Plans to market a French Chardonnay under the brand name “Ratatouille,” have been shelved due to a “trickle of inquiries and complaints,” according to Disney spokesperson, Gary Foster.
The wine was to be sold exclusively at Costco. Where did the pressure to halt the wine’s release come from? California winemakers, oddly enough. They were upset that Disney would be promoting a foreign product—a French wine.
Ratatouille is, of course, set in France. From the LA Times:
“The California Wine Institute has been relentless in trying to make this an issue” that it’s a French wine, Foster said. “But the entire movie is based on a French restaurant and French food and wine.”
The Institute, of course, denies that the problem was that the wine was French.
“We would have been just as upset if it were a California wine,” said Nancy Light, an institute spokeswoman.
She said her group complained to Disney because the Ratatouille label, with Remy holding a rat-sized glass of wine, appeared to violate the spirit of the code of advertising standards that all institute members must follow. The code bans the use of any advertising that might appeal to people below the legal drinking age by using photos of very young models or cartoon characters, Light said.
“We were in touch with [Disney]. We basically shared the code with them,” she said.
Disney and Costco are now under investigation by California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for possibly marketing to underage drinkers.
The wine seems designed to appeal to adults who like Disney movies rather than kids who like getting drunk, but what do we know?
In unrelated news, when we were writing this story our spell-checker inexplicably wanted to change the word “ratatouille” to Bouillabaisse. True story.
Disney backs out of wine promotion [LA Times]