Wine Talk: Pink Jams to Cab Franc (Wine Spectator)

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In today’s wine world, some winemakers are considered rock stars by their fans. But {only a few|just a few|only some} winemakers really are rock stars.

Better known as P! nk, Alecia Moore is one of the music industry’s most recognized faces. A three-time Grammy winner, {she has|she gets|this wounderful woman has} sold over 90 million records since her solo debut in 2000. {She is|She actually is|The girl with} currently performing on her “Beautiful Trauma” world tour. Married to professional motocross racer Carey Hart, Moore, 39, is also a mother of two. And she’s a vintner.

{But rather|But instead} than trade on a seemingly made-in-the-shade coupling of her stage name and the soaring popularity of rosé to produce a mass-market wine, Moore chose a more hands-on, artisanal approach {for her|on her|on her behalf} passion project.

In 2013, Moore purchased a 250-acre estate north of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara County. It came with 18 acres of organically farmed vines, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon {along with|together with|in addition to} Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot {and others|as well as others|while others}; Moore planted an additional 7 acres to bring Syrah and Sé millon into the mix. The first release of her Two Wolves label totaled just 85 cases of individual Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot bottlings from the 2015 vintage; the rest of the fruit is being sold off for now. Moore plans to grow the project slowly to a goal of 2, 000 cases per year, with star winemaker Helen Keplinger helping guide the blends.

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth caught up {with the|using the|with all the} megastar recently to talk about what brought her to wine, her old-school vigneron inspirations and the mad-scientist experiments she’s working on now.

Courtesy of Two Wolves Wine

Alecia Moore’s first releases were a trio of Santa Barbara County varietal reds from the 2015 vintage: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.

Wine Spectator: This project has been {a few years|a couple of years|a several years} in the making. Tell me {about how|about how exactly|about how precisely} you found the vineyard.
Alecia Moore: We had some friends in the area and often rode motorcycles around there. We {fell in love|became adoringly obsessed} with the land. We were getting tired of the city, and with the kids, it just seemed like the right move.

WS: But a vineyard is {whole new|totally new} kind of headache. You need to {really be|be} into wine for that. How did you get the bug?
AM: It’s funny, because I grew up with a mom who drank Manischewitz {on the|around the|within the} holidays, so I thought wine was punishment [ laughs ]. When I was young and broke and trying to sing {for a|for any|to get a} living in Venice Beach, I fell in with a boys’ club that wore suits {and had|together} wine budgets, and I drank with them. That’s when I first started tasting real wine.

Then one day, {I remember|I recall}, I was in a Hilton {in Australia|nationwide} and had a Châ teauneuf-du-Pape and said, “Wow, {this is|this really is|this is certainly} fucking delicious. ” Suddenly it became more interesting, and I just went down the rabbit hole. I have three obsessions: my children, music and now wine.

WS: {And what|And exactly what} have you learned since {going down|heading down|still dropping} the wine rabbit hole?
AM: Wine taught me to wake up and pay attention to life. The other side of my life {is about|is all about|is around} escapism. Wine taught me to get engaged. Like, why have I never {paid attention to|taken notice of} all the different kinds of mushrooms {out there|available|on the market}, or the weather, or the moon? And you extend that into wine, and it’s the barrels and the pruning— all these details. You have to pay attention.

WS: So as you got into drinking wine, you thought about winemaking?
AM: I had played around with the idea of living the life {of a|of the|of any} winery owner for a long time. {One day|1 day|Some day} after getting home off a tour eight or nine years ago, I decided {to take|to consider|for taking} some WSET classes. {Then I|I quickly|I then} went to the UCLA [Wine Education] Extension {and eventually|and finally|and in the end} U. C., Davis, taking night classes along the way. I’m a high-school dropout {and had|together} never really been a real student before. But again, wine taught me how to pay attention.

WS: And {from there|following that|after that}, any practical experience?
AM: Absolutely. Look, I can read books all day long. But unless {I actually do|I really do|We do} it, I don’t understand it. So I went to France {once a year|every year|annually} for a few years and worked with {a different|another|an alternative} winemaker and different grape type each time. Charly Foucault at Clos Rougeard was {one of them|one of these|one}, because Cabernet Franc is my jam. And I spent time in Châ teauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas and Bordeaux.

WS: And then {you came|you viewed|you visited} home and essentially {decided to|chose to|made a decision to} become a winemaker at your own property. How was that?
AM: When we took over the place, {the previous|the prior} owners had made wine from it just because the vineyard was there. But the vines weren’t tended the way they {could have been|might have been}, and the soils weren’t understood. So I just went to town on all of it.

WS: With some help though, right? Now you’re {on a|on the|over a} 14-month-long tour, which seems pretty long. How do you get time to manage things?
AM: Fourteen months is short. They used to be 27 months, but I cut back {when I|once i|after i} became a mom [ laughs ]. But I do {make sure to|be sure to|ensure that you} take off [from touring] on holidays and during harvest. And the wine community around here has been so great. {You ask|Anyone asks} for help and they {show up|appear|turn up} at your door. They invite you over to taste. Chad Melville has been a huge help and he introduced me to [winemaker] Alison Thompson, who does the day-to-day.

WS: {You have a|There is a|You do have a} reputation for being very hands-on— you write your own songs, {for example|such as|by way of example}. So how do you handle something as detailed as a vineyard and winemaking when you’re not home all the time?
AM: Well, Alison is U. C., Davis, so she teaches me the laws and then I break them [ laughs ]. But I also make sure I {take time|take some time|devote some time} off on holidays {and during|and through} harvest. This tour wraps up in August and then I’m home into the fall.

WS: Any other influences in terms of wine, other than Foucault and those you worked with?
AM: Being pro-female, Lalou Bize-Leroy is a total badass {to me|in my experience|in my opinion}. When it comes to influences, I am a purist and I respect classics and tradition. But {I also|Also i|I additionally} like to experiment. So {while I|when i} learned about Cabernet Franc from Charly, I also made a carbonic Graciano and skin-fermented Sé millon. And that’s what so much fun about wine.

WS: The name, Two Wolves…?
AM: A Cherokee parable about how everyone has two wolves living inside them, in opposition.

WS: So many wineries are a family business. How do you see Two Wolves in the future?
AM: I’m just getting started. I’d {love to|like to|want to} give something to my kids to tend. Charly was an eighth-generation winemaker, {and that’s|which is|and that is} amazing to me. Two Wolves is a family thing, too, but in a different way. For {right now|right this moment|at this time}, my husband is the janitor— he cleans up after me at the end of the day [ laughs ]. And my kids just eat the grapes. We all love it.