Hitler wine a 'joke gift': Italian wine seller

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Hitler Wine. Photo: Håvard Furulund
11:47 CEST+02:00
The owner of an Italian wine company has downplayed criticism of a range of bottles emblazoned with images of dictators including Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, telling The Local the ploy was "simple marketing" that was not meant to offend anyone.

Alessandro Lunardelli’s comments come a day after two Norwegian tourists told The Local they were “astonished” to stumble across the ‘Adolf Hitler’ and ‘Mein Fuhrer’-labelled bottles, which were hidden away from other brands at a shop in the seaside town of Rimini.

They even found bottles with a swastika sign, although Lunardelli told The Local that this range is sold by a competitor and not by his company. He also said the images have been “toned down” and aren't as harsh as they might have been before.

'Hardly any Italians buy the wine'

The winery in Udine has been selling the range for more than 15 years, with foreign tourists in Italy being its biggest market, Lunardelli added.

“This is why we only sell it at shops in tourist places; hardly any Italians buy the wine, well, occasionally they might go for a Benito Mussolini bottle.”

He added that the range has attracted a lot of customers outside of Italy.

“People usually buy it as a joke gift, that’s what it’s for, it’s not meant to offend anyone.”

Lunardelli also claims there are some people who buy the wine simply because it tastes good.

This isn’t the first time the company has come under fire for what it calls its “historical range”.

A probe was launched last year following several other complaints from foreign tourists.

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The Italian Integration Minister at the time, Andrea Riccardi, said “this offends the memory of millions of people and risks compromising the image of Italy abroad.”

Lunardelli said the investigation found the company not to be in the wrong as the wines weren’t intended to be “political or offensive, just marketing”.

The range is intended to “reflect the lives of famous people in Italian and world history, such as Che Guevara, Churchill, Francis Joseph, Gramsci, Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon and Sissi,” according to a message on the company’s website. 

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