Culture Wars Impact Wine Labels

Gladiator Wine

The wine label above is too racy for Alabama. AP reports that Alabama’s liquor control agency has ordered restaurants and stores not to sell the wine:

A wine label showing a nude nymph is too racy for Alabama’s liquor control agency, which has told restaurants and stores not to sell the product.

The label on Cycles Gladiator wine, produced by Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, Calif., shows a vintage 1895 bicycle advertising poster with a nude nymph flying beside a winged bicycle.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board recently sent a letter to stores and restaurants telling them not to sell the wine because the label had been rejected by the agency. Alabama liquor regulations prohibit labels that are offensive or immodest.

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  1. 1
    Wine labels says:

    Why do the powers that be need to approve label designs? Its unnecessary interference.

  2. 2
    Fritz says:

    It’s not just the states — the Feds (BATF) also controls wine and beer labels.  Bud Grant (one of the pioneers of the modern microbrewery revolution) tried to put lab-certified nutritional info on his beer labels.  The ATF rejected it.
    Maybe the winery could add a “censored in Alabama” sticker on the labels for bottles going to that state.  That would be funny.

  3. 3
    Leslie Parsley says:

    I hope someone sues the hell out of Alabama’s ABCB and wins big bucks. Ten to one a large group of you-know-whats organized a complaint campaign.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    Going back to an earlier topic, I heard something on the question of whether the House health care proposal has all charged the same versus allowing lower rates for younger people. (Different people have advocated each way on this and the 1000+ pages of the House proposal disuaded me from searching for this particular point). This did come up on a show I heard on NPR earlier and it was said that rates can be a factor for setting rates in the House proposal so younger people could pay less.

  5. 5
    Fritz says:

    Ron — I read that they could charge young people less, but not as much of a difference as actuarial factors would dictate.

  6. 6
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Don’t some of the lite beers have nutritional info on their labels. Maybe not very extensive?

  7. 7
    Fritz says:

    Calorie counts.  Bert was putting B vitamin info on.  🙂    Yeast are pretty good for that.
    The ATF was concerned that it would make beer seem to be good for you.  Which, well, it is (in moderation).

  8. 8
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Fritz, you’re right. Started thinking about it but don’t have a beer bottle for reference.  :  (   But I wonder why the ATF objects to this when, at least in some parts of the country, people are very health conscious and read every label on every product.  I don’t understand why alcohol should be any different unless you’re right that beer might seem to be good for you. Which, as you say, it is.

  9. 9
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Leslie, the official position of the US government (embodied through the ATF) is that ‘alcohol is bad for you and you should not drink, and as long as you do drink we are going to tax you extra for it.’ Now, I don’t have a problem with a duty on alcohol, but the ATF embodies the nanny-state notion that people must be protected from themselves. They don’t want people (especially kids, but really anyone) reading a beer label that shows that beer can be good for you and then drinking beer because it might be good for them.
    Beer is good for you in moderation and bad for you in excess, like many other things. But the ATF’s attitude toward alcohol is best summed up by Joss Whedon.
    ‘Beer bad!’

  10. 10
    Jim W says:

    This is crazy. I hate that the government has to have boards to regulate everything. I can understand some things being censored but this label is not pornographic at all. it was mearly a depiction. It was not reveling in the sense that I would not let my daughter see it. I do not find it racy at all. But then again I am not everyone. It is the same with the artwork on Cigar boxes. I baught a box of <a href=””>Cuban Cigars</a> and it had nude pics on the inside of the label. Marketing I guess.

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