Far from being the latest fad, biodynamic wine really is gaining ground and becoming established as the future of responsible and environmentally-friendly wine production. Not only are organic and biodynamic wines far better for us than wines grown using harmful chemicals, they are grown in a way that works with nature and encourages wildlife rather than destroying it.
“When I came here I wanted first of all to feed my family with genuine foods and quality produce, grown in a healthy environment …. I also wanted to use agriculture with practices that would nourish, rather than deplete the land.”
Sting and Trudy have been restoring Villa Il Palagio, a beautiful, 350 hectare Tuscan villa to its former glory since 1999 and are now producing some very well respected biodynamic wines from their estate.
The Palagio estate is the epitome of a Tuscan dream with a huge sprawling villa complete with banqueting hall and all the trappings of a grand historical mansion but with little modern touches such as a large swimming pool and grounds that have been quite delicately manicured for that perfect balance between traditional Tuscan and modern, global millionaire.
Though all of the wines they produce are very pleasant, one in particular stands out – Sister Moon. A rich and robust red which has been named as one of Italy’s finest 100 wines by the organisers of Opera Wine. That’s quite an accolade for a Brit and firmly places him alongside centuries-old aristocratic winemaking dynasties such as the Frescobaldi and Antinori families.
Not content with being forward-thinking wine producers, they have also launched a number of other products produced on their estate and opened a shop so as to be able to sell them locally.
The shop stocks the estate’s oil, wine, acacia honey and speciality salami made from the famous “cinta senese” local breed of pig. The farm shop was launched amid much excitement and applause from locals including the mayor of the nearest town, Figline Valdarno.
Clearly Sting and Trudy have a £multi-million budget at their disposal and their project could well have ended up being just another paradisiacal hang-out for the super-rich so their efforts to turn their estate into a working biodynamic vineyard, not to mention the other produce, are admirable. They are also indicative of a much wider, grass-roots movement towards a more sustainable, local and artisan way of living, and indeed we are seeing this right across the entire industry from the smallest independent estates right up to prestigious estates such as Il Palagio.
Organic farming can sometimes be driven by commercial incentives, simply following market trends which, as we point out in other articles, is still a good thing but can result in producers being box-tickers rather than led by passion. Biodynamic farming is a labour of love and is almost always driven by passion and a belief in the fundamental principles of working with, and being in tune with nature. In the case of Il Palagio it seems that includes the local population as well as everything natural. Selling their produce from a local farm shop is a nice touch and shows that this is not an exclusive venture, rather an inclusive one that aims to restore local traditions for all, not just the rich.
The 3 wines from Il Palagio shown above are now available in our shop.
More information from The Palagio website here.