Victor Boutier has done little so far to announce the relocation of his winery to Madison County.
So it was to this vintner’s surprise last week that customers that drove over an hour to reach his new Hudson Rivers Church Road locale.
“Friday after Thanksgiving, we had a couple of people — unexpected — driving all the way from Atlanta to here to buy some wine,” said Boutier, who opened Boutier Winery Nov. 15 in northwest Madison County. “They just found us on the internet. They just decided, ‘Oh, let’s go up there.’”
Boutier and his wife, Mary Jakupi Boutier, will unveil their winery to county business leaders Tuesday at a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
What originated as a mere hobby has grown into a full-fledged business venture for Boutier.
Based out of the Atlanta area for several years, Boutier recently relocated his winery from Ackworth to a 32-acre vineyard near Ila. He purchased the vineyard in 2005.
Building the winery took longer than expected, but now Boutier is ready to get down to the business of making wine.
“Now, since I’m more or less finished with the construction, I can focus on the maintenance of the vineyard,” said Boutier, who is originally from Holland.
With that in mind, he hopes to produce between 3,000 and 5,000 cases annually — maybe more, with prospective international clientele.
“I have some ties overseas, and if people do what they say they’re going to do, I may actually produce a lot more wine than I anticipated,” Boutier said.
Boutier Winery is not a gallo, which mass-produces only a few types of wines. Instead, it is more of a boutique.
“We are a small winery,” he said.
Boutier offers 21 varietals and his wines have gone over well with critics’ palettes.
In fact, Boutier’s chardonnay was voted the best white wine in state of Georgia this year.
“That was really, really a surprise for me because we are only 3-4 years in business and getting that recognition from a professional panel of wine connoisseurs, I was really dumbfounded, actually,” he said.
Commercially, a distributor expects that three of Boutier’s wines will be carried by Kroger state-wide.
“The more the better,” Boutier said.
For area wine aficionados, Boutier Winery offers tours, wine tasting and a 2,500 square foot event room.
It has also become something of a de facto art gallery.
“Right now, we have a lot of art actually because, apparently, we have quite some friends who are artists,” Boutier said. “They all wanted to hang their artwork in my winery. And I said, ‘Well, that’s great.’”
Boutier is already thinking of ways to expand the winery experience.
He plans to clear part of his woods to create a very private wedding gazebo, surrounded by grapevines. He’s also sold two acres of his vineyard to a good friend who wants to build a bed and breakfast at the entrance of the winery.
“So you can get married, you can stay here for the night, you can have your wedding reception,” he said.
Boutier opens his winery just in time for the busy holiday season. He said he’s already fielding calls from companies who want to give Boutier wines with personalized labels as Christmas gifts.
Though it took a bit longer than expected to get settled, Boutier said he’s just happy to be Madison County now.
“I’m thrilled that we are here and we are open; everything is in place,” he said.
What: Boutier Winery ribbon cutting sponsored by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce When: Tues., Dec. 9, at 5:30 p.m. Where: 4506 Hudson Rivers Church Rd.