How a Mix-Up Led Sting and Trudie Styler to a Life of Winemaking: 'I Knew That We Needed to Get Our Revenge'
The couple fell in love with their Tuscan villa, Il Palagio, at first sight — and first sip
If you’re lucky enough to be invited to Sting and Trudie Styler’s gorgeous 16th century Tuscan villa for pizza and wine, you actually have the estate’s former owners to thank.
The couple fell in love with Il Palagio at first sight, when they came across the property in 1997, after trying for years to find the perfect home in Tuscany. “I fell in love with the view,” Sting tells PEOPLE about his first impressions of the then-dilapidated estate, which was once owned by Italian nobility. “It overlooks some of the most luscious Chiantishire hills.” As if that weren’t enough, the previous owner offered the rock star a “superb bottle of wine,” and that, he confesses “really did it for me.”
Assuming the “exquisite” vintage that he tasted came from the property’s vineyards, the couple kept on the same vineyard manager. “Some time later, I was talking with him and decided to draw his attention to the fact that the wine was not as good as it used to taste — like the bottle the previous owner had given to me. I asked him why the difference. He looked at me with a slight disbelief and told me that the bottle I had been gifted with, was not from the estate but from France!” Sting recounts in the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday. “I knew that we needed to get our revenge here and we decided to spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time and effort into making a vineyard and wine that we would like.”
After almost a decade of painstaking renovations, the couple officially have their revenge — along with 5 acclaimed organic and biodynamic wines, some of which are named after Sting’s songs, and 65 gorgeous acres of vineyards.
WATCH THIS: How Sting and Trudie Styler Keep Their Love Alive in Tuscany
But grapes are far from the only thing grown at Il Palagio: “Everything here is conducive to making things grow and blossom,” says Sting. Trudie works with a team of local farmers to oversee the winery and their farm, which produces everything from organic produce to olive oil. (Sting counts the villa’s olive groves, which contain around 6,000 trees, as one of his favorite places on the property.) Trudie’s father, who passed away 15 years ago, was also a farmer so “it’s in my blood,” she says.
Il Palagio’s other delicious export — honey — comes as a result of Trudie’s passion project. “I have a huge belief in the importance of bees, not just for their honey which is a healing and delicious food, but the necessity of bee colonies that are vital to the health of the planet,” she says of her mission to establish bee colonies on the property. With the help of the estate manager, Paolo Rossi, she has established over 80 colonies.
Of course, it’s not all work and no play: The Sumner family likes to unwind in their Italian getaway with movie nights in their outdoor cinema (lovingly nicknamed “Cinema Paradiso”) with their six children, including two from Sting’s previous marriage, and indulging in a homemade meal prepared by the estate’s cooks with produce grown on the property. But it’s not just Il Palagio’s stunning views and delicious wines that make every second they spend at the villa feel so special.”
“Just before this interview we just had lunch with all of our six children and their children,” Sting says. “For me that is wealth; a sign of real wealth; it is not about money; it is about relationships and all of those happy people eating, the kids laughing and running around.”
He added: “That is life, as they say in Italy: ‘La Bella Vita.'”
For more inside Sting and Trudie Styler’s Italian villa, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.