friendsgiving can be celebrated in a variety of ways, some traditional, others more creative. Whether you decide to attend or host an event in person or virtually, make the right decision for you, but just make sure you have a bottle of wine ready at the waiting. The Friendsgiving tips we provide can be done both virtually and in-person, so choose what you’re comfortable with and let’s party!
Host a potluck. Potlucks are always a fun way to see which of your friends can cook! Each person invited brings their favorite dish, often leading to a smorgasbord of exciting foods. Indulging is the game here, and we’re all for it.
Virtual tip: Gather on zoom and have all your friends make a smaller, single serving size of their dish and share the recipes!
Throw a virtual party. This is great for the current time as you can invite as many people as you want. Tell your friends to invite their friends and you can even organize a talent show where people can sign up and showcase their chosen skill to the party. The talent show will get better as you drink!
Holiday movie marathon. Grab a group of your closest friends, prep a few dishes, organize some holiday drinks and pull out the cushions for a night at the movies (at home).
Social distancing tip: There are a few fun ways to have a socially distanced movie night. Google Chrome extension Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) allows you to watch synchronized flicks with your friends all around the world, with a group chat feature added to Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO. Alternatively, if you live in an apartment block with a rooftop, you could see if your building can arrange a socially-distanced movie night with your neighbors.
The Wine List
The refreshments that will accompany all the delicious food are just as important as the food itself. We all know how a great bottle of wine can level up a fabulous meal! For your picnic events, try our She Can wines. They are bottle quality with can convenience, perfect for your rooftop movies or patio drinking. If you’re throwing more of a casual shindig, supplying a couple of cases of She Can Spritzers will be the perfect drinks!
For a more formal sit-down dinner, the Black Girl Magic Wines will pair well with your fancy attire & delicious food! The Black Girl Magic Fall Vibes 6-pack is perfect for this occasion and will provide you with an entire wine list in one order. It’s also a great time to taste through the collection with your favorite holiday dishes to find the best pairings!
Now for the best part of the holidays (apart from the great company, of course). The food. If you are hosting then typically you will supply the main meal and have your friends bring all the supporting side dishes. However, if it’s a potluck you can coordinate with all the guests to bring a different dish of their choosing. To mix things up a bit and get into the Autumn spirit, add a pie bar and ask everyone to bring their favorite pie and toppings. Your party will end up with a range of delicious pie options such as pumpkin, pecan, apple and more!
If your Friendsgiving bubble is more of a brunch crowd, try a range of lighter options that can satisfy your sweet tooth such as pumpkin-spiced waffles, homemade cinnamon buns or croissant french toast with soft caramel apples.
The key to making these new traditions into lasting memories? The decor! You may want to pick a theme or even have everyone dress up, when was the last time we wore our high heels? Turn wine corks into place card holders, stop by the store and get festive! Make your space feel like the home you may not be able to go visit this year. Facetime your mom or grandmother and get decorating tips from them, too. Virtual tip: If you’re hosting a virtual event, set a theme for everyone to dress up and put on a fun background. Or even have everyone put their background as one of their favorite photos of the group!
Let the Games Begin!
Once the feasting is over, it’s time for the entertainment to begin. Friendsgiving is the time to reconnect with the people you love, and have fun together in person or virtually. It’s so important to be surrounded by your loved ones but this year that might just be a long Facetime call! Be safe this holiday week but also, treat yourself. You deserve a safe night surrounded by the friends in your bubble and the wines you love. Cheers!
P.S. While celebrating the holiday season with your families and friends, don't forget to cheers for the tiny little happiness in your daily life. Try out our Wine Club specials and share with your special ones.
Still Thriving. Still Excellent.
As we enter this holiday season, we’ve been thinking about the legacy of Madam CJ Walker, who laid the groundwork for so many powerful Black women who have built and are currently building empires today. She led by example - harnessing community strength and providing hope to women who never knew such success was possible. Her legacy runs deeply through the roots of great women entrepreneurs everywhere, providing a foundation for hard working women to dream bigger and reach for goals they were told they could never achieve.
Like any great entrepreneur, Madam CJ Walker saw a need that hadn’t been fulfilled. She developed the “Walker system” to treat the hair loss she was experiencing and in turn, ended up revolutionizing the hair care industry for Black women and eventually becoming the “first Black woman millionaire” in the country. Born to parents who had been slaves and building a business in the Jim Crow era, she represented a beacon of inclusivity and perseverance for women across the nation.
Picture: Villa Lewaro Celebrating Women and Entrepreneurship
At the peak of her success, Madam CJ Walker had the “Villa Lewaro,” her country home, built and designed by Black architect Vertner Tandy. An absolutely breathtaking mansion that fully embodies the sophistication, beauty and success of her legacy. Walker was able to build equal opportunity through economic empowerment in a world that had yet to fully grasp the meaning of equality for women and the Black community. Villa Lewaro was the perfect site for the McBride Sisters holiday collection photoshoot, “The Feast,” in order to continue shining light on Madam CJ Walker’s legacy and reinforcing our mission the last 15 years – to transform the industry, lead by example, cultivate community, one delicious wine at a time.
Take a Virtual Tour of Villa Lewaro here
The Feast is our toast to style and survival, new traditions and a celebration of the powerful women who, at the end of a seriously intense year, are still thriving and still excellent. We wanted to create an event to remember for a year we will never forget, AND we wanted to evoke the spirit of Madam CJ Walker and her magnificent Villa Lewaro estate, to inspire all of us to keep chasing greatness and the biggest of dreams.
With that, we hope you indulge this holiday season and treat yourself to whatever makes you feel powerful and glamorous. Because we made it. In style.
A Socially-Distant Labor Day While Sheltering in Place
Wow. If someone had told us how the first 8 months of 2020 would pan out we probably wouldn’t have believed them. Yet here we are, heading up to Labor Day in the midst of a pandemic and like us, we’re sure most of you are eager to find ways to let loose. Labor Day is about taking a break; it has been a wild year for all of us, and we all deserve some time off. Due to social distancing, we won’t be doing most of the typical things we’re used to doing to celebrate the long weekend, such as throwing massive cookouts with our family and friends or heading to our favorite busy hot spots, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun! There are numerous ways for us to get creative, so gather up your quarantine crew and try out these exciting ideas for Labor Day.
Mix Up a Summery Cocktail
Release your inner mixologist and show off your newfound skills. You’ll be sure to impress your friends with these delicious cocktails that will officially mark the start of cocktail o’clock.
McBride Sisters Sparkling Summer Rosé Margarita
- 10 oz Mezcal
- 1 bottle of McBride Sisters New Zealand Sparkling Brut Rosé
- 5 oz fresh lime juice
- 4 oz Agave syrup
- A handful of sliced strawberries
- A bunch of basil
- Garnish: sliced strawberries, lime wheels and salt
- Combine the mezcal, lime juice and agave syrup in a punch bowl.
- Add the sliced strawberries and basil.
- Sit in the fridge for half an hour to infuse.
- Add cubed ice and stir to mix.
- Top with the sparkling rosé.
- Garnish with lime wheels, strawberries and salt and serve.
Tip: The bottle of mezcal can be infused for 3-5 days prior with the strawberries and basil for a stronger flavor.
McBride Sisters Red Wine Sangria
- 1 bottle of McBride Sisters Central Coast California Red Blend, chilled.
- ½ cup of brandy
- 1 large orange
- 1 cup of sliced mixed seasonal fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines), prepared and cut as desired
- 1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- Ice for serving
- Squeeze the juice from half of the orange into a pitcher. Thinly slice the remaining orange and add the slices to the pitcher.
- Add the prepared seasonal fruit and lemon and remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Taste and add additional brown sugar until the flavors have reached your preferred sweetness.
Note: this sangria can be served immediately or let sit to marinate for a few hours to enhance the flavors.
Serve in wine glasses with a few ice cubes to keep chilled. Enjoy!
Host a Wine Tasting Party with Your Squad
There’s nothing like indulging in some refreshing wines and delicious snacks to cool you off during the summer heat! Tell everyone to bring their own bottle of wine, and you can assign a theme such as favorite Californian wineries, family-run wineries and Black-owned wineries. (Hint: McBride Sisters fit into all three categories). We recommend pairing the elegant McBride Sisters Central Coast California Chardonnay with a buttery or nutty cheese such as Camembert or Tête de Moine. If you’re craving a red, pair the sultry McBride Sisters Central Coast California Red Blend with a sharp or smoked cheese such as a smoked Gouda or sharp Cheddar.
Throw a Virtual Zoom Party (BYO wine)
If a small gathering with a few of your closest friends just isn’t cutting it for a national holiday, round up your extended family, friends and entire Facebook list for a virtual Labor Day celebration. The best thing about a virtual party is that you can connect with your friends and relatives on the other side of the country (or in another continent) without having to leave your own living room. Nothing says party like a cold canned beverage, so grab your favorite She Can flavor (they’re all delicious but with tropical notes of guava, grapefruit and golden kiwi the Island Citrus Dry Rosé really says let’s party), throw on an outfit that slays and get the good times rolling.
Always wanted to check out a paint and sip wine party but never had the chance? Well, here’s your opportunity to host your own. Pick up a canvas, a set of acrylic or watercolor paints and an easel and turn your living room into the artist’s studio you’ve always dreamed of. You can invite a few of your closest friends over to join you (beware: things may get a little messy), or live stream the painting fun over Zoom. Tell your friends to pick up a bottle of their favorite McBride Sisters wine and get ready to unleash your inner Frida Kahlo. To mix things up a bit you can play with different themes or art periods, set a timer for 20-minute intervals and see what you come up with!
Have a Picnic in Your Backyard (or Rooftop, or Living Room)
One of the best things about summer is having outdoor picnics with delicious snacks, great wine and your besties. You don’t have to let the restrictions in your state hold you back from getting outdoors, with a little imagination and creativity you can turn your backyard, rooftop or living room into a magical retreat. Set up hanging fairy lights, large cushions and soft blankets and surround your space with plants for an instant, easy transformation. Our ideal way to kick off a picnic is with a can of She Can Rosé, the perfect pairing for any picnic spread. Turn up your summer playlist, like this 90s summer hip hop playlist on Spotify and slide right into picnic mode.
Get Your Game On
It’s time to dust off the box of Pictionary and gather up your crew. Or is Cards Against Humanity more your style? Whatever your game of choice is, pick it up and get ready for the best games night of your adult life. It’s not a real games night without drinks, so pick up a bottle or two of McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc, throw on some tunes and let the games begin.Have Fun and Stay Safe!
No matter what you decide to do for Labor Day remember to celebrate and have fun while staying safe. This isn’t only referring to COVID-19, but also keeping in mind to wear sunscreen on hot days, stay hydrated if you’re outside and keep social distancing rules in place where possible. Try out our seasonal Wine Club collections and enjoy your Labor Day weekend with your beloved families and friends.
The McBride Sisters: "Meet the Two Sisters Making Wine More Accessible for Black Wine Drinkers" on Thrillist
"AS A BUDDING OENOPHILE, I’M ALWAYS ON THE HUNT FOR NEW and exciting wines to try and add to my growing, albeit small, collection. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, one of the first things that catches my eye when I’m perusing wine bottle selections is the label. This was definitely the case when I did a double take at one of the bottles belonging to the McBride Sisters Collection.
In big, bold letters across the bottle read, “BLACK GIRL MAGIC ROSÉ,” and I knew I had to have it. After further research, I learned there were even more options from the McBride Sisters Collection line and I mentally made room for them on my wine shelf.
A local Black-owned wine shop in Brooklyn called Happy Cork is to thank for my discovery of the McBride Sisters wine collections. It’s virtually impossible to scroll down the shop’s Instagram page without seeing a post about the McBride Sisters’ Black Girl Magic wine.
Sunshine Foss, owner of Happy Cork, says the McBride Sisters collection is huge at the shop now, but Foss says initially she had to search “high and low” for their products.
For Black-owned wine brands, systemic racism makes it difficult for them to have access and equal representation in the industry. Phil Long, president of the Association of African-American Vintners and owner of Longevity Wines, estimates that Black winemakers and brand owners make up less than 1% of all wineries in the US.
And the pandemic hasn’t helped with the number of Black businesses in general that have had to shut their doors permanently.
A report published in June by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that Black-owned businesses were hit the hardest by COVID-19 with April US estimates including a decrease of 1.1 million Black business owners in February 2020 to 640,000 in April 2020.
Once the pandemic hit, Happy Cork was one of the stores deemed essential, so the shop never shut down over the course of the last few months, including during the peak of the fight against racial injustice after the murder of George Floyd.
“There was a huge push for anything Black-owned,” Foss says. “With the traction of all these Black-owned wine brands, McBride Sisters was obviously at the top of that list and we’ve not been able to even keep it in stock.”
Robin McBride, co-founder of the McBride Sisters Collection along with her sister Andréa McBride-John, notes one of the main challenges in starting their business was their initial lack of knowledge of how the industry functioned and the obstacles that accompanied it.
“Obviously, we were women who were not wine professionals, and on top of that, we're Black. So, it became obvious very quickly what the biases were in the industry, which was definitely a challenge,” McBride says. “We had to figure out how to jump over a lot of the gatekeepers and a lot of what the establishment in the industry is and speak directly to the consumer.”
The two sisters started their business nearly 15 years ago, but McBride says during that time, the wine industry was not catered toward women or people of color.
“Over time, we focused our efforts on what we inherently knew to be overlooked consumers and wine-drinkers,” says McBride. “We’d say, ‘Look, we've had success in these places because you guys aren't making products available for these people and you're not talking to them in the right way. We know how to do that. We really need to be distributed here, in this state, in this market, in this way. We need to have visibility.’”
Like Happy Cork in Brooklyn, Alyson Rae Lawson’s 7-Eleven franchise in Arlington, Texas also carries the McBride Sisters Collection -- when it can actually stay on the shelves (in the past, she’s sold over 900 bottles from the Black Girl Magic Collection in two days!).
“It’s been absolutely nuts. I think a lot of it is the Black community supporting the Black community,” Lawson says. “I want to say it’s crazy and I'm exhausted, but I’m not going to complain because it’s amazing to see people who want to support me and also want to support the McBride sisters in the same wave.”
Robin McBride says she stays in contact with Alyson often to make sure her store stays stocked, which has further helped her and her sister’s goal of their products remaining accessible. And what better place to put a product that people can actually get their hands on than a convenience store?
“I actually got in touch with the McBride sisters early on, almost immediately after opening our doors, however they had no distribution in New York,” Foss says of the California-based company. “It took months and so much pestering from my end to finally get them in-house but to have a bottle that actually says ‘Black Girl Magic,’ there’s something golden there.”
But the McBrides sisters’ story of how they met in 1999 after spending their entire lives thinking they were only children is what really drew me in to their magic. After Robin’s mother and their father divorced, Robin and her mother moved to Monterey, California and lost contact with him, and he later remarried to Andréa’s mother in Los Angeles.
“[My mother] didn't have any more children either, and she didn't remarry, so I grew up with just me and my mom,” McBride says. “Not knowing our father, we had no way to know of course that he had remarried back in Los Angeles, that my sister was born nine years later and her mom was originally from New Zealand.”
Andrea’s mother and their father eventually divorced as well, and Andrea’s mother became terminally ill and took Andrea with her back to New Zealand to be closer to her family. After she died, their father fell ill several years later and relied on family members to connect the two sisters after he passed. And that connection came to fruition three years later and the origins of the wine collection that exists today began to form.
McBride says the idea behind their business was based on where they grew up, and the grape-growing and wine-making culture that exists in Monterey and New Zealand. Today, both sisters are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the McBride Sisters Collection is headquartered.
“When we first started our business, we didn't know how to make wine, we didn't own a winery, we didn't own any vineyards, and we didn't have any money to buy a winery,” McBride says. “So when we started, we started with what was familiar. At the time, what was familiar was the family-owned small wineries where Andrea grew up in New Zealand, so we traveled there and we talked to them about bringing wine into the States and into California.”
Robin and Andrea then visited wine regions outside of California and New Zealand, and expanded to the Old World -- which includes France, Spain, and Italy -- to understand the history and heritage behind what is notably regarded as the place where the best wine comes from.
McBride described their approach to wine as “Old World elegance with New World finesse,” referencing not only the Old World wine-making practices, but also acknowledging the grape expressions of the New World.
The original McBride Sisters Collection pays homage to both New Zealand and California where each of the sisters grew up. It includes a red blend and Chardonnay from California and Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling brut rosé from the central coast of California.
The McBride sisters are using their influence and resources to uplift others not only through the stores their wines are available in, but also in the creativity of the products themselves. The SHE CAN Canned Wine includes canned versions of their bottled rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, and their new canned wine spritzers that come in coastal berry and island citrus flavors.
“Our focus is on women's empowerment. We launched the first two products, rosé from California and Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and we dedicated each of those to our mothers,” McBride says. “If you look in the design on the can, which has a line down one side, it has all the fruits, flowers and different aromas that are in the wine. Next to the line, each of our mother's initials are in the design because they're our inspiration and our strength.”
The canned wines were also launched with the SHE CAN Professional Development Fund, which this year, has expanded to focus on the theme, “SHE CAN Thrive,” which will provide COVID relief funds specifically for Black women-owned businesses.
As far as what McBride and her sister want to see change within the wine industry, representation is at the top of the list and challenging distributors and retailers to do better at making room for Black- and women- owned brands is how they’re doing their part.
“We want to see the wine industry really reflect its consumers,” McBride says. “You look at movements like the 15 Percent Pledge and we really view it the same way. The industry has been pretty blind to accept reality. Not too many years ago, it was brand new news within the industry that women bought wine.”
Despite the wine industry being a majorly male-dominated industry, the McBride sisters’ goal is to change the face of wine for the industry, consumers, and for representation of Black women overall.
“We feel we have a voice and we feel that our voice represents the will of our customers, so I'm not going to back down anytime soon,” McBride says. “We're looking for diversity in terms of what the consumer wants despite what the industry has been for a long time.”
We represent not only our brand but also Black-and women-owned brands within the wine industry. We take every decision carefully and seriously. With multiple back and forth discussions, we proudly introduced our wine selections. Visit Wine Club specials and stock up more. Cheers!"
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE. Kristen Adaway is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @kristenadaway.