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Italian Company’s Hitler Wine Causing a Stir

Simon Wiesenthal Center calls for boycott of winemaker Vini Lunardelli

Stephanie Butnick
August 27, 2013
Vini Lunardelli's line of Hitler-themed wine.(The Drinks Business)
Vini Lunardelli's line of Hitler-themed wine.(The Drinks Business)

No Führerwein for you. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called for international distributors to stop buying wine from Italian winemaker Vini Lunardelli, citing the company’s production of wine bottles featuring Hitler and various other high-ranking Nazis on their labels, the New York Times reports.

The bottles are part of the family-run company’s ‘historical line,’ a collection which also boasts images of Mussolini, Lenin and Stalin. The ‘Der Fuhrer’ line, though, is their biggest seller, accounting for 80 percent of the company’s sales (roughly 20,000 bottles a year).

“It’s history, not propaganda,” Andrea Lunardelli insisted during an interview on a warm August morning in his family’s modest wine cellar where a lone employee was busy attaching labels — Hitler giving the Nazi salute; a portrait of Hitler with his autograph; another portrait with the motto “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” (one people, one nation, one leader) — on bottles waiting to be boxed and shipped.

It is not just Hitler. The company offers about 30 Nazi-themed labels, including glorifying images of Himmler, Göring, Eva Braun and others.

How thorough. Lunardelli, who “seems genuinely aggrieved that people might be upset about his wines, but is nonetheless unrepentant” points out that Hitler was “a teetotaler”—so, you see, the bottles can’t actually be offensive. It’s a pretty flimsy argument, especially from someone selling wine. Though if the Simon Wiesenthal Center has anything to do with it, he might not be selling wine for long.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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