Lauren Bushnell may be best known for getting the final rose on Ben Higgins's season of ABC's The Bachelor, but now the former contestant has moved on from roses to rosé. Bushnell recently partner with her real estate investor boyfriend, Devin Antin, and three of their friends to release their very own wine called Dear Rosé. Refinery29 caught up with Bushnell to hear all about Dear Rosé, her post-Bachelor career path, and what meals are really like on reality television.
The journey to Dear Rosé started because, like most 20-something women, Bushnell can't get enough rosé during the summer. After some time dating, Antin took notice of her love for the drink and started asking questions. Naturally, he quickly became obsessed too. The couple began trying out different rosés at every restaurant and bar they went to and saw there was room for improvement. "We just realized there were a couple that we liked, but we couldn’t really put our finger on one that was consistent and that we could find and could name and could remember," Bushnell tells Refinery29. That's what set them on the path to find "the perfectly balanced rosé."
After identifying an importer and tasting tons of different varietals and blends from a couple different regions in France, Bushnell and her business partners decided that the ones from Provence were their absolute favorite. "Our wine is from a winery in Côtes de Provence. It is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. In terms of notes or flavors and taste, I would say it’s pretty much what you want out of a French rosé. It’s dry and it’s crisp. There are some aromas of red berry and a little bit of green apple, but again, it’s not sweet. It’s very dry, very crisp."
Dear Rosé has actually been out for about a year, but Bushnell and her partners have only just now decided to do an official launch. This June, the Dear Rosé 2017 vintage will officially be released. Right now, the 2016 vintage can be found online and at select wine stores for around $19.99 a bottle.
Often, former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants end up in an endless cycle of reality TV gigs, but that's not what Bushnell aspired to. "My career over the last three years has definitely changed. When I did the little bit of television, I knew that that was not for me," she explains.
Though wine and The Bachelor do happen to compliment each other quite well, Bushnell had no idea her post-Bachelor career would lead to Dear Rosé. "I’ve always been into wine, and growing up on the West Coast, specifically the Pacific Northwest, we had a winery down the street from my house, so it was always something that I was familiar with but never an expert in. I would drink it, I would enjoy it with my family and friends, but I never really knew that I would be here," Bushnell says. "I’ve never been someone who knows exactly what I want to do. I think all the milestones in my career have been things that have not necessarily happened by chance but have not been planned. I think that makes it more exciting but also challenging. Because I don’t come from this wine background, I’m constantly learning. It’s such an interesting industry."
Bushnell tells us that rosé is actually a newer obsession of hers, and that during her time on The Bachelor, she really just drank whatever wine everyone else was drinking because she "didn't want to be picky." Though rosé apparently isn't at the top of the show's drink menu, according to the 28-year-old, drinking wine does play a very important role during filming. "It really just brings you all together. Obviously, we were still trying to get to know each other and we were all in a pretty stressful situation... Wine and The Bachelor go hand in hand when it comes to viewers and even being a contestant on the show. It’s a big part of the franchise, I think," she says.
As most die-hard Bachelor and Bachelorette fans have noticed, viewers often don't see the contestants eat on-screen, which seems pretty strange since virtually their entire days are filmed, both in the mansion and out. Bushnell was able to give us some insight on this no-food phenomenon. "We were in the hotel room, and I was getting ready to go on my first one-on-one date, and I remember one of the producers asking 'Okay, you wanna order room service?'" A confused Bushnell then had to have it explained to her that contestants often don't actually eat the food served on dates. Don't worry, it's not like the producers discourage the contestants from eating on camera. The Dear Rosé co-founder says it's just something they know happens. "You’re so involved in conversation and you’re talking about deep stuff because everything is so accelerated, so you’re not exactly grubbing on your flank steak or whatever while you’re talking about your deepest, darkest things."
We may not see on-screen eating that often, but from experience, Bushnell knows snacking actually can be a nice escape from the show's drama. Laughing, she relays her mortifying caught-on-camera food moment: "I think it was one of the first couple episodes of my season, and there was drama going on at a rose ceremony. The camera somehow found me in the kitchen, and I was taking literally the world’s biggest bite of salad. I don’t know why I thought it was okay to take such a large bite....I was just nervously eating because there was so much drama going on. I was just trying to stay away from it so I found myself in front of the salad bowl," she says. "I remember, of course, on Twitter and Instagram, all these different people screenshotting my mouth wide open, taking literally the biggest bite of salad."