A row is brewing over the use by an Italian winemaker of Nazi names and phrases on its wine bottles.

German government officials have asked their Italian counterparts to look into whether the Italian wines which have images of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, and Heinrich Himmler on the labels violates European Union anti-racism rules.

There are concerns that the wines are being bought in Italy and brought back to Germany. In particular there were worries that the bottles were being sold in gas stations that are partly owned by the Italian state.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries recently wrote to her Italian counterpart to say the labels are "contemptible and tasteless" and asked him to see what could be done against them

The wines are part of Alessandro Lunardelli's historic line. They feature 14 different labels portraying Hitler and other Nazis, as well as other infamous historical characters, such as Italy's former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

The website of Alessandro Lunardelli says the labels "remind us of the lives of celebrated personages of Italian and world political history such as Che Guevara, Churchill... Hitler, Marx, Mussolini, Napoleon."