Yakima Valley’s Fortuity Cellars Adds Locations in Ellensburg, Tumwater | Business


Yakima Valley-based Fortuity Cellars is expanding this year into two additional Washington communities: the historic district of downtown Ellensburg and the new artisan district of Tumwater.

“Our business plan from the start was to expand our tasting room space to at least three locations. Of course, the pandemic put a brake on that plan — at least for a while,” said Lee Fergestrom, co-owner and general manager of Fortuity. “We are now ready to expand and share more Fortuity across the state.”

Fortuity began making wine in 2017 and began selling in 2018 from a small incubator in Grandview. The award-winning winery, which sources from nine different family-owned vineyards throughout the Yakima Valley, completed its new Sawyer manufacturing facility in March 2020 and opened for wine tasting in August 2020 after a delay caused by the pandemic.

Co-owners Lee and Emily Fergestrom, along with winemaker Alexis Sells, said they look forward to nearly doubling production to meet the needs of the three tasting sites now that they emerge from the pandemic. More than 85% of Fortuity’s production goes directly to the consumer, with the remainder being self-distributed to other small businesses in the Yakima Valley, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Olympia, Gig Harbor and Seattle.

Fortuity’s Ellensburg location will be in the Cadwell-Lyons building at Third Avenue and Main Street.

“Community connection has been a driver for us since day one,” said Emily Fergestrom, owner and chief brand officer of Fortuity. “Ellensburg has everything. Its small business community is thriving and the historic downtown core is alive with fabulous restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting, boutique shopping, breweries and more.”

Jodi Polak, co-owner of the Cadwell-Lyons building with her husband Andy Polak, noted that when it was built in the late 18th century, the Lyons block was the gateway to downtown Ellensburg for travelers and visitors passing through the train depot arrived.

The building itself has a rich and eventful history, Polak said. Despite a fire that destroyed the second floor in the 1960s, it has continued to house many basic grocery stores for the past 130 years in the first floor’s remaining, original brick spaces.

Fortuity invited Pacific Northwest artist and Ellensburg resident Erin Oostra to collaborate with them to develop a wine and art gallery called the Nuwave Gallery.

The Fortuity/Nuwave room can be rented for private events and can accommodate up to 75 guests. Fortuity is working with Yakima-based firm Beyer Architects on the space and expects to open its Ellensburg location by mid-summer, with hours yet to be determined.

Fortuity Cellars owners Lee and Emily Fergestrom.

Fergestroms learned about the Tumwater Craft District in December 2020 while driving past the site on their way to visit Lee’s parents, who live in Olympia. They contacted John Peters, the developer of this site.

The district is home to a Heritage Distilling Company and South Puget Sound Community College’s Craft Brewing and Distilling Program. Fortuity will be housed in the market building along with other craft businesses including a bakery, coffee shop, cider shop, coffee shop, ice cream shop, restaurant and tequila bar.

Groundbreaking for the Market Building began earlier this month. Fortuity is partnering with Seattle Cardinal Architecture PC at the Tumwater site and expects to open later this year.

“We are thrilled to be involved in bringing artisanal beverages back to Tumwater,” said Lee Fergestrom, who grew up in the Olympia/Tumwater area and graduated from Tumwater High School. “Washington State is thriving with world-class wineries, breweries and distilleries, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to share Fortuity wines with my hometown.”

Winery and tasting room operations will continue at Fortuity’s current location in the Wapato area, with wine tasting sessions offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday spring through fall.


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