Disney's Foster said the pressure to pull the Ratatouille wine had been particularly strong from the California Wine Institute, a San Francisco trade group that represents 950 California wineries. He said domestic vintners were upset that the film promoted a French product.
"The California Wine Institute has been relentless in trying to make this an issue" that it's a French wine, Foster said. "But the entire movie is based on a French restaurant and French food and wine."
The institute applauded Disney's move and denied that it had any problem with the Ratatouille wine's Gallic appellation. "We would have been just as upset if it were a California wine," said Nancy Light, an institute spokeswoman.
She said her group complained to Disney because the Ratatouille label, with Remy holding a rat-sized glass of wine, appeared to violate the spirit of the code of advertising standards that all institute members must follow. The code bans the use of any advertising that might appeal to people below the legal drinking age by using photos of very young models or cartoon characters, Light said.
"We were in touch with [Disney]. We basically shared the code with them," she said. The institute also voiced its concerns with the attorneys general of various states, Light added.
In a separate, unrelated action, regulators at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said last week that they had opened an investigation into whether the Disney-Costco wine marketing program might have violated state liquor laws. Matthew Seck, chief of the trade enforcement unit, said he expected to close the inquiry once he got a formal notice from Disney that it no longer planned to sell the Ratatouille wine.