There will be a new reality show and this one will feature wine making. The new reality will be known as “Wine Warriors” and is set to capture the drama that comes with the business. This also comes with comical editorial commentary from Larry Mawby of L. Mawby Vineyards. Vendittelli, the show's producers, who got the inspiration while he was on a vacation on northern Michigan. While he was there, he witnessed how the staff members interact with patrons.
“We were waiting in their tasting room, and saw their manager, Bill (Autenreith), was just hilarious,” Vendittelli said. “Customers loved him. We saw Brian (Lillie), who runs the bed and breakfast, interacting with somebody, and having fun. I thought, ‘Man, there’s a story here. We could do a show on just them.’”
That was the start of the idea, where Vendittelli and fellow eastern Michigan-based partners Skip Starr, Andy Vance and Mario Tabone began developing “Wine Warriors,” under the Red and White Entertainment, LLC banner. They measured the interest of several wineries on the Leelenau and Old Mission peninsulas, chose the best three.
For the program, they produced an eight-minute demo. They believe that this will be the next “Duck Dynasty”-style cable-TV sensation. The show got its own tagline and it is, “It’s a bumpy road from grape to glass.”
Sony showed some interest, but Vendittelli believe that they will make more profit with the other company. Aside from Sony, there was also PBS that want to be the network of the show, but the producer want to know if there will be other offers.
To make “Wine Warriors” attract more networks, Vendittelli and his partners has marketed the brand with clothing, specialty wines at the participating wineries, a smartphone app and bus tours. The show is set to make its presence at the May 10 Michigan Wine and Beer Fest in Brooklyn.
The show will feature some of the strangest characters at the wineries, and put the spotlight on the region’s rapidly developing business. Northern Michigan brags around 80 wineries, which is known for its white wines.
“For many viewers, it would be, ‘I had no idea they grew grapes in Michigan,’” said Mawby. “For people who do know, it’d be, ‘Isn’t it great that others are finding out about it?’
“The show has tremendous upside potential. It’s just up to Gerry and his guys to make us not look like idiots,” Mawby added, laughing.