Local musician works to build San Diego rock music scene

George Esteban and his band, The Wine Club, are looking to make it in the music industry
George Esteban sings on stage at the Kensington Club, March 30, 2023. Photo courtesy of Myro Yartym/The Wine Club
George Esteban sings on stage at the Kensington Club, March 30, 2023. Photo courtesy of Myro Yartym/The Wine Club

George Esteban bounced around the Kensington Club as he waited to take the stage last May. 

He and his band, The Wine Club, have been performing and putting on shows here for a couple of years and they seem to be in their element. 

Esteban went from table to table, greeting attendees and cheering for each band as they finished their set. 

The 24-year-old San Diego native and former City College student is well aware of the challenges that come with trying to make a career as a musician.

“I don’t think anyone knows how to maneuver a career path as a professional musician,”  Esteban said. “There’s no course you can take.”

As a kid, he picked up the guitar and never put it down. He taught himself to play and learned to record music using his phone. 

When others were settling into traditional career paths, Esteban knew he wanted something different.

“When you graduate high school, the counselor wants you to have this straight and narrow path to become an accountant,” Esteban said. “And, I don’t know, I was just like, ‘I want to be a professional musician and I want to make a living.’”

And from there, he set about making it happen. 

In the beginning, it was just him writing, performing and recording the music. 

The band name was a spur-of-the-moment decision when a promoter asked for his band name at a gig. He came up with The Wine Club, an homage to the country rock group, The Gun Club.

Fabian Perez plays the base at the Kensington Club, March 30, 2023. Photo courtesy of Myro Yartym/The Wine Club

“The Wine Club, as a band, started out as me recording myself,” he said. “I kind of learned how to record music that way by necessity.”

The band, which Esteban describes as “classic rock meets pop punk” put out its first album, “Took a Trip in 2020. 

As time went on, the band grew. 

In 2021, The Wine Club added two new members. Esteban met Fabian Perez while studying music at City College, who now sings and plays bass for the band. He was also joined by Fancesco Benvenuti, an experienced drummer who played in Europe before coming to San Diego. 

After a number of bad experiences performing at other people’s events, Esteban decided to do it himself. 

He recruited a lineup of local bands and put on Fiesta Fest on Fiesta Island. 

The Wine Band also started performing at the Kensington Club. 

Fancesco Benvenuti plays the drums at the Kensington Club, March 30, 2023. Photo courtesy of Myro Yartym/The Wine Club

Along with organizing events, Esteban has taken the skills he learned and is using them to build up other bands. 

He has worked with a number of local groups, including Teaspoon, who performed alongside The Wine Club at the Kensington Club recently. 

“If you’re putting on events, … I think it’s good for organic growth if one band sounds like the other and their fan bases cross-pollinate with each other,” Esteban said. “You’re building your own scene.”

Currently, The Wine Club is working on their next album. Their new single “Roll the Dice” is out now.

The band is getting into sync licensing to promote their music. 

This is how musicians license their music to accompany visuals, either by having it included in a larger sound library or by working directly with filmmakers. 

It’s a complicated process, but the royalties can be very lucrative.  

You can find The Wine Club’s music on all major platforms. Follow them on Instagram @thewineclub_official to see their upcoming events.

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