In between the release of Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, John Lasseter officially got into the wine business. His first vintage, per a flavorful profile piece in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat by freelance contributor Virginie Boone, was a private-label run handed out as Christmas gifts in 1997.
Today, things are much different. The chief creative officer of Disney and Pixar has four different vintages priced to sell on the open market, courtesy of a full-time winemaker and an ever-expanding plot of land in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County. He has also gone Ratatouille with his wine names, opting for the French monikers of Enjoué, Chemin de Fer , Paysage and Amoureux:
“I’m a storyteller and [my wife] Nancy’s a great storyteller, too, and we decided that for each one of our wines, there’s a reason we make it based on things we love, experiences we’ve had and so we crafted stories around each one,” John said.
Chemi de Fer has a particularly special connection to John’s heart, because withing his syrah vineyard is an actual full-size narrow-gauge Porter steam locomotive that once belonged to John’s mentor, Disney animator Ollie Johnson, who started his career with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
At prices ranging from $24 to $40, each bottle of Lasseter wine easily exceeds the mark of today’s sometimes contentious 3D movie admission tickets. If and when Pixar puts out a winery-flavored short, it will probably be a safe bet that this enterprise was the inspiration.