Kendall-Jackson president Rick Tigner will make his acting debut Jan. 29 when he stars (if that's the right word) in the CBS show Undercover Boss.
According to a press release, viewers will get to share his experience as he works in the vineyards and cellar while wearing a disguise, including exploring parts of the winery never before seen on television.
It's been an emotional year for Tigner and everyone at K-J following the death of founder Jess Jackson, which, coupled with the tough economy and subsequent sale of numerous family-run California wineries, inevitably led to widespread speculation on the future of the iconic California brand. However, Tigner, who was promoted to Jackson Family Wines president in May 2010, remains confident that the company, which owns more than a dozen labels, is poised for even greater things ahead.
Tigner's upcoming appearance is another example of the wine world's increasing appeal as a prime-time crossover vehicle. PBS' The Wine Makers and Vine Talk attempted to capitalize on the increasing popularity of wine here in the U.S., but never quite reached the desired audience. Sonoma winemaker Benjamin Flajnik, however, grabbed the American reality TV audience last year on The Bachelorette and parlayed that into his own starring role as this season's Bachelor, which premiered on ABC earlier this week. The show pulled in nearly 8 million viewers, despite going up against two barnburner college football games (Oregon beat Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl; Oklahoma State beat Stanford, 41-38 in OT in the Fiesta Bowl).
A few years ago, a TV writer contacted some of us editors at Wine Spectator requesting ideas for a pilot based loosely around Cheers. Only this scripted sitcom took place (naturally) in a wine bar. Nothing materialized at the time, but it doesn't sound so farfetched now. We may not be far from the day everybody knows their winemaker's name …
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