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The McBride Sisters and Eco.Love Wines: Saving the Planet One Sip at a Time

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eco.love Vineyard in New Zealand
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A satisfying note of sweetness lingers when two sisters tell a story of destiny. It begins with the little girls growing up separated by the Pacific Ocean, one in New Zealand and the other in California. Each thought she was an only child until their biological father revealed a life changing link.

"We hadn't had a lot of contact with our father. Prior to him passing away, he reached out to me and said it is really important that you know you have a sister, and you meet your sister," says Andrea McBride, Founder and CEO of eco.love Wines.

Other relatives nurtured the connection until Andrea and her sister, Robin, met for the first time in 1999. Andrea was almost 17 and Robin 26. The seeds of a close friendship planted that day in New York later blossomed into a business partnership.

"We probably wouldn't have independently started eco.love or made it what it is now. I don't think there is any way it would have been created without both of us," says Robin McBride, Founder and co-CEO of the company.

The company the McBride sisters launched in November of 2010 produces wines from the world's first winery certified for zero carbon emissions. The carbonNZero Cert™ on eco.love wine bottles represents a serious commitment to the use of sustainable practices throughout the wine production process.

A partnership with New Zealand Wine Company Limited gives the sisters an opportunity to make wines from grapes grown without chemical fertilizers. The winery also employs farming practices that protect the environment as well as production methods that save energy.

The McBrides distribute their wines in bottles primarily made of recycled glass. There are no paper labels. Instead, a silk screen process applies the decorative logo design and brand information in organic inks. In addition, the sisters buy carbon credits to offset any emissions produced by the production and distribution of their wines.

"We felt like there was an opportunity to create a brand that was really built from a foundation of what we believe, which is sustainability," says Andrea.

Andrea's childhood in the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand taught her the importance of preserving the pristine beauty of nature. Robin grew up along the coast in Monterey where she developed an interest in protecting the planet and wildlife.

Their chance to build a wine company came after Andrea moved to California to attend USC in 2001. Over the years, she and Robin explored their mutual passion for wineries, sustainable grape growers and enjoying life.

 "Andrea was always out in the vineyard. I was always at the beach and in the forest. There was always a lot of attention to the environment, and I think that is why it is engrained in both of us," Robin adds.

Their ideas for eco.love Wines evolved into a nontraditional concept that embraces more than sustainability. The sisters offer consumers eco-friendly products through marketing concepts that celebrate the experience of buying and sharing wines. There is no hint of snobbery in the McBride's approach to appreciating the grape.

Andrea sees it as breaking down barriers and saying to the wine expert or novice, "Hey look, here is some good wine that goes with a bunch of cuisines. We picked those varietals based on the face we want them to go with any cuisine in the world. It is just about people and having a good time."

One of the hardest aspects of their business, according to Robin, is "getting people to understand that you can have success and still be out of the norm, out of the old, stale wine industry. You can love what you do, show you love what you do and make a really fantastic wine."

Robin loves the Riesling best out of the three varietals eco.love Wines produces. She was instrumental in developing the flavor profile for the Riesling while Andrea contributed to the flavor of the Sauvignon Blanc. They collaborated on the Pinot Noir. The wines are sold online and last year the sisters worked on expanding distribution to stores in every state.


While the eco.love Wines are attracting attention, so is the company's use of new technology and social media. The McBrides employ both to get people involved in giving back to the community and interested in their brand.

Customers who have a QR reader on their smartphones can scan the QR codes on the necks of eco.love wine bottles. That takes them to a Share the Love app they can download from the iPhone app store.

The app invites people to perform good deeds and post descriptions to share with friends. Information about eco.love's varietals and food pairing videos can be accessed through the iPhone app. The Share the Love application is also available on Facebook.

The company accomplishes two goals with its charitable outreach efforts such as Light Up the Night with Mark Rufallo, a June fundraiser co-hosted by the Oscar-nominated actor and director. The wine tasting events  raise money for worthy causes and introduce re potential customers to eco.love Wines.


The McBrides acknowledge that their wine business is demanding work. But they also have "a blast" meeting people at retail sites across the U.S. and traveling to New Zealand several times a year to oversee the winemaking. Andrea cannot imagine a life without Robin now that they spend countless hours together making a success of their shared dream.

 "Anytime we are together, we manage to make it fun. Even in tough times, we find a way to laugh at ourselves. I guess we are really still catching up for lost time," says Andrea."

As the sisters look toward the future, they are optimistic about gaining new fans for their wines and eco-friendly approach to operating a business.

"I think our hope is to be an example. It's not something you have to shove down people's throats. But you can take care of the land, and think about transportation and packaging. It's very possible, and it can be fun," says Robin.

Want to know more about the McBride sisters and eco.love Wines? The company's website features engaging videos, wine-pairing recipes and more.


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