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Sting in the land of wine

Rome, Dec. 20: Sting has become the latest Briton to be seduced by Chiantishire, buying 100 acres of vineyards from which he plans to produce his own red wine.

The former lead singer of The Police, whose hits included Message In A Bottle, paid £3.75 million for the farm in northern Italy. The Tuscany area is renowned for its many British-owned second homes. The Prince of Wales is rumoured to be interested in buying a property.

Tony Blair and his family are also fans of the region, taking four holidays there in the past five years.

Sting bought the 450-acre farm at auction in Chianti from the local authority, at a price believed to be a fraction of what it would reach on the open market. The farm borders the 220-acre Palagio estate, near Figline Valdarno, which he bought five years ago and where a recording studio has been built. It includes 10 farmhouses, some in poor condition, grazing land, a forest, extensive olive groves and permission to build 19 holiday flats.

But the rock star, who in his song After The Rain Has Fallen, sings: “Take me where the red wine flows”, is thought to have been lured principally by the estate’s Gallo Nero vineyards. He is said to be planning to launch a red wine label bearing his name, but whether this will be Sting or his real name, Gordon Sumner, is not known.

Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, the film producer, would find plenty of willing drinkers of any wine they produce they are renowned for their dinner parties. Madonna and Guy Ritchie met at one such event.

He is reported to be planning to produce his own brand of extra virgin olive oil, to give to friends. The couple are already frequent visitors to the Chianti area.

Previous guests to their Palagio estate include Luciano Pavarotti and Dustin Hoffman. Their new estate is called I Serristori after its former owners, a family of rich silk merchants.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said yest- erday: “Not only does Sting’s hill boast a breathtaking view and an eco-system that is still intact, but it continues to be a small paradise for local wine production.”

Ownership passed to the local health authority, which decided to sell it at auction to repay debts. It is said to be worth at least three times the price paid by Sting.

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