Who: The Bachelor, Ben Flajnik
Current Gig: As the star of ABC's "The Bachelor," Ben certainly has his hands full. But when not stealing hearts and doling out roses on television, Flajnik runs Envolve Winery with his two best friends, Mike Benziger and Danny Fay. Born in Sonoma and currently living in San Francisco, Flajnik is a true Bay Area local. (Flajnik and Associate Editor Robin Wilkey even attended the same dances in junior high school.)
Years in SF: Four and a half.
Neighborhood: Lower Pacific Heights.
Ben, right now you are, quite literally, the ultimate bachelor. Have you always had a gift with the ladies? As a kid I wasn't really afraid of girls. In fact, the first time I broke my arm was because a dogpile of girls fell on me in the playground. I was in first grade. Girls in middle school were a bit different. The school mixers were pretty nerve racking.
It's rumored that the dating scene in San Francisco is one of the most challenging in the country. Do you think this is true? I do think that might be true but mostly because so many people are career driven so they stick to casual dating and don't get serious until their mid-30s. I've actually always been ok with that though.
Fast forward. You are meeting a girl's parents for the first time -- where do you go and what do you bring? Bistro Aix in the Marina and order Envolve Winery Pinot Noir off the list because they just picked it up!
If someone can only try one of your wines, which one should they try? The 2008 Cabernet from Sonoma. That, or the 2011 Rose of Syrah, which will be released in time for Valentine's Day.
How did you become so passionate about wine? Growing up in Sonoma and having Mike (business partner Mike Benziger of Benziger Familly Winery) as a best friend really got me interested in winemaking from a young age. Having access to the Benziger Family Winery and getting some real hands-on experience there during summers fueled the fire. Then in college I started doing some homemade winemaking and beer brewing on the side -- that's when the creative side really came in and made me realize this was something I would love to do.
What's next for the winery? You don't have a public tasting room -- is that a plan for the future? A public tasting room would be awesome in the future -- it's definitely one of our next steps. Right now, we're really excited about our new Rose. We also have a wine club event coming up very soon. That's exciting for us because a major part of our winery is the connection we have with our consumers. By hosting an event, we really get to interact with the wine lovers themselves.
Give me one piece of advice for anyone thinking about starting a winery. Be prepared to be broke. All of your money goes into barrels, bottling, juice and production -- but it all goes into doing what we love.
You hang out with a bunch of guys at the winery. Do your single friends ever ask advice about how to meet people? What advice do you give them? I think the best way to meet people these days is through friends. That, or going on a nationally televised dating show. [Laughs.] And don't be afraid to date in large groups so that you're comfortable and your true colors shine through.
What's the most unusual place you've ever met a girl? This isn't really my style, but I once asked a hostess out at a restaurant where I was eating.
Which restaurant? I'd really rather not say.
Check out this clip of Ben Flajnik scaling the Bay Bridge with one of the contestants on a local episode of "The Bachelor" below: