I turned the TV on the other night, just in case there was something on worth watching, and it was the usual reality show nonsense. But it got me thinking: What would happen if the world of wine got swept up in our celebrity-crazed mass-media culture?
This season's The Bachelorette, after all, gave Sonoma winemaker Benjamin Flajnik his 15 minutes of fame (and he'll get quite a few more next season). Would a show like Iron Sommelier be all that farfetched? Or how about America's Next Top Wine List?
And what if we took it to the extreme and let our imaginations run amok? (Yay amok!) Imagine a network where wine and reality TV merge and the result is surreality. The lineup of shows might look something like this:
Real Housewives of Pauillac: Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Florence Rogers-Pinault create a stir when they throw an extravagant Bastille Day costume soirée and forget to invite the fifth-growth gals. Drama ensues.
Dancing with the Sommeliers: If you think they're quick on their feet in the dining room, wait till you see them bust-a-move on the dance floor. In the season finale, will Rajat Parr finally master the demanding pasodoble, or will Daniel Johnnes cha-cha-cha his way to the top prize?
Keeping Up With the Coppolas: Famed movie director Francis Ford Coppola holds court inside his Napa Valley estate and, amid the usual family squabbles this week, he contemplates adding a roller coaster to his tourist-destination Sonoma winery.
Hoarders: Buried in Wine: Every room of Bob's house is stacked to the ceiling with wine. His wife left him. He lost his job. His dog ran away. He's down to his last dime. He can't bear to sell his collection and yet it's too valuable to drink.
Pimp My Winery: Winemaker Derek Domino is tired of people dissing his winery, a ramshackle redwood barn in Anderson Valley, so the team pimps it into a palace, complete with open-top marble fermentors, diamond-studded oak barrels and a 24-carat gold tasting room bar. Sweet.
Trading Winemakers: Two wine worlds collide when Domaine de la Romanée-Conti exchanges winemakers with Screaming Eagle. Can the Burgundian master stand the California heat or will the Californian find himself out in the cold?
The Real World: Coonawarra: What happens when you put seven young Australian winemakers (of both sexes) together in the same isolated house in the Australian wine region of Coonawarra? Crikey, we won't give it away but it involves a billabong of beer.
Jean-Charles & Gina Plus 8: When two of the world's biggest wine companies merged with the marriage of Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo, little did anyone know that the couple would launch their own dynasty. But eight kids are a handful even for this multinational conglomerate.
And don't miss these other exciting new shows:
So You Think You Can Sniff, Swirl & Spit?
Last Winemaker Standing
My Big Fat Obnoxious Trockenbeerenauslese
Outrageous? Maybe. Silly? Most definitely. But be honest, there's a show in that lineup you'd really like to watch. What would be your favorite wine reality show?
Mark Lyon — Sonoma, CA; USA — November 16, 2011 5:17pm ET
David Peters — Mission Viejo, CA — November 16, 2011 7:09pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 16, 2011 7:59pm ET
Dave Pramuk — Napa, CA, USA — November 16, 2011 8:30pm ET
Lee Hodo — Santa Rosa, CA — November 16, 2011 8:41pm ET
Eric Rietveld — Boston, MA — November 16, 2011 9:10pm ET
Tim Fish — Santa Rosa, CA — November 16, 2011 9:28pm ET
David Peters — Mission Viejo, CA — November 17, 2011 5:41pm ET
Morewine Bishar — Del Mar, California — November 17, 2011 8:51pm ET
James Kolz — Chicago IL — November 21, 2011 5:38pm ET
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