McBride Sisters Create Wine for the New World

A passion for protecting the environment and a desire to make wine without elitism has guided the McBride sisters, Robin and Andréa, on their journey to becoming leaders in the sustainable wine movement. Approachable, yet classy, the McBrides first made their mark in New Zealand and have now crossed the Pacific to start a California label.

Family Love and Eco.Love 

Readers may remember the McBrides from the 2011 story in Cuisine Noir. Although it was only a few years ago, the McBride sisters actually made some firsts for the wine industry.  “We were the first African-American sisters to launch their own wine company,” Andréa says.  “And eco.love was made in the world’s first ‘carboNZero winery.’”  Two pretty impressive feats that not only show a determination to make wine, but also a strong desire to respect the environment.  Andréa adds, “eco.love is about making beautiful wines from the land where I grew up and honoring the environment while doing so.”

A key point is “where I grew up,” because although the sisters are extremely close now, they did not grow up together.  Robin states, “Both of us grew up in wine regions, unaware of each other until later in life. Once we were connected and had a chance to learn about where we’d both grown up, it seemed like destiny.”  As Robin speaks, it is clear that wine was not just a fashionable venture for them, it was in their background. “Andréa spent part of her time in New Zealand with an uncle who owned vineyards and sold wine grapes.  She had firsthand experience in New Zealand’s burgeoning wine industry.  I grew up in central California with vineyards just a stone’s throw from the coastal town of Monterey.  An appreciation for the agriculture and delicious wines found all around [me] was unavoidable.”

A desire to make wine does not always initially translate into owning a wine label and breaking into the wine industry can seem like a rich person’s game.  The McBrides realized that there was another way to get started on their dream. Robin expands, “We wanted to break into the wine industry, but without a serious capital investment we decided to start by importing small batches of premium New Zealand wines.”  That gave them the experience that would culminate in their first wine label, eco.love.

Finding California in Truvée

eco.love was a success and with New Zealand being represented, it was time to move on to California.  It was not surprising that the two looked towards the Central Coast.  “Truvée is part of our evolution as women in wine.  The next stage for us if you will.  eco.love was from [my] backyard in New Zealand and now Truvée is from Robin’s home, the Central Coast of California,” says Andréa.

Their experience with eco.love and their success as negociants (a term not always used in the United States but means a winemaker who makes wine with grapes purchased from sources other than their own vineyards) laid a solid foundation on which to build Truvée.  Andréa says, “We really wanted to expand our business to include wines from California.  As a negociant, we have the flexibility that other wineries may not have and three years ago (or so) we started having real conversations with some wine companies that had reached out to us.”  It seemed that with eco.love, the sister’s talents and passions were now known in the California wine industry.  Andréa continues, “Ultimately, we found the perfect partner in Diageo Chateau and Estates, part of the international company Diageo [makers of Johnny Walker, Ciroc, etc.].”  Andréa’s excitement over their vineyard associations in California is obvious, “Diageo has thousands of acres of gorgeous Central Coast vineyards, including the historic and highly acclaimed Chalone Vineyard.  For us, it’s a dream come true and this is how our vision came to life.”

When asked if Truvée continues the McBrides’ dedication to the environment, Andréa says, “Absolutely. Care and concern for the environment is part of who we are, so it will always be a part of anything we do.” As with eco.love and the commitment to make wine in the first carboNZero winery, it is not just about a name and a pretty label, the environmental concern is truly authentic. “Truvée wines are made with 100 sustainable vineyards around the Central Coast.  It goes back to our upbringings in places that were at the forefront of environmental care, long before it was mainstream or chic.”

Truvée Wines to Please Your Palates

The McBrides gave Cuisine Noir an inside look at Truvée, which is currently distributed around the country, noting that there is a wine to please both red and white drinkers. Andréa says, “We are launching Truvée with a grenache-based red blend consisting of syrah from Chalone, a little merlot from Monterey and some zin from Paso Robles. We also have a fresh and lightly oaked chardonnay with fruit from Enda Valley, Chalone and Monterey.”

With stand-out locations from which to source grapes, the McBrides should expect very favorable reactions from wine lovers. But Central Coast wines are relatively common and Robin explains what makes Truvée unique. The answer comes from their closeness with the environment.  “We chose to honor the region where the grapes are grown while making a style of wine that can be enjoyed for its complexities by the more savvy wine drinker, [and also by] newer wine lovers for its aromatics and lush flavors.”

Wanting to try Truvée? You can find the wines on select restaurant menus and at various retail locations across the United States.

With their wines coming from both sides of the Pacific in dynamic winemaking locations of the Pacific Rim, Andréa says, “It’s wine for the New World.”

For more information about Truvée as well as where to purchase, visit the website at www.truveewines.com.

Photo credit: Truvée Wines

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Dr. Greg Shaw is an assistant professor with the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration at California State University, Sacramento, and the co-author of a book chapter, Tourism in A Bottle: The California Winescape.