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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paris Hilton Nude Prosecco Ad Draws Ire of Winemaker

At 26 years old Paris Hilton has managed to make millions from endorsements, star in a cult television show, have four women's fragrances named after her, write two books about her life and release a record album that made it all the way to number six on the Billboard charts. People willingly pay her well into the six figures just for her to appear at parties. She has also managed to star in a sex tape released by an angry ex-boyfriend, spend a few weeks in the Los Angeles County Jail for various driving violations, including a DUI, and earn the title as the World's Most Overrated Celebrity in the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records.

Now Hilton is taking heat from Italian winemakers who don't think she is a worthy endorser of prosecco, the white sparkling wine made in the northern part of the country.

You may recall that Hilton appeared at the 2006 Oktoberfest in Munich to hawk Rich Prosecco. This violated the rules of the festival, which promptly banned Hilton from the event in the future. Now Hilton appears nude dipped in gold in an ad campaign Rich, which is drawing complaints from traditionalists in the vineyards.

It does not help that Rich is sold in cans and comes in original, passion fruit and strawberry flavors. The idea of an American hotel heiress pushing a canned prosecco is a little too much for some, especially winemakers who would rather have an image closer to Champagne.

Reuters quoted Fulvio Brunetta, president of the wine growers association of Treviso, as saying, "Hilton hotels are a sign of quality; Paris Hilton is not."

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