Leading Through the Vines: Meet Wine Power Brokers Robin and Andréa McBride

Leading Through the Vines: Meet Wine Power Brokers Robin and Andréa McBride

Andréa and Robin McBride aren’t your average passion-inspired entrepreneurs. With no knowledge of each other for nearly half of their lives and raised on opposite ends of the globe—a distance of 7,000 miles to be exact—these sisters independently fostered a unique appreciation for the craft of wine making.

Andréa, who was raised in Marlborough, New Zealand, and Robin, who was raised in Monterey, Calif., have over 10 years of experience in the wine industry and have been involved in every facet including grape growing, wine making, importation, distribution, sales and marketing. Their McBride Sisters wines are super-premium, yet an affordable luxury that “new world region lovers” readily embrace. Their story, which is proof of the true bond that can form with conversation and a bottle of wine has inspired entrepreneurs the world over. It also reminds us of the often denied prospect that nothing is impossible. Touché.

Blackenterprise.com caught up with these wine power brokers to discuss how their imagination and creativity paved the way for leadership and enormous success in the wine industry.

BlackEnterprise.com: You spent much of your childhood apart. How did you discover one another?

McBride Sisters: We’re nine years apart and we didn’t grow up knowing each other. We have the same father and different mothers, who raised us. Before our dad passed he asked his family to find and connect us both. That happened in 1999.

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Explain how imagination has played such a critical role in your success.

Our imagination is what we rely on to accomplish what others think is impossible. We both come from humble beginnings and so the idea of starting and eventually owing a wine company of course seemed farfetched. But having both grown up exposed to exceptional new world wine regions, with a healthy appreciation for the wine produced there, it was a natural progression. We began with an ideal wine in mind and kept moving forward. We decided early on never to give up. We firmly believe that nothing is impossible. And, our process lends itself to this idea entirely: We create to celebrate the journey because everything is possible.

Having an unwavering belief in what’s possible is critical for every entrepreneur. The fact that you are both involved in every aspect of wine making from growing grapes to distribution is proof of this. How did you make this progression?

We had no resources to start, so we had to be creative. We started by importing from a few boutique wines from New Zealand. Then we started growing grapes, harvesting and eventually making wine. Finally we started making our own wine. However, as a Négociant we’re both broker and owner, so we’re very involved in every facet.

How do you typically balance your myriad of responsibilities?

We have help. There’s a community of people involved in the process. But, a snapshot of a typical week looks like this: Early this week we were out at the Paso Robles vineyards. We tasted our 2014 vintage, which will launch in about 4-5 months. Then we attended a sustainability conference. Today, we are out in the market selling our wines to our fine dining accounts. We stay busy. Like most others wine companies, we have to plan for the holidays, promotions and PR, too.

Read more about their family business on the next page …