Historic Downtown Ellensburg site to open first, followed by Tumwater Craft District
Wapato, Wash. – Yakima Valley based Fortuity Cellars announced today that it is expanding into not just one, but two other Washington state communities: Ellensburg Historic District and the new Tumwater Craft District.
“From the very beginning our business plan called for expanding our tasting room footprint to at least three locations. Of course, the pandemic put the brakes on that plan – at least for a time,” said Lee Fergestrom, owner and general manager of Fortuity. “We are now ready to expand and ready to share more Fortuity across the state.”
Fortuity started making wine in 2017 and began selling in 2018 out of a small incubator in Grandview, Wash.. They source from nine different family-owned vineyards throughout the Yakima Valley AVA. Fortuity is the recipient of the 2019 Rising Startup of the Year and numerous wine awards including Editor’s Choice by Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast, Best in Class from Wine Press Northwest, and Best of the Northwest by Sip Magazine. Fortuity completed its new winery production facility in the heart of Washington Wine Country in March 2020, and after a delay from the pandemic, opened for wine tasting in August 2020.
Lee and Emily, along with winemaker Alexis Sells, pushed through the pandemic and are looking forward to nearly doubling production to meet the needs of the three tasting locations. More than 85 percent of Fortuity’s production is Direct to Consumer, with the remaining self-distributed to other small businesses in the Yakima area, Ellensburg, Moses Lake and Seattle. With this expansion, winery operations and tasting room will continue at its current Wapato, Yakima Valley location. Wine tasting hours at this location are currently Friday-Sunday, Spring-Fall; subject to change.
Ellensburg Historic District
“Connecting with community has been a driver for us since Day One,” said Emily Fergestrom, owner and chief brand officer. “Ellensburg has it all. Its small business community is thriving and the historic downtown core is vibrant, featuring fabulous restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, breweries, wine tasting rooms and more.” Emily also noted that the Ellensburg location is just a little more than 90 minutes away from the Greater Seattle area, “This is great news for our Westside club members and really any wine enthusiast heading to wine country.”
Fortuity invited Pacific Northwest artist and Ellensburg resident Erin Oostra to co-locate with them and develop a destination wine and art gallery. The result will be a unique shared space where people can sip wine and be surrounded by incredible art, while interacting with the artist and winery owners and staff.
“I am thrilled to be able to expand my artistic pursuits in this way, but more importantly, I am excited to provide a place for other contemporary artists to share their work,” said Oostra. “”Nuwave” is defined as a new movement or trend, especially in the arts. Under the name Nuwave Gallery, my goal is that this will be a place for welcoming wonder into your everyday life. Nuwave will showcase my passion for the outdoors through the lens of art and design. It will also be a space for people to connect, be inspired and share their creativity.”
The Fortuity Ellensburg location is in the Cadwell-Lyons building on Third Ave. and Main Street. “We are excited that more excellent winemakers like Fortuity are discovering everything Ellensburg has to offer,” said Jodi Polak, co-owner of the Cadwell-Lyons Building with her husband Andy Polak. “Ellensburg continues to thrive and grow as a hub for enthusiasts who come downtown to taste great wines and enjoy the expanding cultural arts community.”
Polak noted that when the Cadwell-Lyon’s Building was originally built in the late 1800s, the Lyon’s Block was the gateway to downtown Ellensburg for travelers and visitors arriving via the Train Depot. The building itself has a rich and storied history. Despite a fire that destroyed the second floor in the 1960s it has continued to house many staple businesses over the past 130 years in the remaining, original, brick spaces of the first floor.
Learn more about Downtown Ellensburg here: https://ellensburgdowntown.org/
Tumwater Craft District
“We are very excited to be part of bringing craft beverage back to Tumwater,” said Lee Fergestrom, who grew up in the Olympia/Tumwater area, and graduated from Tumwater High School. “Washington state is flourishing with world-class wineries, breweries and distilleries and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to share Fortuity wines with my home town.”
Lee and Emily first learned about the Craft District in December 2020 when they drove by the site on their way to visit Lee’s parents, who live in Olympia. Overtaken by curiosity, they drove by several other times that visit and immediately started to do some research before they reached out to John Peters, developer of this site.
“The Craft District is very excited to be partnering with Fortuity Cellars to showcase what true craftsmanship in winemaking looks, feels, and tastes like. Not only does their winemaking style exemplify Craft, their owners are genuinely great people with roots in both Tumwater and the Yakima Valley,” said Peters, owner/member of Craft District, LLC, “We are honored to be a part of Fortuity’s expansion, and to have them adding to the great Washington makers lineup coming to Tumwater!”
The District currently houses Heritage Distilling Company and the South Puget Sound Community College Craft Brewing and Distilling Program. Fortuity will be in the Market Building, along with other craft producers, like a bakery, café, cidery, coffee shop, ice cream, restaurant and tequila bar. Groundbreaking on this building began earlier this month. Fortuity expects to open the Tumwater location later this year and will begin recruiting for a tasting room manager and associates this fall.