How’d the 2019 vintage go?
It’s going to be so beautiful. In 2018, I got off tour and the very next day, harvest started. It was pretty stressful and it all came in at once, and I was buried in it. But this year was smooth and all spread out. The fruit looked perfect.
What parts of winemaking do you enjoy most? Which parts are most tedious?
I like digging out tanks, and I hate cleaning the press. I hate it. My husband [Carey Hart] has become a really good janitor. He is meticulous and fast, and I let him do that part. But otherwise, I like all of it. I like being in the vineyard, and I like talking to people who have all different kinds of viewpoints on organic versus biodynamic versus dry farming… I love the process, and I love seeing what happens every year.
For the first couple years, I was really frustrated. I wanted to try all these things, but I physically could only do so much. Mother Nature is a fascinating beast to me, and it’s a really fun challenge.
Is making wine anything like your music career?
It’s distinct in a lot of ways, but it’s all about timing for both. If I were to go into the studio today, I would never write “So What” or “Get the Party Started.” That was that day and that moment, and I was a certain age. It’s that way with the timing of the pick and how old the vines are when a wine is made. I’ll make wine this year that I wouldn’t make five years ago or five years from now.
I’m also a collaborator. I don’t go into the studio by myself. I go in with a piano player or guitar player. I pour my heart out, and my collaborators do the same. That’s how [winemaker] Alison [Thomson] and I are, and how the vineyards and I are. It’s always a collaboration. So in that way, it’s the same. In every other way, it’s completely different.
Does the winery add balance to your otherwise very public life?
Definitely. Moving up there with my family was the best decision I ever made. I love what I do in my other life, but I love coming home. That makes perfect sense because I was a high school dropout, and now I’m a student again. I’ve been doing the same thing forever, so my brain is really turning on again.
My kids come down and help, and I walk through the vineyard every day. We’re making friends and plans for 30 years from now and hopefully beyond that. But then you read an article about global warming and how we won’t be able to grow crops in 50 years, and then you want to die.