Blessed be the fruit?
Not quite, as MGM’s attempts to produce a wine tie-in to its hit dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale corked almost as soon as it was announced.
Earlier on Tuesday, People revealed that MGM and wine seller Lot18 was releasing a collection of wines inspired by the Hulu show — two reds in tribute to Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel‘s characters, Offred and Ofglen, and a white wine for Yvonne Strahovski‘s Serena Joy.
Under the eyes of the marketing folk at MGM, the copywriters clearly went to town with their descriptions, describing Offred’s 2017 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir as “rich and complex” and a wine “that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.”
Ofglen’s 2017 Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was “a daring testament to the heights that Oregon Cabs can reach, featuring concentrated flavors of cherry, plum and coffee bean that give way to a warm, spicy finish.” And most fancifully of all, Serena Joy’s 2016 Bordeaux Blanc was “sophisticated, traditional and austere,” and while the “wine may initially come off as restrained, a few sips reveal it to be hiding layers of approachable white grapefruit and lemongrass, backed by weight and concentration.”
Though the producers may have considered the wine a bit of harmless fun, social media was less forgiving, and the backlash on Twitter was as harsh and swift as Aunt Lydia. Pundits queued up to slam the promotion as tone deaf at best, egregious capitalism at worst.
Hey @hulu I had some better ideas for merchandising! Handmaid’s Tale the pepper spray. Handmaid’s Tale the IUD. Handmaid’s Tale the enormous donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. https://t.co/gIRH62wdyf
— Jess Zimmerman (@j_zimms) July 10, 2018
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” “Sure, you bet.” “Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.” “Haha, love it.” pic.twitter.com/9089Cveu0G
— Margaret Lyons (@margeincharge) July 10, 2018
Finally a product that combines everything I hate: wine, marketing, unbridled capitalism, and authoritarian patriarchal dystopias where women are chattel! https://t.co/Hd7242e2nR
— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) July 10, 2018
The backlash was so vehement that MGM and Lot18 had pulled the collection by the end of the day, according to a report in Entertainment Weekly.