Italian winemaker says Hitler, Mussolini bottles 'joke gift'

Aug. 6, 2013 at 2:47 PM

UDINE, Italy, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- An Italian winemaker who sells bottles of the beverage featuring pictures of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini said the products are meant as "a joke gift."

Alessandro Lunardelli, whose winery in Udine has sold bottles of wine with images of dictators for more than 15 years, said the products are aimed mainly at tourists and are meant as gag gifts, not endorsements of the dictators or their political views, The Local.it reported Tuesday.

"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," Lunardelli said. "People usually buy it as a joke gift, that's what it's for, it's not meant to offend anyone."

Lunardelli made his comments after a pair of Norwegian tourists said they were "astonished" to find the Hitler-themed wine at a shop in Rimini. Lunardelli said wine found by the tourists with a swastika symbol on the bottles is made by a competitor.

The "historical range" line of wines from Lunardelli's company also include bottles with pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte, Che Guevara and Winston Churchill.

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