By: ELOÏSE WALTON [email protected]
BOYISH GOOD looks and a string of popular songs have ensured Sir Cliff Richard has remained one of Britain’s most loved celebrities for almost 50 years.
With more than 250 million records sold over five decades, his place in pop history is assured.
While singing is still close to his heart, for several years he has had a new passion – the wine produced at his winery in Guia.
Sir Cliff first came to the Algarve in 1961 after his manager bought six houses near Albufeira.
“He said to me, ‘don’t worry Cliff, if you don’t want the house I
bought, you can always sell it. It’s a good investment!’” said Sir Cliff.
“In those days, Albufeira was a very different village. If we stayed up very late, my friends and I would sometimes go down to the beach at 5am to help the fishermen pull their boats in to shore.”
Before the revolution in 1975, Sir Cliff sold his house.
“I found myself coming back year after year though, so I bought another property in Sesmarias, which I later sold before buying my current farm in 1993,” he said.
Sir Cliff decided that he did not want this farm to die and wanted it to remain a working farm as well as a holiday home.
“I originally planted around four hectares of fig trees, but after meeting the wine maker, David Baverstock, I had them all pulled up in favour of vines,” he said.
Within the first year of production, the vines, which had been purchased from France, produced around 17 tonnes of grapes.
“This is extremely rare and several people came to the farm to witness ‘the little miracle’, as they called it,” he said. “In the following year, 2000, we made 200 bottles of wine, which were all given to friends and family.”
In 2001, Sir Cliff’s wine, Vida Nova, meaning ‘new life’, was on sale to the public for the first time.
However, disaster struck in 2002 when rain destroyed much of the crop during the harvest season.
“A lot of people decided that they didn’t like the wine that year,” said Sir Cliff, “but since then, it has done very well and won awards.”
When asked about his most favourite song from his own repertoire, Sir Cliff said that it was too hard to choose just one, but Devil Woman, We don’t talk anymore and Miss you nights are among the ones he most enjoys singing.
While in the Algarve this summer, Sir Cliff is spending his days playing tennis and singing, in preparation for a UK tour in November to celebrate his 50 year career in music.
“I will be performing around 20 concerts in the UK because that is where my career started and they were the first people to hear my music and buy my records,” he said.
An autobiography, entitled My Life, My Way, will also be promoted in England by Sir Cliff in September, before his tour.
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