It’s been nearly seven years since eight-time Grammy Award winner Fergie sent the hormones of red-blooded humans into a sizzling frenzy with her performance in the Black Eyed Peas video My Humps. Since then, she’s pretty much lit up the international music charts (both with the Black Eyed Peas and as a solo artist) brighter than the LEDs in her light-up dresses, with impressive frequency.
Fergie is best known for hotter-than-a-branding-iron onstage performances (okay, and general hotter-than-a-branding-iron hotness) and as a purveyor of stuff that your lady probably likes receiving as gifts (footwear, vodka and fragrances). She’s less well known for one of her other roles: California fine wine proprietor.
Fergie founded the Santa Ynez Valley–based Ferguson Crest on a six-acre plot of land in Solvang that now houses a vineyard and estate winery (award-winning vintner Joey Tensley heads up the winemaking duties), which recently achieved marketing nirvana when Oprah stopped by to try their juice.
We caught up with Fergie to talk wine, sensuality and…more wine.
Playboy.com: So what are you drinking nowadays? Any wine regions that have you really excited?
Fergie: You know what wine regions really excited me are the South American wine areas like Chile and Argentina. I was wonderfully surprised to find such amazing wines when touring those areas. Argentina wines are really delicious.
Playboy.com: Let’s talk a little bit about the eBay.com auction that just wrapped up with you and Ferguson Crest, benefitting amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research). How did you get involved with that? You just auctioned off some wines as well as a tasting you are going to do personally with some lucky bidder…
Fergie: I’ve been working with amfAR for quite a long time. They are such an amazing foundation and really put their money where their mouth is. They are just really close to my heart. We are going to have a tour of the winery, tasting and tour of the vineyard. It will be the first person since Oprah that I brought up there. Well, besides my friends and family!
Playboy.com: Are there any go-to wines for you in the Ferguson Crest portfolio? Is Fergalicious actually the most…well…Fergalicious?
Fergie: Some people think so! Fergalicious is really good, with a sugar-and-spice thing going on, which is why it basically named itself! It was our red blend, and we were wanting to name it for a while. Everyone went, “Well, we are all Fergusons…and it is delicious…so…” I didn’t go predictable with the bottle label; the wine really stands on its own and didn’t need a candy-apple-red label to show it off. For whites, the Viognier is such a delicious wine, it really just…melts. I don’t always want red when it is hot out; I’m a Cali girl, so I love a nice white when the weather is warm. The Syrah is really our pride and joy because it is directly from the grapes my dad grows. It is where our pride comes from. Syrah grapes are great in that region, and where our grapes grow it sees sun all day long and is just perfect.
Playboy.com: How did you get started with Ferguson Crest?
Fergie: It started organically with my dad growing grapes and making wine and the wine tasting good enough that we wanted to share it with people. Right now we just feel great about it and want to get the wine out and into people’s hands and mouths and just keep doing what we are doing. It’s where Josh [Duhamel] actually proposed to me, because it is my land. My dad suggested years ago when he first moved up there that this land would be a good investment for me, just thinking of it as an investment. Then he said, “You know, the land would be perfect for a vineyard because of how much sun time it gets...” So I said okay, and I invested in the land. A few years later, my dad was renting a house and the owner had to foreclose, so I told him that I wanted to build that dream vineyard that we had been talking about. So it was all started from scratch. My dad put in all of the water filters, everything is sustainable and we are going through the process of being certified organic now. It has always been something important to him; growing up, our fruits and veggies were always sustainable and organic.
Playboy.com: So it was a real family affair.
Fergie: Yeah, I know. I got proposed to, and Josh and I were just going to look at the land. Right where the vineyard is is where he proposed to me. We have picking parties and it is so great, we get to stomp on the grapes. We put on music and it is just a fun family and friends affair.
Playboy.com: With your own tunes? Are you playing any Black Eyed Peas songs to the wines in the barrels?
Fergie: Sometimes; it depends on if it comes up on the shuffle! But you know, music and wine for me have always gone together. I have always gone to wine festivals and wine tastings from Idaho to North Dakota to Cali—of course—but all over the world. Listening to a good band and enjoying a nice glass of wine is just heaven to me.
Playboy.com: Do you think that is what draws musicians, in particular, to wine? There are so many of them involved in the wine biz now.
Fergie: Yes, I think they go hand in hand. Just putting on your album when you first finish it and opening a nice bottle of wine and sharing it with your friends is just a ritual, such an experience.
Playboy.com: Speaking of experience…some fairly recent studies have shown that women see wine as an essential part of a romantic evening. Do you agree with that?
Fergie: I definitely agree with that. This is what wine is all about and why it goes so well with music: it is about the senses, sensory things. The nose, the smelling of it. The visuals: the legs, the color, looking at it in the light. The taste. The experiencing of all of those things is what romance is. It is about feeling, and that is what romance is; it is all of those sensory operations going on all at once. That is what heightens it and makes it an experience, not just drinking it down.
Playboy.com: Any really special bottles you’re craving or setting aside for the next big award or life moment?
Fergie: Opus One has really been a favorite of mine. But now, I just love sharing our bottles with people. We have a lot of pride in our family about it.
About the Author:
Want to learn more about maximizing your wine pleasure? Visit Joe Roberts’ award-winning website 1WineDude.com, where you can find him regularly roasting wine's sacred cow (and pairing it with robust, obscure red).Joe is a certified wine geek and has been called "an original" by media maven Gary Vaynerchuk, "provocative" by the Seattle Times and "a Robin Hood in the exclusive world of vineyards and corkings" by The Urban Grocer. His wine knowledge has been tapped by the L.A. Times, New York Times, CNBC.com, Mutineer Magazine, PalatePress.com and Washington Post.