With chart-topping songs and a network of devoted fans across the United States, Carly Pearce, 28, is one of the leading ladies of country music right now. After nearly a decade of trying to "make it" in Nashville, the singer-songwriter notched a breakout hit in 2017 with her emotional ballad "Every Little Thing," leading to a record deal, touring gigs with Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, and an appearance in last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
She followed her debut success with "Hide the Wine," a tune that introduced fans to her real-life love of wine. (The music video, featuring goblets of wine and bottles of Elouan—donated by the winery—drives the sentiment home.) "It's really funny," Pearce says. "I feel like something that fans are really latching onto is the fact that I drink wine!"
Between promoting her latest single, "Closer to You," gearing up to co-headline "The Way Back Tour" with vocalist Russell Dickerson (kicking off Jan. 24), and preparing for the release of her second album later this year, Pearce took some time to chat with assistant editor Lexi Williams about how she first got into wine, the bottles she keeps stocked on her tour bus, and that time she attempted blind-tasting with her band.
Wine Spectator: When did you first get into wine?
Carly Pearce: It's kind of funny. My mom was a huge wine drinker. When I came of age, I actually hated it and didn't understand why she loved it so much. I think it was a couple years into being of age, I found a strong liking [of] red wine, and it has been my drink of choice since I was probably 23 years old.
WS: Do you have any go-tos?
CP: I really like Cabernet; I tend to go for more California wines. I really like the more dry, full-bodied [wines], but I'll drink pretty much anything that's red.
If I'm just kind of drinking everyday, Conundrum is my go-to. I pretty much have that on my bus at all times—I think because I love Caymus so much, I found Conundrum, and it's a lot cheaper, which is great. For special occasions, I'm a Caymus girl, I'm a Silver Oak girl. Also, I really like Stag's Leap, and I really like Trilogy.
WS: Did your vinous interests inspire the song "Hide the Wine"?
CP: This is one of the very few on my album that I didn't write, shockingly. It was actually originally recorded by Little Big Town. I heard this song before I even had a record deal, and I freaked out over it, but I knew that Little Big Town was going to [record] it. Fast-forward to literally the day that their album came out: I had a record deal at this point and was looking for songs, and they didn't put it on their album … so I got it! I do believe that it was made for me.
WS: There's also a video of you and your band doing a blind tasting based on lyrics in the song. What was that like?
CP: My band, they're just hilarious, and it's fun to have winos on the bus. We thought it would be really funny because of the "Two-Buck Chuck, high-dollar good stuff" [line in the song] to just kind of figure out if we could really tell the difference between the two. But my photographer, who went and got all of the wine, ended up just buying all Two-Buck Chuck, so we thought we were drinking expensive wine at one point, but we weren't, which is just really funny.
WS: Do you have any other special wine memories?
CP: I fell in love this [past] year, with another country music artist [fiancé Michael Ray], and [on] our first date—I've actually never told this story!—he brought a bottle of Silver Oak to my house when he came over. That was kind of the bottle of wine that sparked our love.
WS: Did he know at the time that you were really into wine?
CP: Oh yes. Everybody who knows me knows that's the way to my heart!
WS: Why do you think your love of wine has become so well-known among your fans and others in the industry?
CP: [When] I was on tour with Blake Shelton at the beginning of 2018, he told me, "Find those things about you that are authentic and that people really resonate with." I think it's become a part of my brand that will stay. As I'm even writing songs for this next record, wine is in the lyrics.
WS: Do you think you'll get more involved in wine, beyond singing about it?
CP: I hope one day to partner with a wine company and come out with my own wine, maybe have my own vineyard like Kix Brooks. I genuinely want to learn more about wine, because it's something that I'm really passionate about and something that I love.