Thursday, 9 October 2008

Celebrity Vineyards – Italian Style

Vineyards are also a favourite investment for celebrities, with Robert de Niro and Francis Ford Coppola rumoured to be buying estates in Italy, according to the Hollywood Reporter. These Italo-American movie legends are looking to ride a US boom in Italian cuisine by picking up prime wine interests in the old country.

Coppola, a long-time Napa Valley winemaker who says his vineyards helped him complete his Godfather saga, is reportedly eager to snap up the famed Florio vineyards in Sicily, where one of the world's greatest Marsala wines is made. According to the Hollywood Star, Coppola's daughter Sofia aims to make a film about the Florios' most glamorous figure, Donna Franca, a belle epoque diva who charmed kings, emperors and czars.

De Niro, who has already made his name in the USA with trendy restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, is apparently interested in one of the finest producers of Brunello di Montalcino wine, Fattoria Dei Barbi. Although he is commonly referred to as an Italian-American actor, De Niro is actually ¼ Italian in ancestry. His father was half-Irish and half-Italian. His mother was of French, Dutch and German ancestry.

Even British director Ridley Scott has been rumoured to have been inspecting top vineyards on Mt Etna and American rock legend Bruce Springsteen - of Irish, Italian and Dutch ancestry - is seeking land in Chianti and Emilia-Romagna.

Making wine in Italy has already attracted a number of foreign personalities from the worlds of business and entertainment. Time-Warner CEO Richard Parsons recently acquired the Tenuta Il Palazzone vineyard in Montalcino where he produces Brunello, mostly for his own use. Musicians Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and Jim Kerr of Simple Minds both have vineyards on Sicily, while French actress Carole Bouquet has a vineyard on the island of Pantelleria where she produces the island's famous dessert wine 'passito'.

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