News & Analysis

The ‘My Kitchen Rules’ of winemaking: Entrepreneur creates reality show for humble wine lovers

- February 13, 2014 2 MIN READ

Aussie winemaking legend, Rory Kent, is set to challenge the status quo by overlaying reality show principles onto winemaking. He’s calling upon wine lovers to embrace the opportunity to become wine makers in his reality show ‘Wine: Baptism of Fire‘. 

Disrupting the elitist pursuit of wine, Kent is a believer of keeping it real, which means moving past the bow ties and flamboyance often associated with wine. This is the second year Melbourne-based Kent is running this competition, having just launched the application process early February.

Although ‘Wine: Baptism of Fire’ hasn’t aired on television yet, with the recent backing of Renegade Films, 2014 could be the year it becomes the ‘My Kitchen Rules’ of winemaking – which means less steaks and more grapes.

Last year Kent brought on some of Australia’s leading wine makers to mentor contestants – including Michael Glover from Bannockburn and Gilles Lapalus from Sutton Grange. This year, Kent expects the show will draw greater recognition as teams of first-time winemakers will be pitted against each other, further complicated by the chaos of creating fine wine. By the end of the competition, pop-up city wineries will be created in Melbourne and Sydney.

For those who are unfamiliar with Kent’s background, winemaking has run in the family for two generations – in fact, his career began when he assisted with his father’s vineyard. Ever since, he strongly believed in “challenging the status quo” and “connecting new audiences to wine in new ways”.

“I am personally interested in connecting people to wine in new ways – to be able to talk about wine in a contemporary manner that is engaging to novices so people can enjoy wine more,” says Kent.

Kent, who established the Young Gun of Wine Awards in 2007, is currently on the search for a broad range of applicants to participate. The wines are expected to be released in retail stores and restaurants, with consumers deciding the overall winner.

“This reality competition we’re now running is a way to bring fun and entertainment to wine and reach a far larger audience then we could just through events. With that, hopefully we’ll be able to bring some excitement to the topic and bring more people into a wine culture for the new age […] The participants will have an amazing experience. Dare I say, life changing!”

He adds that the contestants will have the opportunity to play with the best grapes in Australia and rub shoulders with some of nation’s best winemakers.

“They get complete creative control in how they make their wine, and then they’re naming the product and we’re releasing it to the market. It’s the best educational experience anyone interested in wine can have,” says Kent.

But beyond having fun and gaining new found knowledge, Kent adds that “there is something to treasure in the process of creation.”

“[The] participants get to make and release into the market their own little wine-babies, and that creative exercise is immensely fulfilling.”

For more information or to apply, visit www.winebof.com.