December 15th, 2011
12:56 PM ET
The last time viewers saw Ben Flajnik, he was feeling the sting of Ashley Hebert turning down his proposal on this summer's edition of "The Bachelorette."
But Flajnik overcame the rejection, returning to California to work on his winery, hang out with friends and family, and even spend time with actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Now, Flajnik is stepping back into the spotlight, this time as the newest "Bachelor." The 16th season of the ABC series, premiering January 2, features 25 women competing for Flajnik's hand in marriage.
"When I got home from taping 'The Bachelorette,'" I threw myself back into work, friends and family," Flajnik said. "When I got the call asking me to be the next 'Bachelor,' I thought about it long and hard before I agreed to do it."
Flajnik completed production on the show last month, and can't reveal what happens when all is said and done. But he did say he's pleased with how things turned out.
"I'm happy with my decision [to do] the show. It was a therapeutic adventure," he said. "I have no regrets with anything I did, and I believe all of my decisions were well thought out."
Flajnik also praised the show's producers for this year's contestant pool, saying he wanted "The Bachelor" to seek professional, working women who are "experienced" and "worldly" for his tastes.
"It's important for me to be with someone who's well-rounded, cultured and flexible," Flajnik noted. "No two days are the same for me in the wine industry, and I hope my partner can accept that."
Flajnik also took a jab at critics who say he's using the "Bachelor" franchise to boost his business, Evolve Winery. "I really try to differentiate between business and show-related things, as I do take my business seriously."
As for his time with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Flajnik would prefer to take the high road.
"She reached out to me and wanted to visit the winery with friends. We went out to dinner and chatted about life and experience. She was a nice girl, but I couldn't imagine being with a Hollywood celebrity."
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