Sting has always been a trendsetter, but when he and wife Trudie Styler started making biodynamic wines at their Tuscany estate, Il Palagio, they couldn’t have predicted how important that would become to consumers. Here, the pair take a break from promoting Sting’s latest album with Jamaican artist Shaggy, 44/876, to describe how they came to make wine, honey and olive oil in the Italian countryside.
When you were looking for property in Tuscany, did you think you would be producing wine, olive oil and honey?
Sting: Absolutely not. The house sort of found us. We were looking for almost a decade… The whole place was kind of run down. The vineyards looked like they were falling down, too. And it just spoke to us… Once we’d done the house, the fields were in a state, and Trudie, being a farmer’s daughter, said, “We really should do something with wine,” so we got a guy in from California named Alan York, who was famous for biodynamics with the Benziger Estate.
“We actually are serious about it, and we think it shows.”—Sting
What is the usual response to your wines when you taste with friends or colleagues?
Sting: One of the great pleasures for me when we bring people to the estate and ask if they would like to taste our wine, they look at me skeptically, as if to say, Oh, another celebrity wine… Watching their faces change from that skeptical look to one that reads, Oh, it’s actually really good, I love that change, and it makes me feel really proud. We actually are serious about it, and we think it shows.
What is each of your favorite type of wine to drink?
Sting: I’m particularly loyal to Italian wines. We are Italian winegrowers, so, at a restaurant, I will choose Italian wine.
Trudie: I tend towards the whites and rosé. We’ve just produced our own rosé.
How are you received by the locals?
Sting: The locals look after us. One of the first things we did when we bought the place was to throw a party. We invited them all in, and they respect that we’ve done so much for the property and really brought it back to life. They remember the property in its heyday. It had a golden era and then fell by the wayside, and I think they appreciate that, so they protect us.
Do you spend much time in town?
Sting: I find it very hard to leave the property, actually. But I like to go into town and have an ice cream.
Trudie: Nine hundred acres is a big playground, but the kids love to go into town. I probably go out more than Sting.
And do people from town come to see you? Is any part of the estate open to the public?
Sting: We have a farm shop on the estate, and we throw a party there every August. The locals come, and I sing a couple of songs. It’s a great shop.
Trudie: We sell olive oils and at least six different types of honey… It’s very limited, but very lovely.
Published: October 3, 2018