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Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Ben Flajnik in Ann Arbor: I'm done with 'The Bachelor' franchise

By Danielle Arndt


Dexter resident Donna Draper, left, takes a photo of her daughter Jessica with "The Bachelor" star Ben Flajnik, right, and his business partner Mike Benziger at the Meijer on Jackson Road in Scio Township on Thursday afternoon.

Angela J. Cesere |

Ben Flajnik, the most recent star of ABC’s longest-running reality TV show “The Bachelor,” was in Ann Arbor Thursday signing wine bottles.

But don’t ask him about the show. He’s here to talk wine.

“Honestly, I just write it on a piece of paper, normally, if it’s a ‘Bachelor’-heavy crowd,” Flajnik said. “I just write, ‘No. 1: Yes, I’m still with Courtney (Robertson). No. 2: No, I’m not watching the show. And No. 3: No, there’s no wedding date set.’ And I just slap it on the end of the table, and that’s the end of their questions. Then we can move on.”

Flajnik, a winemaker from Sonoma, Calif., is touring Michigan this month with his business partner and close friend since sixth grade, Mike Benziger. The two have been promoting Envolve Winery, which they started in 2008, and their newest brand of wine, Epilogue, which runs about $15 per bottle. Their higher-end brand, Envolve, runs between $20 and $40 per bottle.

Flajnik and Benziger visited the mitten state in late February and were pleased with the results of the mini-tour. This summer’s trip has included stops in Petoskey, Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Howell. They are headed to Birmingham and Detroit next, Benziger said.

“You guys drink a lot of wine here in Michigan, and we like that. So as long as you keep drinking wine, we’re going to keep coming back,” Benziger said, adding Michigan is one of Envolve’s top 10 states as far as sales.

He said his friend’s appearance on “The Bachelor” has not helped their business as much as people might like to think.

“It definitely has broadened our reach to other consumers, but we have always had a cult following. Our wines are very well made and very well stored,” he said.

“And we like to maintain that standard, too,” Flajnik interjected. “We don’t just whore ourselves out because I was on a national television show. That’s not what we’re about.”

Benziger said: “We wouldn’t be here putting our names on the bottles if the wine wasn’t good.”

The duo brought with them five Envolve wine varieties for people to taste and hosted two bottle signings, one at Kroger on South Maple Road and another at the Meijer on Jackson Road, Thursday afternoon.

In 2008, Flajnik and Benziger started their wine business with about 350 cases. Four years later, they are up to about 20,000 cases between both brands, Benziger said.

“We want people to understand how we make our wines, what we do with our wines and why we do it, essentially,” Flajnik said.

The duo does not own vineyard property in Sonoma, but rather signs long-term leases with growers. They have a facility in Glen Ellen, Calif., and are in the process of opening a tasting room on the square in Sonoma.

The intricacies of wine country in the Sonoma Valley were played out on “The Bachelor” when Flajnik took the women on the show to Sonoma for a series of dates. The show’s premise is about finding love for one eligible man. The pre-selected bachelor starts with 25 women and narrows it down to one to be his future wife.

Flajnik, 29, selected Courtney Robertson, a model from Scottsdale, Ariz., who was perceived as the villain by the other members of the cast.

Five of the women from Flajnik’s season will appear on the upcoming Season 3 of “Bachelor Pad,” a spin-off from the original on ABC where contestants compete for love and $250,000.

Flajnik said he was not aware that the other women (runner-up Lindzi Cox, Blakely Jones, Jamie Otis, Jaclyn Swartz and Rachel Trueheart) would be participating in “Bachelor Pad,” which premieres July 23.

“They asked me to do it, I said not in a million years,” Flajnik said Thursday in Ann Arbor. “I wish them (the women) nothing but the best. I’m done with the 'Bachelor' franchise.”

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Angela J. Cesere |



Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:28 a.m.

I spotted Ben at Carson's Restaurant, and he looked professional in a casual, non pretentious way, while doing business promoting his wine. He seems like such a nice guy and I enjoyed learning about his wines and winery from the Bachelor and Bachlorette season.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

"The duo does not own vineyard property in Sonoma.." Classic, the duo has someone slap a label on a bottle and the rest is marketing. Visit one of the many Michigan Winerys, speak with the owners, and feel the passion they have for their grapes. Much like the local brewers it is what they love. Not simply a rebranded product.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

I think I'm probably the only viewer who liked Courtney, if only because the editor of this pretend-reality show clearly wanted us to dislike her (Bachelor is my reality show guilty pleasure). But, please, don't pretend you would be going on this tour and getting any kind of a crowd thousands of miles from home if it weren't for the national television exposure. It seems kind of disingenuous for Ben to say he wants nothing to do with the franchise. He knew exactly what it was when he signed up. And he has a pretty model to play with for a few months as a result.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

I want nothing to do w/ the bachelor...... after all the only reason people are buying my crappy wine is because they saw me on the bachelor. By the way, I'm not proud to say that I watched the show a couple times and this guy is absolutely the type of guy that would drink wine.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

What - all the men who enjoy sipping wine got angry and down voted me a -8 ? haha Out yourselves! :)

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11 p.m.

Celebrity worship is an ugly thing.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

I thought the Jackson rd. meijers was considered the "walmart meijers?"


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

Coming from the guy who doesn't realize the company name is "Meijer"?