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BEN FLAJNIK

By  CATHY BUSSEWITZ

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

It has been billed as the most controversial season in “The Bachelor’s” history.

And millions of giddy fans nationwide are getting ready to watch Sonoma’s Ben Flajnik as he takes on engagement, heartbreak or both on ABC’s finale tonight of “The Bachelor.”

PHOTOS: View the gallery of the final episode of “The Bachelor

But as rumors have been flying about cheating and other scandalous affairs, Flajnik and his business partners have been traveling the country making sales calls to promote their wine.

“I’m sure its not that controversial,” Mike Benziger, partner at Envolve Winery and a close friend of Flajnik, said about the show. “I’ve been on the road for the last nine weeks. To be honest, I haven’t even seen this season.”

Flajnik himself declined a request for an interview, writing in an email to The Press Democrat that he’s “just done with my obligations as the bachelor and ready to get back to wine.”

Two women are left as Flajnik’s potential bride, and they could hardly be more different.

Courtney Robertson, a model, rubbed her co-contestants and many viewers the wrong way, making snide comments about the other women behind their backs. Lindzi Cox, on the other hand, was portrayed as a beautiful, down-to-earth woman who captured Flajnik’s first impression rose when she rode up to the mansion on a handsome horse.

In tonight’s episode, Flajnik is expected to propose to one woman and reject the other. Spoilers have gone viral on the Internet, and fans are buzzing about whether Flajnik will choose the nice girl that everyone likes or the mean model that he really can’t trust.

The season has followed Flajnik and 25 contestants as they traveled the world, from Sonoma to San Francisco, and then as far as Belize, Switzerland and Puerto Rico. On the hometown dates, when Flajnik visited the Bible Belt to meet the family of Kacie Boguskie, he voted her off the show after learning that her parents were teetotalers. That doesn’t really fly in Wine Country.

As the final airtime draws near, it’s beginning to sound like Flajnik is ready to be done with his brush with fame, although the tabloids might not be ready to be done with him.

“Ben was just in here today,” said Wendy Smith, owner of Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma on Friday. “He was in a good mood. He just came in here to taste me on a couple wines, he looked busy. He’s super nice.”

It’s anyone’s guess where Flajnik will be as the drama unfolds.

“Ben and I were just in Detroit, Michigan, sold a lot of wine, had a great response so far, and it’s going really well,” Benziger said. “If we’re not too busy, we’ll probably watch it somewhere Monday night.”

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