Pink shares ‘dirty little secret’ with Olly Smith

Popstar Pink has revealed that she owns a 10 hectare vineyard in California and has been quietly making her own wines for the past four years, getting her hands dirty and pruning for “days” while listening to Beck.

Pink with Olly Smith

Sitting down with UK wine writer Olly Smith for the first episode of the “A Glass With…” podcast, his latest project with wine writer, educator and consultant Richard Hemming MW, Pink revealed that she bought an 18 acre vineyard in Los Olivos, north of Santa Barbara, four years ago.

Revealing the project Pink, real name Alecia Beth Moore Hart, said: “We just finished it. It’s been a work in progress for the last four years. It’s my dirty little secret, no one knows that I’m doing this. I got off tour four years ago and flew home from Australia. I drove straight here and started making wine in my garage. I took online courses with the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust). I would get off stage and I would be like ‘oh I have a test’. I loved it.”

Having set up the vineyard Pink revealed that the first thing she wanted to do was prune: “I got my new Beck album and my earphones and I went out and spent days pruning. It’s my favourite thing to do. It’s therapy. When else do you get eight hours to work with nature?”

Pink’s vineyard is organic and now spreads across 25 acres (10 hectares) and is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Grenache Blanc, although Pink is taking out the Malbec as it hasn’t “blown her away”.

“We have worked with it for three years and it’s not blowing me away, whereas the Cabernet Franc right next to it is blowing me away,” she said. “So we are replanting. We took out a block of Cab Sav that wasn’t doing well because it was getting its ass kicked by the wind. I’m super into experiments. We replanted half the block and grafted half the block to Sauvignon Blanc. We have been working with that for one year and it’s going really well. It was the right thing to do.”

During the podcast Pink shared a bottle of Pontet-Canet 2010 with Smith, which she chose as her favourite bottle, joking that if she were Mariah Carey she would “take a bath in it”.

“I am in love with this wine,” said Pink. “I went there many years ago with my husband. I had a private show in Antibes and I thought it would be really romantic to get in a car and drive to Bordeaux. It wasn’t. I drove for 10 hours in the rain to get there and it was just highways. But Alfred took us around and we saw the vineyard and everyone doing everything by hand and I just fell in love. They are biodynamic which was a huge interest of mine. I understand why everyone that makes wine wants to get their story out because had I not been there and met this beautiful man I would not have been as attached to this wine as I am.”

Recounting her experience of the wine industry, Pink said she had been touched by how welcoming the trade had been to her, naming Peter Gago, chief winemaker of Penfolds, and the late Charly Foucault, co-owner of the renowned French winery Clos Rougeard in Saumur, in particular.

“In my business you can walk into a studio and it’s a crap shoot as to whether someone is going to be nice, or tell you how they make a song,” said Pink. “What I have found in wine is that everyone is so giving and open and lovely and it’s not secretive. I don’t want to sound like a name dropper but Cheval Blanc, they are the most loving, giving – there’s no vibe. They are like ‘this is what we are doing’. I guess its because I’m Californian and they don’t feel threatened.”

Pink also revealed that she goes on an educational wine trip to France each year, recalling a “magical experience” with Foucault, who died in 2015.

“I was told in 15 mins you will either be leaving or you will be staying for hours. We ended up spending hours with him in his wine caves and being cooked for spending with his family in the kitchen with his wife and granddaughter playing guitar and singing songs about harvest and chain smoking in the garden. And he leaned over and said ‘you know you’re family now’ and I wanted to cry. I said why? And he said ‘I can tell you have dirt underneath your fingernails’. He was just the most magical human being.”

Pink currently keeps everything she produces for herself, but said that there would likely be a plan in the future to sell the wines on a more commercial basis, but that she did not know when or what that would be.

“I’m stoked. I’m a dummy. I’m an infant but it’s going really well. It’s really fun. It’s a lot of work but it’s really beautiful. I have an all female team, meaning I have one female besides myself, which is awesome. I love all the possibilities.”

Produced by Hemming and hosted by Smith, the ‘A Glass With…’ podcast sees Smith chat to celebrity guests, talk about their love of wine and share their favourite bottle. Future celebrities set to star in the series include England cricketer Stuart Broad, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, comedian Stephen K Amos, voice of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Dave Lamb, and actor and winemaker Sam Neill.

The podcast will be available via iTunes, Overcast, Soundcloud and other podcast platforms and apps, with each episode lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. Episodes will be released every Thursday between 23 March and 27 April, with a new series planned for later in the year. You can listen to episode one here.

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