When the McBride sisters, Robin and Andréa, first came up with the idea for Black Girl Magic Wines in 2018, it was at a time when actual Black girl magic was in full effect. In addition to wanting to honor the women in their family, they also wanted to tribute Black women, from Mayor LaToya Cantrell in New Orleans to countless other queens in different areas, who were making their mark that year and always in all ways. They also wanted to do it on the biggest stage for Black women — ESSENCE Festival.
“There were a ton of amazing milestones and accomplishments happening across all different sectors from entertainment, music, business, politics, academia, all over the board,” Andréa tells ESSENCE. “And when Robin and I were talking about how we wanted to show up at ESSENCE, we were thinking, What could we do to commemorate what is really turning into an amazing year for our community, and in particular Black woman?“
The end result was the Black Girl Magic Wine label. They brought it to New Orleans for ESSENCE Fest 2018, showcasing it at the event’s opening party. The reaction Black women had to seeing the name of the brand on the standout labels and to tasting the wines was overwhelmingly positive. Recalling that time, they say that they were blown away by the response, but not shocked.
“The wine industry has never served Black women wine drinkers, or respected their palette,” Andréa says. “So we knew that there was a massive opportunity to be able to serve her.”
“I think when we did launch at ESSENCE Festival with the one wine, with the Riesling, we knew that people were going to love the wine and it would be well received,” Robin adds. “I think maybe the one thing we weren’t quite prepared for was the immediate volume in demand, but we were very happy and honored with how many people did love them and wanted more.”
And more is what fans of the brand have received over the years and continue to receive. Much more. Since that launch, the McBride sisters have brought many more flavors and blends to their ever-growing base of supporters. They’ve also branched out to do more than just selling amazing wines, creating events, clubs and opportunities to highlight Black culture, changemakers, and to center wine in all of it. In honor of Black Girl Magic Day, which is Feb. 15th, they have an event with sommelier and The Hue Society founder Tahiirah Habibi. It’s a virtual wine tasting free to the public. Guests are welcome to bring along a bottle of some of the wines that will be sipped on, including the California Sparkling Brut, the California Riesling 2020, California Merlot 2018 and more.
“It’s going to be a joyful experience,” Robin says. “A celebration of Black Girl Magic. And we all have a great time when we’re together. Andréa and I and Tahiirah. We expect to have lots of folks join us while we drink really good wine and have a good time.”
In addition to this, they have a Dine and Diaspora program, partnering with talented Black chefs, having a conversation with them while pairing their dishes with one of the popular Black Girl Magic Wines to trace history through food and drinks. They also have their book club with Simon & Schuster, launched in 2021 but back in the new year. The first two selections for 2022 are Black Joy by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts and Speak by Tunde Oyenein. Future book club selections will offer opportunities for the sisters to interview the authors and discuss the books over wine. There’s also new Reserve Wines on the way from California and New Zealand, where the sisters have roots. And for International Women’s Day in March, the McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund will announce the 2022 initiatives for the professional development fund.
What started with just wine has expanded greatly in just a few years — a true example of Black girl magic from Robin and Andréa. They hope the path they’ve been able to pave, and the SHE CAN fund, will make a way for more Black women winemakers to sprinkle their magic within a less than diverse industry. This will allow for the Black woman wine drinker to be fully catered to.
“The wine industry and also, I think the spirits industry, are both sectors that could really benefit from innovation of thought. Innovation of people, innovation of background, innovation of cultures,” Andréa says. “Everybody’s going to bring a different approach to something based on their background and their experience. So we think the future is bright for the wine industry if it can bring in more people of color, more women into these spaces and rooms and places where decisions get made from a macro standpoint. Move the industry forward.”