Europe italy Travel Wine Winemakers

Sting’s Message in A (Wine) Bottle

As if world-famous musician and Rainforest Foundation Fund founder Sting and his actress-producer wife, Trudie Styler, weren’t busy enough, they decided to add one more job description to their CVs: vineyard and farm owners.

The couple first came across the Il Palagio estate in 1999 on a trip to the Tuscan town of Figline Valdarno. It sits above a long steep drive overlooking the Chianti countryside; in total it spreads about 350 hectacres, replete with a lake and olive groves. At the time the Sumner-Stylers happened upon the 16th century Italian estate, the villa and its environs had fallen into disrepair. They bought it and over time transformed the entire property and it’s land back to its former glory–replete with Sting and Trudie touches.

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The operations of the vineyard itself are overseen by Paolo Rossi, whose family legacy at the estate goes back to the last century, Alan York, a biodynamic viticulturalist, Paolo Cacirogna, and Sting and Trudie. The group set out to do something very simple yet elusive: to make biodynamic wine that they would like.

“Wine is like a beautiful piece of music already written. An opera that the musician or the tenor has to perform. The notes are always the same, but the result is always different and often exciting. Every day I work to become a good interpreter of the grapes; grapes that with great care and sensibility are cultivated by using all the instruments, antique and modern, that allow me to express their quality.” – Paolo Caciorgna

It took a little love and a little time, but their vision paid off. They now produce one rosé, one white, and four reds on the estate, three of which are named after his songs – Sister Moon, When We Dance and, of course, Message In a Bottle. And in 2016, their robust 2011 Sister Moon was named as one of Italy’s finest 100 wines.

Wine isn’t their only gig at the estate. They harvest olives, hand-picked as they’ve been for centuries, which are then cold-pressed into extra virgin olive oils for your pleasure. Honey is also flowing plentifully, as they have 80 bee families living at the estate, as well. Each has its own distinct flavor and aroma: Chestnut is dark and robust; Acacia is mild and delicate; Thousand Flowers has a rich caramel and buttery taste; Erica is run and intense; Forest is complex and aromatic. Their organic farm produces salamis, prosciutto, eggs, fresh fruits, and veggies.

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So much mouthwatering goodness comes from this plot of heaven – and lucky for you, their products are now available to purchase online, and a portion of sales go to charity. Bonus if you are the kind of person with some cash to spare and a penchant for the good life – their villa and guesthouses are also available to rent throughout the year.

Super Tuscan, indeed.

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