pixar / disney does wine

Update 27.7.2007(17.7.2007)billn

remyDisney, of all companies, are launching a wine and food range to coincide with their new film. I say “of all companies”, because wine was of-course banned from all their theme-parks! Anyway for their promotion for the new animation, the Pixar produced Ratatouille, they will market in the U.S., wine and food to match – it’s not clear if that’s a long-term commitment!

The film is the story of a kitchen rat (Remy!) in a Paris restaurant, a rat who dreams of becoming a top chef. To match they will market a ‘Ratatouille’ chardonnay – a 2004 white Burgundy from Château de Messey in the Mâconnais, available from August through Costco for ~$13.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 4 responses to “pixar / disney does wine”

  1. James17th July 2007 at 3:59 pmPermalinkReply

    I think Disney’s position on wine has been changing significantly in recent years. I just returned from a week in Florida at Disney World and the Disney Cruise and was surprised to see wine and beer for sale on carts inside Epcot. And on the cruise my wife and I attended a wine tasting at the high-end Palo restaurant. The wines they selected for the tasting weren’t anything spectacular but their aim was to educate the participants and to that end they did a great job.

    Also, California Adventure offers wine tasting at a special area in the middle of the park. I believe this is a joint effort with Robert Mondavi. And, of course, Napa Rose is an incredible wine and food accomplishment for Disney. Sure it’s in one of their hotels adjacent to California Adventure (Grand Californian) and not inside the park but I think it’s an acknowledgment nevertheless of just how serious they are taking wine.


  2. bill nanson17th July 2007 at 4:39 pmPermalinkReply

    All sounds good James, I’m just a little cynical about a corporate entity that suddenly has a thing for wine. I guess it’s a mark (the cynicism that is) of bad life 😉
    Cheers, Bill

  3. Richard Brooks18th July 2007 at 1:50 pmPermalinkReply

    Entirely understandable. As markets fragment into more and more diversity, strong brands will be more and more important in guiding consumer choices. This is another force creating polarisation in the wine world, towards big brand mass market products at one end and high quality artisan products at the other, but with not much space in between.

  4. billn6th July 2009 at 5:37 amPermalinkReply

    Seems my 2 year old cynicism about

    a corporate entity that suddenly has a thing for wine

    was in some way miss-placed. Here’s some interesting background from Greg Shaw, Assistant Professor at the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration for the California State University in Sacramento:

    I wanted to update you a bit on Disney and the company’s history with wine and theme parks. I take it you might already know some of this since the original post was on July 17th, Disneyland’s birthday.

    True, when Disneyland opened in 1955, wine and all alcohol was forbidden in the park. Certainly part of that was related to the idea of creating a “family” atmosphere that was a far cry from the American amusement park (which actually has its roots in the pleasure/beer gardens of Europe).

    Walt Disney World opened in 1971, and while the Magic Kingdom theme park didn’t serve alcohol, Disney did serve alcohol at the property’s resort hotels, golf clubs and shopping areas (the Disneyland hotel in California served alcohol, but the hotel was owned and managed independently of Disney until 1987).

    Epcot (formerly EPCOT Center) opened in 1982, and as part of the desire to create “authenticity” at the international pavilions of World Showcase, wine and other alcohols were served to make France’s café, the United Kingdom’s pub, Germany’s beer garden, Japan’s sushi bar and Italy’s restaurant all the more interesting. And yeah, it shocked some Disney loyalists, but the company realized they had a hit on their hands when reservations at the upscale restaurants in the park would completely fill in less than an hour after park opening. So Disney’s theme park history with alcohol actually began in 1982.

    In 1995 Epcot began its International Food and Wine Festival, which runs for approximately three months each fall. It’s been a huge success, and wineries and restaurants from around the world hold tastings and seminars for guests (some of the celebrity talks require a separate admission charge – up to $150.00).

    In 2001, Disneyland opened its second gate, California Adventure, and the new theme park had a winery sponsored by Robert Mondavi called The Golden Vine. The original plan was for the winery, along with food and wine pairings and wine tastings, was to actually make wine from barrels brought in from Mondavi’s vineyards. That plan was scrapped a year later, and eventually Mondavi no longer sponsored the winery. The winery still hosts tastings though, and now California Adventure also hosts an abbreviated, summer version of the Food and Wine Festival – California Adventure’s festival focuses on California restaurants and wineries naturally.

    All that to say, Disney has still retained it’s no alcohol policy in Disneyland and the similar parks (Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland). But its other theme parks, Epcot, Tokyo DisneySea, Disney Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Animal Kingdom and California Adventure all serve alcohol – especially wine and have done so since their respective opening dates.

    While Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is the company’s largest wine party, the most interesting is still probably The Golden Vine Winery. California Adventure’s concept is a trip to California, and Disney, rather than ignoring or avoiding wine, actually designated a substantial position in the park to California’s wine industry. As elementary and simplistic as it was for those of us that really enjoy wine, the company’s goal was to take family vacationers, like those at Disneyland, and introduce them to wine as a nightly drink and wine tourism as an event in California. Jury is still out on whether or not they succeeded. =)

    One more Disney-wine connection, if you’re interested, is that Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney-Miller, and her husband, Ron Miller (CEO of Walt Disney Company during the time that Epcot opened), own Silverado Vineyards and Winery in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Ron and Diane bought the vineyards in the 1970s, with the winery itself opening in 1981 – so getting wine at Epcot was not only professional, but also personal for Ron Miller. (Miller was removed as CEO in 1984 for Michael Eisner, and since that time, the his relationship with the company has been rocky to say the least – so don’t look for any Silverado wine at Disney’s wine festivals.)

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