Who knew rape-based wine could be a bad idea? Apparently everyone except Lot18, the company that conceptualized The Handmaid’s Tale-inspired beverage and then subsequently cancelled it after potential consumers voiced their dissatisfaction with an aperitif that capitalizes on dystopian misogyny and sexual assault.
Huh. Never would have seen that coming. *rolls eyes forever*
The wine was galvanized by the popularity of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which “explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender, and religious politics” and has recently enjoyed an explosive comeback following the novel-based Hulu television series of the same name.
After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.
In the novel and the television series alike, women, including the story’s protagonist, are relegated to baby-making factories, imprisoned in the homes of rich and powerful members of Gilead, stripped of their former identities, and raped in ritualistic ceremonies involving all members and workers in a household, all for the purposes of bringing forth children for the ruling-class couples incapable of producing their own.
If that doesn’t scream, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” I don’t know what does.
According to People, the series of wines originally included a Pinot Noir called ‘Offred’, described as “rich and complex. Lush, fruit flavors of cherry and cassis are complemented by earthy flavors 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”; a Cabernet Sauvignon called ‘Ofglen’, described as “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 a Bordeaux Blanc called ‘Serena Joy’, described as “sophisticated, traditional and austere… 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.”
Sadly for Lot18, not everyone was as excited about drinking a spirit celebrating the complete destruction of women’s autonomy and the basic freedoms Americans hold dear as the company thought they would be. Following announcement of the release of the line, many took to Twitter to express their objections, with several openly mocking the company.
If only there were signs *gestures to entire world climate* that this might not be a good idea.
Lot18 has since deleted their website content featuring the wines, which means I guess we’re all going to have to go back to our former, non-sexual-prisoner-inspired beverages of choice. Darn.
As for me, I’m just going to be over here busily preparing my resume for marketing jobs whilst sipping some Two Buck Chuck. First recipient of my CV: Lot18. I’m guessing quite a few positions have suddenly opened up.
Photo Credit: Lot18