The Club that Began with a Bottle of Cab Franc

This journey began really by geographic coincidence. I spent the last three decades living and working in Central California’s horse industry. Long before the first grapes were grown here, horses were the main attraction. In fact, that’s why I moved here in 1984.

Over time, things changed and many horse farms closed shop and the vineyards took over. My curiosity about the burgeoning new wine community also grew, though as a bystander.





The bottle that did it.
Then one day in 1991 while visiting Gainey Winery in Santa Ynez, and admiring the Gainey family’s collection of horse paintings and bronze statues adorning their tasting room, I unexpectedly got smacked in the palette by their Cabernet Franc.

I distinctly remember my “what-was-that-?” reaction, as I’d never before been so enamored with a sip of wine. Mind you, prior to that my wine knowledge went as far as the grocery aisle and selecting the prettiest bottle.




Being raised a Detroit-born, Irish-Catholic beer-drinking, bratwursts-eating Midwesterner, my palette required a bulldozer to break through my taste buds. And that grocery wine just wasn’t cutting it. The Gainey Cab Franc, in all its layered delight, smashed its way through with delicate tastes followed by a big Bordeaux finish. I’ve never been the same since.

Let’s fast-forward a decade or two. The horse business went bust and I opened a wine tour company and quickly went to work befriending the local winemakers. Through this immersive endeavor I became entwined with the local wine community, learned who was who, and began forging a trail to discovering Central California’s viticultural gems.

As my reputation grew as the top wine guide in the region, so did my following. My access to the local wine community, and affinity for finding its best, small producers were the natural precursor to the founding of the Boutique Wine Club.




That’s how I got here. Now this is where you come in.

Imagine planning a two-day adventure touring Central California’s rich wine country. You do your research in advance. Make appointments with famous winemakers. Visit 10 to 12 wineries. Taste 50 to 70 wines, and fall in love with about a half-dozen.

Sound fun? We live that wine tour adventure every day, and are now sharing this exclusive insight, access and experience with you.

This venture started specifically for friends, family and followers – as everyone loves a wine-industry insider to find and recommend great local wines. Well that guy is me, Bob Sweeney.


You’ve Got the Inside Guy

One of the great benefits of our club is that we’ve merged it with our wine tour business. Now, we will provide exclusive and private wine tours to our club members, offering them ever-deepening access to the region’s best small-batch, handcrafted wine. (And at 20% off standard rates! Bonus!)

We relish the role of storyteller, and will bring you personal insights and interviews with our affiliate winemakers (most of whom are hilarious mad scientists). They all have stories to tell, both about themselves and their wines.

Part of the joy of this project is in connecting our club members personally to the winemakers. My two partners in this venture are seasoned marketing, filmmaking and social media professionals, which makes telling the story all the more rewarding.

We invite you along for the ride and to become part of the story. We invite you to join Boutique Wine Club.

© 2016 Boutique Wine Club. All Rights Reserved.

You are living a great life.
Why not drink great wine?

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