Jilted Sonoma, Cal., winemaker Ben Flajnik begins a new quest for love as this durable matchmaking contest's Season 16 bachelor. In the opener, Ben meets and greets his 25 would-be partners at the entrance to the Malibu mansion. (One arrives on horseback; another's older than he might have suspected.) And he receives his first kiss before the opening cocktail party begins. Then come push-ups, a gangsta rap and a first-impression rose, and before the evening's over Ben pares the field to 18.
The 18 remaining bachelorettes travel to the lush vineyards of Ben's hometown of Sonoma, California. Two lucky women - Kacie B. and Courtney - will get romantic one-on-one dates, but will it further their chances of being Ben's dream woman, or will they be sent home? The group date will give 12 bachelorettes an unusual opportunity to show Ben another side of their personalities as they audition and perform roles for a community theater production - written entirely by children. However, it doesn't take long for the women to get under each other's skin and ramp up the drama, ending in uncontrollable tears for some of the bachelorettes.
Ben returns to his hometown, San Francisco, with the 16 remaining gals and goes skiing with 11 of them. (It's a hilly city.) He takes another to City Hall, where they're serenaded by singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson. There's also a cocktail-party crasher, a woman who already knows Ben and wants to add her name to his list of romantic possibilities. The official bachelorettes are not amused. One woman faints and another breaks down in tears at the rose ceremony, and when it's over 13 have roses.
Ben and his 13 would-be soul mates visit Park City, Utah, for kayaking, rappelling, fishing, horseback riding, a rain-soaked dinner and a concert by country star Clay Walker. Before Ben sends two gals packing, there's romancing and sniping as well. Next stop: Puerto Rico.
Ben visits Puerto Rico with the 11 remaining women. Nine of them "play ball!" at Roberto Clemente Stadium in Carolina (the Hall of Famer's hometown), and one gal has Ben to herself for a tour of Old San Juan, where they happen upon a wedding. Another bachelorette goes yachting with Ben. But when he returns to his hotel, he's surprised by another gal, who taunts the others about it at the rose ceremony. Then Ben and nine women head to Panama.
Ben escorts the nine remaining bachelorettes to Panama for a visit to an Embera Indian village and, for one gal, a one-on-one date on a deserted island. Before three are sent home, there's also a two-on-one date that features salsa dancing. Next stop: Belize.
The pressure mounts as the crucial hometown dates loom, but first Ben and the remaining six bachelorettes continue their exciting trip around the world to the beautiful country of Belize. Only one rose will be available and that will be on the group date. However, that woman will be guaranteed a hometown visit. Lindzi and Ben hover over one of the world's most impressive sink holes - the famed Great Blue Hole - as she tries to overcome her fear of heights. Emily is treated to an outing to the majestic limestone coral island of Caye Caulker, where, after a few rocky weeks, she hopes to get her relationship with Ben back on track. And Courtney, who is desperate for another individual date, gets her wish, but Ben begins to have second thoughts about this frontrunner after she reveals her attitude about taking him home. And the three women on the group date dive with sharks and must conquer their fears if they are to have a chance at a rose. Ben has a real surprise for the women, too, when he cancels the cocktail party.
Ben visits the hometowns of his final four contenders. He's greeted by a marching band and skeptical parent in one town, and a protective mom in another. He also goes on a shopping spree before returning to L.A., where one bachelorette receives bad news. For the other three, there are roses and a trip to Switzerland.
The three remaining ladies travel to Switzerland where each is granted a full-day date with Ben and possibly the night; a surprise visitor demands answers from Ben; after romantic one-on-one time with each woman, Ben must choose to send one home.
Ben faces bachelorettes he rejected-and one, Courtney, who's still in the running. One of the castoffs, Emily, has some things to say about Courtney. There's also an appearance by 2011 contestant Shawntel, a season review and profiles of the finalists, Courtney and Lindzi.
Season 16 finale: Ben and finalists Courtney and Lindzi are in Zermatt, Switzerland, for Alpine fun (skiing with Lindzi; a helicopter ride over the Matterhorn with Courtney) and that final rose. But first, there are meetings with Ben's mother and sister, and they're concerned about Courtney's reputation for not playing nicely with the other bachelorettes.
Ben and the special bachelorette that stole his heart sit down with Chris to discuss their plans for future; the couple is reunited, after which they assess the current state of their relationship; questions and concerns from others are fielded.