Alecia Moore’s earliest memories of wine growing up in Doylestown are not particularly pleasant.
“I think every 10-year-old at Hanukkah hates wine, so to be fair, it’s an age thing, probably,” the pop music superstar known worldwide as Pink said with a laugh during a one-on-one video interview from her home in Santa Barbara County, California, earlier this year. “I mean, we didn’t grow up with money and my mom drank terrible wine and I felt like it was a punishment.
“But as I was traveling and going around the world, my manager, he’s Australian, I visited a bunch of wineries there with him. (He) had really good taste and a really nice budget, and I started drinking Châteauneuf-du-Pape and I fell in love. That was the a-ha wine for me, the first one. And then it sort of just became a rabbit hole for me.”
She hasn’t crawled out since.
But Moore, 39, has become far more than just a wine connoisseur. She’s also a serious winemaker, a burning passion five years in the making that, until recently, was unknown to all but her closest confidants.
She couldn’t keep the secret forever, however. And finally this fall, five years after she and husband Carey Hart bought a 25-acre vineyard in Santa Barbara County, she made her wines available to the public — a landmark accomplishment that lasted all of about 24 hours.
Moore’s brand, named Two Wolves after a Cherokee parable about the wars that rage within all of us, officially launched online on Nov. 26, and by Nov. 27, all 114 cases were sold out. The wines included a cabernet franc, a cabernet sauvignon and a petit verdot.
The next online-only release is scheduled for April, with plans to start selling wholesale next fall.
(The initial batch was only available to be purchased in nine states and Washington, D.C., including Pennsylvania, but not New Jersey; Two Wolves hopes to expand its availability in the spring).
“Having the wine sell out so quickly on our first day, and our first launch, was nerve-racking and exciting to see,” Moore said via her publicist. “Now it’s all about how and when people drink them and how they feel about them. That part is really exciting for us.”
She was equally excited to talk about the wine during my interview with her back in June, happy to share news of its forthcoming release with readers in the Philadelphia area and specifically her hometown of Doylestown, where she delivered The Intelligencer newspaper as a young teen and where her parents, Judith and James, still live. Even if she had mixed emotions about spoiling her secret.
“I want this to be sustainable. If my children (Willow and Jameson) decided to do this one day, which would be magical, I want it to be small enough that it’s fun and manageable, but it also has to be sustainable, right?” Moore said. “I can’t tour for the rest of my life to help my kids make wine. So at some point, we were going to have to put it out.
“But I have to tell you, it has been a wonderful five-year secret for me. I haven’t had a secret in a really long time, and it has been really fun getting a chance to learn a new craft on my own.”
The learning has been constant, from taking online courses while on tour, to enrolling in winemaking classes at UCLA, to discovering she actually enjoyed chemistry after never taking that subject as a student at Central Bucks West.
“I dropped out of high school to pursue my career in music, and it’s the first time I felt like a student again,” Moore said, “and I’m a really good student, it turns out.”
Her education included pilgrimages to winemaking regions around the globe and eventually landed her at work in her own vineyard, where she, Hart and an expert assistant, along with occasional “help” from now 7-year-old Willow (“give her a hose and a cluster of grapes and she seems pretty happy”) have spent much of their time pruning vines, picking grapes and handling other down-and-dirty, back-to-nature chores.
The amount of studying and work she’s taken on is evidence that this is not a case of a celebrity trying to cash in on a name to sell a product. This is Alecia Moore’s passion project, not Pink’s. There’s a reason the name Pink does not appear anywhere on the Two Wolves website, and she’s not even making a pink wine (which would have been a marketer’s dream).
Asked if there was a perfect glass of wine for fans to drink before a Pink concert, Moore answered: “I don’t know, I would say have a beer. One really has nothing to do with the other.”
She acknowledged, however, there are similarities between her recording and winemaking careers, such as the nerves that come before an impending release.
“Just like when I put out a new record I get really nervous because I care so deeply and it’s been my baby. You know, it’s a part of me, and this is as well,” Moore said. “But also, I’ve kind of let a lot of that go because this is my love, and I think I’m really proud of what we’re making and what we’re doing, and I think people that want to love it are going to love it.”
As a recording artist, Pink was an almost immediate success. Her debut album, “Can’t Take Me Home,” was certified platinum eight months after its April 2000 release and produced two Top 10 singles. She has since sold more than 16 million albums in the U.S. and been nominated for 20 Grammys (winning three), including a nod for best pop vocal album for 2017’s “Beautiful Trauma” at the upcoming 61st Grammy Awards Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.
As a winemaker, Moore’s earliest endeavors weren’t nearly as auspicious.
“I tried in my closet about 15 years ago in a carboy, and basically made poison,” she said, laughing.
Fortunately, nobody died from her concoction … and neither did her dream.
“My husband and I always knew we wanted to move out of the city and we wanted to live on a vineyard, the whole fantasy. I’m sure everybody who’s ever visited a vineyard and had a tasting wants that,” Moore said. “But when our daughter was 3 and we came off this last tour, we decided to actually do it.
“We’d been talking about it for so long, and so we moved and we live on an organic vineyard, and I started making wine in my garage and I started really getting into the farming of it. I really didn’t know that I would even enjoy the farming aspect, but a good pair of shears and a good album and a beer, and 17 rows later, you feel pretty proud of yourself.”
They originally planted 18 acres but later added seven more — “because I’m nuts” — a rigorous workload for anybody, let alone the mother of two young children who spent much of 2018, and will spend much of 2019, on a world concert tour (the tour stopped in Philadelphia in April; the closest she’ll be to the area next year is New York’s Madison Square Garden May 21 and 22).
“It’s a lot. I feel like I have three full-time jobs,” Moore said. “Being a touring artist, making wine and launching a wine brand, being a mama. Sometimes I ask myself, what the hell am I thinking, but I love it all. I love all three of those things equally, so it’s all good.”
With wine, she loves that every bottle comes with its own story and memories, which is why she often saves and documents them. She still has a nine-year-old bottle from the Jordan winery in California on which she wrote, “Welcome Home, 2009, end of Funhouse tour, Carey and I, Christmas alone.”
“One day when someone opens a bottle I made, they’re going to remember where they were, or what they were doing,” Moore said. “Another thing I love about wine is that it brings people together.
“My favorite part about getting into wine is that no one is right and no one is wrong and you can find an awesome bottle of wine for $20, and you can find an awesome bottle of wine for $200, and what’s awesome about it is learning the story behind it, and who’s making it, and how they’re making it.
“For me, it’s been a way to get back to nature, and to make something with my hands and to get dirty. We’re having a blast doing it and we’re proud of what we’re making, and it’s going to be a fun, lifelong journey that hopefully eight generations from now we’ll still be talking about.”
For more information, visit twowolveswine.com