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‘Bachelorette’ rejection doesn’t slow down Sonoma winemaker Ben Flajnik

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 | Posted by

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Sonoma’s bachelor Ben Flajnik may have faced rejection from The Bachelorette’s Ashley Hebert on national television Monday night, but the day after he was back at work on his increasingly popular wine brand.

Evolve Winery's Mike Benziger and Ben Flajnik at the Benzinger winery in July. (Courtesy photo)

Speaking from San Francisco, Flajnik said Evolve Winery, based in Sonoma Valley, is working on launching a new brand of value wines called “Epilogue,” which will be ready for sale in September. But he also now just may be Northern California’s most eligible bachelor.

With his newly revealed single status, Flajnik said he has been receiving a lot of attention from single ladies.

“There have been quite a few submissions to the Evolve Winery website”” Flajnik said. “I think I have thousands of emails, but I haven’t looked at them.”

Flajnik also said he hasn’t been paying much attention to his growing chorus of online admirers.

“The whole reason I’ve been able to maintain a level head is I don’t read the blogs, I don’t read Twitter,” Flajnik said. “That’s the best way I’m going to stay the same through this.”

Concentrating on work also helps.

“We’ve had a lot of exposure due to the show, and we wanted to expand into a different price bracket,” Flajnik said. “We wanted to be able to reach more consumers.”

On Evolve’s website, the 2009 and 2010 Sauvignon Blancs were priced at $19.99 a bottle, and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was marked $29.99 on Tuesday.

The new wines they’re producing, a Chardonnay and a red blend, will be priced between $9.99 and $13.99, Flajnik said. They plan to sell the new product in select markets in California, New York, Texas and Chicago.

“What we always try to do with our wines is over-deliver on product and not on price,” Flajnik said.

Flajnik said the Evolve wines are selling much faster than they did before the show, though he declined to reveal sales figures.

Sales of Evolve wines at Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma have grown by 25 to 30 percent since the show aired, said shop owner Wendy Smith. Smith said she’s not one to watch a lot of television, let alone shows like “The Bachelorette.” She said they’ve been selling the wine just because it’s good.

“We looked at each other and said, why is Evolve selling so much recently?” Smith said. “And then we found out a couple weeks later he was on a TV show.”

In a few weeks’ time, the Valley Wine Shack may get another dose of Bachelorette fan fever when it hosts a tasting of Evolve wines on Aug. 24 from 6-8 p.m. Smith said she expects Flajnik to attend and is considering bringing in some “big guy friends” to act as bouncers at the door of the small shop.

“Someone’s going to see it and post it on Facebook, and that’s going to be the end of the day,” Smith said.

But if Flajnik is picked as the lead for the next season of “The Bachelor,” which has occurred in past seasons for finalists, then who knows if he will be there for the tasting. While Hebert and Bachelorette winner J.P. Rosenbaum were doing cuddly interviews on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, Flajnik was declining to speak about his future plans.

Still the fans will come. Benziger Family Winery, where Flajnik and partners Mike Benziger and Danny Fay bottle their Evolve wines, has been aflutter with fans, said Paul Moran in the tasting room.

“Certainly up to the finale, we were seeing people come in every day, saying ‘Can we see Ben?’” Moran said. “More bodies equals more sales, so that had a positive effect for us.”

Moran said it was weird to watch his friend on national television, but said the show’s portrayal of Flajnik as a sensitive guy with a good sense of humor was exactly right.

“It’s her loss,” Moran said about Hebert. “He’s a great guy, but he can do better.”

  • Gablegirl

    Indeed, Ben seems to be a great catch for the right woman. The timing (+ Ashley) was not right!

    I anticipate he will fall in love sooner rather than later.

    Gotta go – gonna check out the winery’s website and see if I can order a bottle or two!!!

  • gaylfeb1

    He can do far better than Ashley for sure. She made a foolish decision. Most of the bachelorettes are so self absorbed. They NEVER talk about supporting their future husband’s dreams and goals or discuss what is important to HIM. It’s all about her and her “feelings”. A sure recipe for divorce. He is well rid of her.

  • Rebecca

    Ben, Constantine and Ames added class to the Bachelorette show. Ben is such a charming, good looking and well spoken young man. Ashley will find out soon enough what a big mistake she made. J.P. seems to be dangerously jealous and although Ashley seemed to be deeply in love with him, I have great doubts he is “madly” in love with her. Like Ashley’s sister, – I just didn’t see it. I believe he has ulterior motives. I am hoping Ben accepts to be the new Bachelor and finds someone truly worthy of him. I admired Constantine so much for being honest. Ames seemed to be such a sweetheart, but don’t short change him, I don’t believe he is a “pushover” by any means – he seems too smart for that. To these three young men, the best of luck in finding love and thanks for proving that “good young men” are still out there.

  • Debbie

    I agree, Ben will be snapped up! I wish my daughter could go and meet him she is 27 and he is a catch! what a sweetie

  • Rhiannon J – Waterloo Canada

    Wow Ben…. You are a very brave young guy and my girls and I wish you all the luck and love. You are well deserving and it will happen…. Enjoyed watching you on the Bachelorette.Would love to have Evolve Wine In Canada Market!

  • Anna Wright

    Ashely said she has such passion and was so attracted to JP. Well news for you Ashley, passion does tend to fizzle after you been together, friendship in a relationship and marriage is more important because you are more likely to succeed in that relationship, what I saw and heard you say on the show is temporary and like anesthesia will wear off. Sorry. you made a mistake.

  • Willow

    Ben seems like such a down to earth guy. With all this TV exposure, women will be coming out of the wood work, and I don’t think he’ll lack for companionship in the future. I think Ashley made a horrible choice, but I wasn’t the one picking, so she has to live with her decision. Me, personally, think Ben was the one to choose….. Good looking, humble, successful and did I mention good looking???? There is something really sexy about a hardworking, humble guy, with boyish charm. Ben’s got that and a winery……… WOOT!!!!!

  • hexx

    He seems like a really sweet kid. I’m glad this snapped him out of his depression if nothing else. Watching him grow on the show was touching.

  • ruby tuesday

    I can’t believe Ashley let Ben get down on one knee & propose when she knew she was going to say no! how cruel. she could have broken it off on their last date and spared him.

    • BL

      Agree. Ben seems like an amazing guy and it’s her loss. Wish him the best. She should have never did that to him. So wrong. We all love you Ben.

  • Londongal

    Ben–what a guy but look a little closer to home for that special woman. She’s probably right under your nose in downtown Sonoma on a Friday night! And please don’t go on The Bachelor–the women all seem like bimbos! You’re too real for that program–you, Constantine & Ames–3 great men with good families and futures–good luck to you Ben.

  • Marianne Bernard

    Call me a hopeless romantic, but did I see you looking at Ashley with that feeling still there at the After The Final Rose episode. I have always liked you and routed for you since the beginning, me being originally from California. I have always thought JP intentions was to win over every guy there – his on camera thoughts during his fight against Mickey in Chiang-Mai, “If somebody has to lose, it cannot be me”. So he did everything to win, did not pull any stops to get her including the scrap book which really touched Ashley, and the declaration, “I am madly in love with you”. I would venture to say, he was probably doing his utmost in the fantasy suite. You, in the other hand, were doing it naturally. Your dates with her were the best places, the most romantic which to me were the most enjoyable to watch. I think your love for her was real. So whatever happens in the future for you and Ashley, only time will tell.

  • Marianne Bernard

    Call me a hopeless romantic, but did I see you looking at Ashley with that feeling still there at the After The Final Rose episode? I have always liked you and routed for you since the beginning, me being originally from California. I have always thought JP’s intention was to win over every guy there – his on camera thoughts during his fight against Mickey in Chiang-Mai, “If somebody has to lose, it cannot be me”. So he did everything to win, did not pull in any stops to get her including the scrap book (Who does that?) which really touched Ashley, and the declaration (after knowing her for six weeks), “I am madly in love with you”. I would venture to say, he was probably doing his utmost in the fantasy suite. You, in the other hand, were doing it naturally. Your dates with her were the best places, the most romantic which to me were the most enjoyable to watch. I think your love for her was real. So whatever happens in the future for you and Ashley, only time will tell.

  • Jeanne

    I am old enough to be your grandmother, so no love interest here. I could really see that you are a charming, intelligent and fun guy, just like my two wonderful grandsons who are so much fun to be around. I am a true enophile so enjoy reading about your winery and it’s progress. A positive from being on the show for sure. You will find true love when the time is right and it will be with someone with much more substance than Ashley Hebert.

  • Sarah

    Sorry to crash the Ben party, but am I the only one who felt like Ben was in a world of his own? He seemed to have a personal “goal” to accomplish by being vulnerable enough to fall in love and let someone in to his life. The last scene was so about him, and hardly about Ashley. He was very self absorbed. I felt it didn’t matter who was in front of him. I disagree with Chris Harrison’s comment that his parting was very genuine. It wasn’t genuine toward Ashley. He was a one man show and that doesn’t make a relationship. Clearly JP’s proposal was WAY more sincere. Pretty obvious even with the show’s editing. Good luck Ben. Now that you have found yourself – open to love, great career, now maybe you can focus on others as well. It was like he had a test, he passed it and was proud of himself. Not enough.

  • Cat

    I agree with comments from Rebecca, Willow, Ruby. Ashley seemed to be an airhead from the beginning, and it’s very lucky for Ben that she chose the jealous/possessive JP.
    If she had said “yes” to Ben, I highly doubt that he could have put up with her for more than a few weeks (if even that) in the REAL WORLD. Ben is a quality guy.

  • http://RealityT.V.magazine Robert

    Yu are so very wrong!

  • Lin

    Have any of you seen a picture of Ashley Hebert’s deceased boyfriend? JP looks almost exactly like him, even to having a shaved head. The only difference is in the eyes…the deceased boyfriend was better looking, but their build, the shape of their head…jawline, etc., is all the same. I think she picked JP for that reason and it is the reason she was attracted to him from the first. I like JP, don’t get me wrong, but he will find out the hard way that Ashley is not the one for him because she did not see him when she looked at him…she saw the one he looks like.

  • Cathy G Feroe

    Rarely see a gentleman on the Bachelor that possesses the qualities I saw in Ben. He is a catch, but not for the external reasons and hype that goes with this process. He knows who he is, seems very grounded, confident and genuinely down to earth, where his roots flourish in his demeanor and easy nature. Wish I had another daughter left for him, as he is a local Sonoma boy (after my own heart) who deserves nothing but the best. Will miss meeting him at the recently canceled Evolve Wine Tasting Event earlier planned for tomorrow night at the Marin Bay Club. Rain check!

  • KATHY

    I would have picked you in a heartbeat, You came in not sure, looked at all the good in Ashley and decided to throw your heart out there. Well, I am glad you are going back on as the bachelor. I only hope and pray that my daughter could be a contestant. She is 26, blonde hair, tiny but a tiger when she has to be. Sweet beyond sweet but can be a lioness protecting her 3 year old son. Her three year old would love the land and help with the grapes and the wine. (With a good teacher!) So would Amanda for that matter. She has a degree in early childhood development which she is excellent at. Worth a thought! : )

  • j

    Didn’t see the connection at all with Ashley .Ben is better off without her and the girls he has to choose from are better . Ben deserves someone to share his life with.

  • Venus

    l

    I hope he is happy, but I pray that the rumors are NOT true that he selected Courtney. He and Kacie B are perfect together

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Dianne Reber Hart is our Sonoma correspondent.

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