Wine Reality Show to Hit the Tube

Show's creators aim to have "a series about wine unlike anything else out there."

Later this year, Public Broadcasting viewers who are fans of reality TV and wine will be able to watch a program that combines both.

"The Wine Makers," a six-part hour-long series patterned after "The Apprentice," was co-created by Kevin Whelan and his San Luis Obispo-based company, Doc City Productions. "The show features people from all walks of life, with no experience in wine, who will compete against each other, and the winner will create and launch their own wine label," Whelan says.

More than 600 applicants auditioned to be on "The Wine Makers" in a six-city casting call this past winter. The final twelve will pair off against each other in order to prove their abilities in wine marketing, wine sales, and winemaking.

The winemaking part of the show will be held at Crushpad, a San Francisco-based custom-winemaking facility. "Contestants will be judged on wine blending, package design, bottling, and all the other production areas," explains Crushpad's founder, Michael Brill, adding, "They have to show that they have what it takes to create and launch a wine company." Crushpad's resident winemakers will help guide contestants through the winemaking process, but the final decisions will be up to the competitors.

Whelan previously worked with Mark Burnett, who produced both "The Apprentice" and "Survivor." This will be his third wine-related show for PBS.  "My partner, Jennifer Levine, and I wanted to produce a series about wine unlike anything else out there," he says.

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