Sting and his Il Palagio vineyard estate have garnered significant success in recent years. However, when he and his wife, Trudie Styler, first bought the estate in the ’90s, they faced an uphill battle after allegedly being duped by the previous owner.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said in a new interview with the Italian magazine Sette (as transcribed by Food & Wine) the previous owner, the late Duke Simone Vincenzo Velluti Zati di San Clemente, convinced him to buy the property after serving him a glass of wine produced from the vineyard. The problem was the Duke allegedly served him “a glass of Barolo to wow Sting into buying the then-crumbling property.”
Sting said, “When we served the wine from the estate to our guests, I saw that someone was emptying their glass into a flowerbed. It was then that we decided to avenge ourselves and to show that it was possible to produce excellent wine from the vineyards at Palagio. Our whole Tuscan adventure has really been a way of getting our own back.”
Of course, Sting and Trudie’s Il Palagio brand now boasts six different wine varieties and has since expanded into producing olive oil and honey. The property even has a wine bar and a pizzeria on site.
News of Sting’s comments have…well…stung the family of the late Duke. His son, Simone San Clemente Jr., has issued a statement via the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in response saying (as transcribed by Page Six), “Apart from the fact that an internationally experienced gentleman like Sting (he was 46 years old at the time) should not confuse Barolo with Chianti, Nebbiolo with Sangiovese, nothing could be more alien to my father’s character, habits, behavior, in one word, to his spirit, than to behave like a swindling innkeeper.”
San Clemente Jr. continued, “My father lived until 2012, so Sting had time to allow him to personally retort to his suspicions, but the statement was not only in bad faith, but also so absurd as to sound like a boomerang. Instead, Sting decided to do it ‘a babbo morto‘ as they say in Tuscany, when the father has died.”
He then added, “Today the comparison between the Palagio of the past and the one today re-fashioned by Sting today is deplorable. The Palagio is now a Palm Beach-style resort. The refined taste that Sting says he has acquired over the years is not reflected in his words. Quite the contrary. He even uses my family’s coat of arms on his wine labels. This does not seem to be refined when he chooses to publicly insult my father.
San Clemente Jr., clearly upset by Sting’s accusation, then said, “But above all, isn’t Sting afraid that the karma he holds so dear might come back to visit him? When he wakes up in the morning, can’t he think of anything more enlightening to say? Or is it just about selling his pizza and wine, because after all, there will never be enough money in his portfolios. In the end, the interview given by Sting to … the Corriere was about promoting the best wine and pizza in the world using nothing more than a tasteless marketing strategy. I think Mr. Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner [Sting] owes me and my family an apology.”
Rich people problems, amiright?
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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who’s well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.