TV

The Incredibly Tone Deaf ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Wines Were Announced Then Immediately Cancelled

How does such a terrible idea get this far?

In what may be one of the worst marketing exercises in existence, a line of wines themed around The Handmaid’s Tale — a show about a brutal theocracy that ritualises rape — have been cancelled just hours after they were announced.

Launched by wine company Lot 18 through an exclusive scoop with People, the wines were promoted as a line “celebrating three of [the show’s] strongest female characters”. The hooded Handmaids Offred and Ofglen are reds,”naturally”, while the villainous Serena Joy is a white, obviously.

We can imagine the brainstorm that led Lot 18 here (apparently it was not affiliated officially with MGM or Hulu, respectively the show’s production and distribution companies). The joke is that you really need a wine after watching the show’s torturous scenes, am I right? As Jezebel’s beautiful headline puts it, “blessed be the fruit, ladies!!”

The joke, besides not being funny, is, of course pretty off for the show’s dark tone. In fact, it’s not a show that lends itself to merchandise at all.  But that didn’t stop the Lot 18 copywriters from trying their best turn Offred’s struggle to escape the nation of Gilead into an analogy of the drinker’s inability to resist their so-good-it-should-be-forbidden drop of plonk.

“Completely stripped of her rights and freedom, Offred must rely on the one weapon she has left to stay in control — her feminine wiles,” one description read. “This French Pinot Noir is similarly seductive, its dark berry fruit and cassis aromatics so beguiling it seems almost forbidden to taste. But it’s useless to resist the wine’s smooth and appealingly earthy profile, so you may as well give in.”

Similarly, Ofglen’s Cab Sav boasts a “rebellious” profile, in honour of how her rebellious spirit saw her clitoris removed in season one. “Pleasure and enjoyment may be forbidden in Gilead,” the description read, “but it can certainly be found in this memorable wine.” Cheers!

Meanwhile, Serena’s Bordeaux Blanc has a “restrained at first” taste, but is rewardingly “layered” with complex notes — much like a woman who stays relatively afloat in a theocratic society by pushing others further down. Yum!

It is not surprising that the wines were slammed almost immediately after they were announced.

A few hours later, Lot 18’s website had erased all mention of the line, while People added a meek update to the beginning of their article, reading, “After further consideration, Lot18 and MGM have decided to cancel the line of wines inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Well, we’ll drink to that.