Nude nymph label banned in ‘Bama

cyclesgladiatorAlabama’s liquor authority has banned a label depicting a nude nymph (side view!) from a 1895 poster. The wine, Cycles Gladiator, made by Soledad, California-based Hahn, retails for about $10 and had sold about 600,000 cases since 2006. Although it is available in the other 49 states, Alabama regulations prohibit labels with “a person posed in an immoral or sensuous manner,” according to NBC Los Angeles. (Search for Cycles Gladiator at retail)

Since when is nude bicycle flying considered immoral or sensuous? Imprudent and unsafe would be more like it. If the nymph were in today’s Tour de France, she would at least be required to have a helmet!

In other important wine and cycling news, after the grueling day up Le Mont Ventoux, Lance Armstrong tweeted: ““went to dinner with the RadioShack guys [his new team]…had a few more glasses of wine than I normally would.” And after the tour he posted a pic enjoying a (large) glass of wine with cycling legend Eddie Merckx. The man clearly enjoys wine, so how long until we see an Armstrong celebrity wine? If it ever arrives, he will, no doubt, be fully clothed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

21 Responses to “Nude nymph label banned in ‘Bama”

  1. interesting to read about Alabama: in my anecdotal experience, talking to supplier reps in the South, Alabama is one of the best markets for esoteric wines…

  2. There’s a wineblogger who also happens to work for the parent winery involved here. She has some more details about the controversy:

    As I note in the comments, there have been similar controversies with beer labels recently. What’s hilarious is that in most jurisdictions you only have to be 18 to purchase real pornography, but 21 to purchase a bottle of wine. I can’t imagine that there’s much of an overlap in the demographics of those who drink but are shocked and horrified at the slightest hint of nudity.

  3. Thank you for your support regarding this decision

    Yes, its a shame that the people of the great state of Alabama are now unable to enjoy Cycles Gladiator as we’ve pulled the wine from distribution there. However, if you are in the other 49 states you can still pull a cork to experience Cycles wines.


  4. Hi all,
    Thanks for the support and words of encouragement. Somehow it seems oddly appropriate that I had the idea for Cycles Gladiator from a mural in the men’s restroom at the Blue Frog Cantina in Fairfield, CA.:)
    Bill Leigon
    Hahn Family Wines

  5. I remember we were all pretty excited last year because there was buzz about Lance looking at property on the same mountain where we have Tin Cross Vineyards. We would have been neighbors. Unfortunately, we heard that the deal never went through. It would’ve been interesting seeing his bike tackle Pine Mountain–some of these slopes are steep even to walk on.

  6. I love this story, because up until now, I had never heard of Cycles Gladiator wine, but now I really want to find a bottle. Is it distributed in Oregon?

  7. Hi Sarah,

    Yes, it’s in Oregon. Not knowing your location I can’t give you exact retail establishments, but try Whole Foods or Cost Plus. Do you have QFCs? or email and they will help you out. Thanks for your interest!!!

    Philip Woodrow
    Director of Marketing Communications
    Hahn Family Wines

  8. Thanks Philip for the reply. I am actually in Hood River, Oregon, which is about 60 miles from Portland or 20 miles from The Dalles. We don’t have a Whole Foods or Cost Plus here, I would have to go to Portland. I will def. keep an eye out though next time in Portland.

    Thanks again!

  9. Jeremy –

    How odd! Like that porn star wine that got 90 points WA?

    How to square with this?

  10. I was surprised to see the Cycles Gladiator label in the first place. My father was in the bicycle business and, on a trip to France to speak to the Motebecane manufacturers, back four decades ago or more, found a cache of 1900s era posters and brought them home. The Cycles Gladiator poster was one of his favorites. It sat in his office for years. Now it is in my brother’s house.

    He gets any unopened bottles of Cycles Gladiator that come my way.

    And, the wines, esp the Syrah, have shown very well in my tastings.

  11. I heard about this last week on Morning Edition, and promptly put it up on the store’s Facebook. Several people came in later that day just to take a look and grab a couple of bottles.

    I’ve been carrying the Cycles wines for awhile. They a quality-to-price ratio which can’t be beat!

  12. Ok, so one can have “Fat Bastard” and “Bitch” but no nude nymph

  13. No “Person(s) Posed in an Immodest or Sensuous Manner” on Alcohol Ads,:…

    That’s the rule in Alabama, and it’s apparently being e……

  14. Dunno if you caught that latest pingback but that was UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh saying on his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, that Alabama’s action “Seems pretty clearly unconstitutional.” Interesting.

  15. Let’s see… in the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Sweet Home Alabama,” the lyrics diss Neil Young’s anti-racism song, then go on to try to justify Watergate.

    Just sayin’…

  16. […] wine story of the past few weeks that has gained lots of media attention is the story of “Banned in ‘Bama.” (click for […]

  17. I selected Cycles Gladiator Syrah as my pick for my column, Wine Line (Merced Sun-Star, Merced CA) last year. I love the label but the selection was for what’s in the bottle. An excellent Syrah and a tremendous value. Russ Winton-Wine Line

  18. as co-director of champion system/cycles gladiator bike racing team i wonder if alabama would ban us from racing in that state since that lovely image is emblazoned across the front of our uniform. great wines, great sponsor.
    too bad for alabama.

  19. […] monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting! First, up in this censorious summer, Alabama banned an 1895 reproduction of a bicycling nude nymph on a wine label. Now, Maine will prohibit children from “observing” wine tastings as of […]

  20. As a non US resident it seems crazy to me. I could understand it somewhere like Utah but not Alabama. Next stop Islamic Republic of Iran!

  21. […] Leigon told the humorous tale of Hahn’s Banned in ‘Bama blend and how it came to enter the scene, in spite of first amendment issues in the US, where Hahn […]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: