Winery to Watch: Fortuity Cellars

There is nothing fortuitous about growing, producing or selling wine.

But one of Yakima’s newer wineries, Fortuity Cellars, embraces the fortuitous moments that life offers.  “Chance moments are presented to you at various times,” says Emily Fergestrom co-owner of Fortuity Cellars. “It is what you do with them that can impact or change your life in amazing ways.”

It was a chance meeting five years ago. Emily Christensen (Fergestrom) and Lee Fergestrom, both living in Seattle were preparing for a blind date–with other people.  The Seahawks were in the playoffs, each couple was planning to watch the game. Lee arrived early and saved a seat. His date never showed up, but he didn’t relinquish the available seat.

Emily showed up early for her date. The place was packed, with the exception of one empty chair.  Emily asked if the seat was available, Lee of course said “yes”. They hit if off beautifully, before Emily left to meet her date, Lee asked for a formal date later in the week.  This was the first of many fortuitous experiences the two will have.

They were married two years later and began looking at what they wanted to do for the next twenty.  Lee had worked in start-up businesses and Emily in various roles in communications/media relations. Together, they wanted to make a change. Starting their own business was a natural choice. But what kind of business?  “We wanted something experiential that included food and/or wine,” said Emily. They decided that starting a winery fit their criteria.

They chose Yakima Valley as the place to be. Finding property became another chance experience.  On a whim, Emily scanned a real estate website and found a beautiful tudor event center. They visited the facility, experienced the beauty and the character. “We knew immediately this was the place,” says Lee.

The next step: money. The wine business is a cash flow business, upfront expenses are large. In order to fulfill their vision, they needed funding.

“Fortuity for us is not just chance, you have the responsibility to make sure your experiences become fortuitous moments,” says Emily. Getting to this point was fortuitous, funding the project was not. They took the painstaking steps to secure a small business administration loan. Not only did they receive the funding, they were selected as the 2019 Rising Startup business of the Year for Washington and Northern Idaho.

The production facility and tasting room are currently under construction with completion slated for Fall 2019. Located near Wapato, the new Fortuity Cellars will be in the heart of Yakima Valley offering a spectacular indoor/outdoor site for relaxing and enjoying whatever entertainment is set for the day.

The Fergestroms have been producing wine at Yakima Valley College’s incubator program in Grandview for the past two vintages and will stay through this year’s harvest.

Fortuity 2017 The Fifty Fifty
50% Malbec, 50% Syrah. Dark garnet color, aromas of dark fruit, licorice and leather. Flavors of blueberry, spice and smoke.  I really like the boldness and balance of this wine. $28.

Fortuity 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

Clear pale straw color with passion fruit aromas.Tropical fruit flavors with notes of melon and nectarine. I particularly enjoyed the fruit notes in this wine, it is well-balanced with lots of acidity.  $24.

A path that began with a chance meeting became the mantra of this duo. Regardless of what fortuitous moments Lee and Emily come across, they are sure to transform them into life experiences.

Wines are available by appointment at the Grandview tasting room, at several local retailers and restaurants or at fortuitycellars.com.

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