HE is one of the richest, most controversial men in the world and – it seems – somewhat the wine buff.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is planting his very own vineyard at the multimillion euro home he is developing in the hills above Marbella, it can be revealed.
Olive Press sources insist that the Russian gourmet, 62, has dug 25 plants from Spain’s top bodega Pingus into a series of terraces around the mansion, in Benahavis.
In a huge mega-deal he has also contracted the vineyard’s owner Danish oenologist Peter Sisseck to oversee production of the wine.
The wine will be produced in two huge underground cellars at the 10-bedroom palace in the exclusive enclave of Zagaleta – complete with private helipad and 22-car garage.
A series of French oak barrels will store the wine.
“It is an amazing project and no expense is being spared,” said the source.
A spokesman for the small five hectare Pingus holding in Burgos – whose wines are Spain’s most expensive at €1,000 a bottle – was unable to confirm the purchase.
“I am not able to give out any information about grapevines being sold, only about the bottles we sell and distribute,” she said.
In October 2012, the Olive Press was able to link the Ex-KGB boss Putin to a consortium of six wealthy businessmen behind the €19 million Zagaleta project.
The epitome of extravagance, his 18,000m² plot boasts its own spa and gym, a cinema, piano bar, and two swimming pools.
Putin has long been a big Hispanophile having visited Spain on many occasions, with a recent book claiming he came in ‘illegally’ 37 times on false documents in the 1990s alone.
He has also been linked to a Spanish construction company.
It is also clear that Putin appreciates his wine, as his South of France mansion was revealed to have expansive wine cellars too, back in 2001.