In the first episode, 12 people from all walks of life arrive on the gorgeous Central Coast of California just as the grape harvest kicks into high gear. It's initiation by fire as the contestants work around the clock for 48 hours picking grapes, cleaning tanks and making wine. In the end we separate the mere wine lover from the budding wine maker and find out who has the drive and dedication to become a winemaker.
Table Top Display
Good winemakers need to know how to communicate wine to consumers. In this episode we test their ability to communicate about wine (without using wine) by having them develop a unique "tabletop" presentation that demonstrates the basic characteristics of wine or wine region to the average wine buyer.
Can You Sell It?
Small winemakers, like the ones the winner will become, wear many hats. And one of the most important hats is sales person. The contestants must work as three teams of three at a popular wine tasting bar during one of the busiest weekends in wine country. They are given 15 minutes to learn about the wines they're pouring and each team has only one hour behind the bar to sell the wines. But the customers are no ordinary tourists; the deck has been stacked with wine makers and a sommelier-turn-mole who secretly tests their ability to sell and their knowledge of wine.
Food and Wine Pairing Challenge
Understanding wine's relationship to food is essential if you want to become a good wine maker. The contestants work in three teams of two and are given a challenging three course menu, a budget of only $150 dollars and an hour to find the right wines to pair with the meal. Their guests are wine buyers for some of the country's largest restaurants and retail chains, the executive wine editor for Food & Wine Magazine and top sommeliers who grill them on their choices.
Marketing and Label Design
The four remaining contestants are getting close to the final round. In this challenge they must establish a wine style and also come up with a label design, branding image and business plan for that wine. They will be given access to a team of marketing experts, label designers and advertising agencies to help them, but they have only one week to get it done. In the end only the top three "brands" will make it into the final challenge.
The three finalists begin the process of making their wine. Given a dream list of potential blending components to make their wine, they will be judged by a team of super tasters (famous wine makers, sommeliers etc ...) on how close they have come to creating their target wine. The super tasters rank the wine and deliver the results and help the judges determine who deserves the title of Wine Maker.