Handmaid’s Tale wine range released – then cancelled

A small ‘limited edition’ range of wines based on the television show The Handmaid’s Tale was both announced and then cancelled in the space of a day following an outcry.

Featuring three wines named after the series’ principal female characters – Offred, Ofglen and Serena Joy – the range was being produced by the show’s creator, MGM, and was due to be sold by online wine retailer Lot18.

Respectively the wines were, a Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir, an Oregon Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bordeaux white.

The reaction to the announcement of the new range on Tuesday this week (10 July) was overwhelmingly negative with many on social media platforms piling in to condemn the idea.

Based on a 1985 book by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale imagines a dystopian America where a religious patriarchy has taken over and women are effectively enslaved. Both the book and the television series imply and feature numerous scenes of sexual assault and rape to which women are subjected.

Not only were many people put off by what they regarded as a trivial way to cash in on a popular show that features such serious content, but much of the marketing copy made a number of tenuous and questionable attempts to link the wines with the characters.

The ‘Offred Pinot Noir’ for example was described as, “rich and complex. Lush, fruit flavours of cherry and cassis are complemented by earthy flavours of mushroom and forest floor. We honor Offred with a wine that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.

In the series Offred (her real name is June) is one of the slave class of women and is raped by a government minister with the help of his wife, Serena Joy, whose white Bordeaux is breezily described as: “sophisticated, traditional and austere…”

The outcry was such that having sent out press releases in the morning, MGM and Lot18 announced the very same evening that “after further consideration” the range had been cancelled.

3 Responses to “Handmaid’s Tale wine range released – then cancelled”

  1. Jimmy says:

    What im trying to work out is, are people offended by the wine or by the program it’s associated with? Many popular series sell wine at extortionate prices and they don’t really get as much flack but if it’s one of the most popular drama’s people have a problem with then don’t watch the program or buy the wine. There are far more real issues in the world to be worried about out there than made up stuff. Grow a pair and deal with it, the wine isn’t publicising rape, it’s another way for the studios to fund these amazing programs which aren’t cheap.

  2. Tina says:

    People are offended by the wine because it is associated with a program in which women are systematically enslaved and raped by the government. Can you not see why that’s distasteful? Also, I doubt the licensing fee paid to the studio by Lot18 would make a meaningful dent in its production budget, it’s just extra pocket change to them.

  3. Godfrey Spence says:

    Who on earth ever thought this was a good idea?

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