In 1999, after a decade long frustrating search, Gordon Sumner and his wife found a 650 acre estate on a hill in Tuscany, Il Palagio.  Now this has little interest to you until I tell you that this man’s show business name is known world-wide as STING!
Gordon Sumner’s first years in the world of rock music were in Newcastle England with his first gigs paid in dinner and beer. He didn’t know a thing about wine.  But as his fame grew as band leader of the Police, the money poured in, along with gifts of world-class French and Italian wines like Chateau Petrus and Biondi Santi Brunello.
Over time, STING got the wine bug that affects most of us that are caught up in the need to know and consume the best there is.  So with a definite yearning for Italian style wines and a sympathetic film producer wife, Trudie, they set out in 1992 to find the ideal Tuscan villa and winery, with a cash hoard that could buy them the best.  A decade later they came up empty and STING walked away frustrated.
But his wife persisted and found a cypress-lined, yellow villa that was in disrepair.  They closed on the property the next day and subsequently invested millions in the buildings and the vineyards, restoring Il Palagio to its former grandeur.  Il Palagio is now so prolific in output that STING and Trudie have opened a farm shop selling everything made or grown on the estate, including fresh vegetables and fruits, olive oil and salami.
“We have spent many years transforming our vineyards and olive groves,” he observed.  “We hope all this effort has paid off and the tastes will delight you as much as it does our family and friends.”  After 10 years of hard work, the first vintage of an Italian blended wine has been released, the 2008 Il Palagio “Sister Moon” Toscana was made, named after one his great hit songs.( $44.99 on the internet.)  A blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet, the palate is enriched with powerful black fruit, laced with crème-de-cassis.  The rustic, tannic finish is pure Tuscan, aged in French barriques for 24 months.  1000 cases were made.
Another wine is ready for release, the 2010 “When We Dance.”  This charming everyday Chianti is 95% Sangiovese, with small amounts of Canaiolo and Colorino grapes.  The fragrances are cherry and iris.
The winery, near Panzano in Tuscany, is open to the public Monday through Friday.  See more at
 Jena Letchaw, Assistant  Executive Director and Donato Santarsieri, Executive Director toast the success of the San Diego Wine Show.

 Jena Letchaw, Assistant  Executive Director and Donato Santarsieri, Executive Director toast the success of the San Diego Wine Show.

Reviewing the San Diego Wine Show
The San Diego Wine Show, in the lovely Paddock area of the Del Mar Racetrack and produced by the dapper, congenial Donato Santarsieri, had its sophomore debut recently and the results were fascinating for its engaging innovations.
Many of the Pacific Coast’s finest wines were poured during the 2 day event.  Cooking demos and samplings were paired with wines, and visitors could also try olive oil, cheeses, chocolates and watch the making of cigars. Several food trucks offered gourmet cuisine.
Charlie Plummer, a leading wine sommelier and wine distributor, educated and entertained with his blind tasting seminar.  A large selection of Mexico’s wines from L.A. Cetto showed great promise with its world-wide list of red varietals, all grown in the Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada. 
For news on next year and an opportunity to participate, contact the producer at
Wine Bytes
Wines from Sonoma headline the event 2 to 8:30pm on Sat. June 22 at Bacchus Wine Market in the Gaslamp, downtown San Diego. You’ll taste Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to name a few.  $20. fee.  Details at 619-236-0005.
A Bocce Ball Tournament is in play at Europa Village in Temecula Wine Country. Next tournament is Sun. June 23 at 2pm.  Finals on Sun. July 21. $10. per player. Info at 951-216-3380.
Rossi’s Pizza & Family Sports Bar in San Marcos presents the Robert Hall Winery of Paso Robles with a dinner and selected wines Tues. June 25 at 6:30pm.  Price is $60.  and includes a 4 course Italian dinner.  Call 760-727-7542 for a reservation.
Twenty/20 in the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa has a series of six “Sunset Grilling with the Masters” BBQ cooking events, starting Wed. June 26 at 6:30pm when Executive Chef Alex Carballo of Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens will show case his “how to” techniques.  Complimentary eats and beverages from the grill are included in the $50. pp price.  The rest of the series will be on Wednesdays at 6:30pm until Aug. 28th.  Tickets at:
The new Vittorio’s Family Style Trattoria in Highland Village Center off the 56 in San Diego, invites you to a Bianchi 5 course wine dinner for $49.50 ea.  Call for an RSVP at 858-538-5884.
Frank Mangio is a renowned San Diego wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at  Reach him at

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