An Italian winemaker has uncorked a blitzkrieg of controversy after his grotesquely Nazi-themed bottles have hit it big with German oenophiles.
The wine, adorned with Adolf Hitler’s face and slogans such as “Mein Führer,” “Sieg Heil” and “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer,” have sparked fury from around the globe and condemnation from Jewish groups after it became known online that wine shops in Remini, Italy, were selling them.
“A store employee said Germans very much like to buy these wines, and they are clearly the big hit there,” Dr. Dagmar Millesi, who recently spotted the series while in Remini, told The Times of Israel. “The saleswoman was even amused at my outrage … nobody is angry about it, no one forbids it … I couldn’t believe it.”
This isn’t the first time that Vini Lunardelli, the Italian winemaker who makes the niche bottles, has received backlash for his offensive wine labels. According to the The Times of London, the winemaker has been producing historically themed wines for over 25 years. Some include depictions of controversial leaders from Napoleon Bonaparte to Benito Mussolini. Hitler was already among the dictators included in the so-called History Series, prompting a call for a boycott from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Lunardelli website even allows customers to customize their Hitler label.
“The Wiesenthal Center denounces the marketing of these products and urges wine distributors in Italy and around the world to send the only message the owner of this firm might understand — that they choose not to do any business with someone using the Nazi mass murderer as a blatant marketing tool,” rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper said in a statement for the center.
According to The Times of London, German tourists routinely buy the wine as collectibles, with the History Series accounting for nearly half of Lunardelli’s revenue.
Somehow Perfectly Legal
The local administration of Remini reportedly receives six complaints per year on average, Mayor Andrea Grassi told the Times of Israel. But Grassi said that he has no legal authority to halt the wine from being sold.
The winemaker’s website includes a disclaimer: “This is a commercial site only. We deny any kind of political propaganda.”