‘She Pivots’: Robin McBride on Bringing 'Black Girl Magic' to The Male-Dominated Wine Industry

The cofounder of The McBride Sisters explains how facing discrimination in Napa Valley inspired her to build the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States.

Robin McBride, cofounder of the McBride Sisters wine collection
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to “She Pivots,” the podcast in partnership with Marie Claire about women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. 

Robin McBride was 25 years old when she found out she had a sister. She was living in Atlanta and less than 24 hours after receiving that life-changing letter, she was on a plane to New York City to meet Andrea, her long lost half-sister who was living in New Zealand. 

By 2005, Robin moved to California to be closer to Andrea. The sisters would often meet halfway at various vineyards to catch up and make up for lost time. They were motivated to start a business after facing discrimination as customers at some wineries. 

“We weren't always super welcome in a lot of places, or at least we didn't feel welcome,” McBride says.

Rose wine made by the McBride Sisters

(Image credit: McBride Sisters)

Their success did not come overnight, in fact, Robin had to leave her corporate career to pursue her dreams of breaking into the wine industry. She had worked at a global scientific instrumentation company where she managed international sales. But when Robin moved her family to California, the sisters dove into their business goals head first, selling wine by the case. “The next iteration of our business was built off of whatever cases we just sold. Period. That's all there was,” Robin says. 

Now, McBride Sisters Wine is a global brand. As of this year, the company is the largest Black-owned wine business in the country, generating more than $5 million in revenue as of 2020. 

Although the sisters have thrived in an industry dominated by men, Robin has never lost sight of what matters most. Despite not having investors themselves, the sisters pledged to address the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on Black women entrepreneurs through their SHE CAN fund. 

As a mom of three—including twin sons—Robin knows that finding ways to balance the personal with the professional is imperative to success. 

“We can't just drop our lives and people in it to start and run a business. We have to find really creative ways to do it all or as much of it as we can. And that calls for us to pivot a lot,” says Robin

Robin got creative indeed. Here, she walks us through the remarkable journey that led her to start an award-winning wine business with her half-sister. Listen to Robin’s episode below. 

Emily Tisch Sussman
Contributing Editor

Emily Tisch Sussman is the Founder and Host of “She Pivots,” the podcast in partnership with Marie Claire about women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. She is a contributing editor to Maire Claire and the guest host of the Marie Claire Instagram Live series “Getting Down to Business.”