The Wine Connection - Andrew Fortgang

Andrew Fortgang is Co-Owner and Wine Director of Le Pigeon and Canard, the critically acclaimed restaurants in Portland, Oregon, that challenge the notions of classic French cuisine. In addition to overseeing two of Portland’s most popular restaurants, Fortgang has cultivated an award-winning beverage program. Under his direction, Le Pigeon and Canard have achieved several honors, including Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian in 2008, 2018, and 2019, Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best American Wine Restaurants, and an Outstanding Wine Program Finalist by the James Beard Foundation in 2020. Fortgang was named a Food & Wine Magazine Sommelier of the Year in 2019 and has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and SevenFifty Daily.

Born and raised in New York City, Fortgang’s profession is also his passion, having started in the kitchen of the famed Gramercy Tavern at the age of sixteen. After spending time in the kitchens of Jean-Georges and Aureole, he graduated from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Fortgang went on to serve as the beverage director at Craft Restaurant, later developing the beverage programs at Craftbar, Craftsteak New York, and Craft Dallas. He and his wife Lauren moved to Portland in 2007, where Fortgang teamed up with chef Gabriel Rucker to oversee his newly opened restaurant Le Pigeon. In 2010 Fortgang and Rucker opened Little Bird Bistro in downtown Portland, which had a nearly decade-long run presenting their vision of a French bistro. In 2013, the Le Pigeon team published their first cookbook, Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird (Ten Speed Press). With a foreword by chef Tom Colicchio and an essay and wine pairing suggestions by Fortgang, the cookbook is a collection of 150 recipes celebrating Le Pigeon’s high-low extremes in cooking.

In 2018, Rucker and Fortgang opened Canard next door to Le Pigeon with a riveting wine list, and food menu full of Parisian wine bar meets Dairy Queen influences. From its inception, Canard has served as Fortgang’s wine playground, showcasing a cellar of curiosities years in the making. Canard quickly became one of the most buzzed-about openings nationwide and went on to win The Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year and Portland Monthly’s Restaurant of the Year. In the summer of 2022, the second location of Canard opened in Oregon City, just to the south of downtown Portland.

Fortgang is also the co-owner of Flor Wines with partner and former Little Bird Bistro wine director Sergio Licea. Flor Wines is a retail wine shop in downtown Portland, Oregon. More than a traditional shop, at Flor, you can discover lesser-known bottles, winemakers, stories, and regions, all while seeking expert advice and conversation. The idea of Flor was born out of the pandemic after Fortgang launched cellar sales at Le Pigeon and found joy in matching people with the perfect wines for home. No longer able to pour tableside and strike up a conversation, the cellar sales provided a way to stay connected to people through good wine. Flor was designed with the customer and restaurant hospitality in mind, a place where you can wander

the aisles with as much or as little guidance as you desire. The team’s knowledge of wines and expertise is paired with their excellence in hospitality, resulting in an intimate wine shop that feels more like a bookstore, where there’s something new to discover around every corner.

Fortgang is blessed that his hobby is also his profession. He believes strongly that good wine is just that and speaks for itself. He and his wife Lauren live in Portland, Oregon, with two kids, a daughter with whom he shares a birthday and a son who taught him the joy of the Portland Trailblazers.

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