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Hitler wine a ‘joke gift’: Italian wine seller

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.

Hitler wine a 'joke gift': Italian wine seller
Hitler Wine. Photo: Håvard Furulund

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.

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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WINE

Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps

People living in a small village near Modena, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, got a surprise on Wednesday when they turned on their kitchen taps and got wine instead of water.

Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps
File photo: Flickr/Nardino

Not a miracle, but a fault at a nearby winery meant wine had accidentally been pumped into the local water supply, technicians later discovered.

Residents said the smell of the pink liquid coming out of their taps was unmistakably that of the locally-produced Lambrusco Grasparossa, local newspaper Gazzetta di Modena reported.

The wine ended up being piped into homes in the Castelvetro area of Modena from the nearby Settecani winery after a “technical fault” in one of the winery's silos meant wine was leaking into its water pipes. As the wine reportedly had a higher pressure than the water in the pipes, it began to run through the system and into nearby homes.

The local water board quickly sent technicians to put things back to normal – but not before residents “bottled as much of the precious liquid as they could,” wrote the Gazzetta di Modena, “to enjoy later at a lunch or dinner along with other typical Modenese specialties.”

The local council issued an apology for the incident on Facebook, and while some village residents voiced concern about the safety of their water supply, other complaints were directed at the council and local water company for fixing the problem too quickly.

Though Lambrusco doesn't have the best reputation abroad, Modena's Lambrusco DOC is a well-regarded lightly sparkling red wine with a complex flavour and a history dating back to Etruscan times.

READ ALSO: Not just Prosecco: here are the other Italian sparkling wines you need to try

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