Italian Winemaker Says Hitler Wines Will Be Discontinued Next Year
Following years of condemnation from Jewish groups and tourists in Italy, an Italian winemaker said that next year he will finally stop selling a collection of wines that have pictures of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on the labels.
Vini Lunardelli started selling the Hitler bottles in 1995 as part of his Historical Series of wines, which include bottles that also have on their labels images of dictators like Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Benito Mussolini. The wine bottles are being sold in stores across Italy and the ones showcasing images of Hitler include Nazi slogans such as “Mein Führer” (“My Leader”), “Sieg Heil” (“Hail to Victory”) and “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer” (One People, One Realm, One Leader”).
Lunardelli’s son, Andrea, told VICE World News that the winery will discontinue the entire Historical Series of wines starting in 2023, when he takes over running the company from his father, because he does not like the collection and is tired of the backlash it receives. He also defended the products, saying, “Whoever buys [the Hitler wine] is a collector, or remembers history, or wants nationalism against the current policies of multinationals… not against Jews. Besides, Hitler was a teetotaler, so we can even say that alcohol and Hitler are a nice joke.”
Andrea insisted to VICE that he is “absolutely not a Nazi” and that the Hitler wines are produced for customers who want to “remember” history. He also explained that there is a demand for the bottles.
“Unfortunately the most requested label [in the ‘historical’ line] is Hitler – especially by Germans, but also by many British, Nordic, French and Russians,” he said. “But no Italian wants Hitler.”
Germany’s Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism told VICE that the winemaker’s marketing tactic of using images of Hitler to sell wine “is disrespectful to all victims of the Nazi regime and their descendants.”
Shimon Samuels, director for international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, noted that previous protests about the Hitler bottles have resulted in them being removed from stores, but only temporarily. He said, “They wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a market for this stuff.”