Fortune Chevalier was born in 1815 in Belle Isle, France. His family was not
in the wine business and he apprenticed as a stained glass craftsman. Together with a group of similar craftsmen, he went all over France repairing the various castles
and churches damaged by the frequent wars of the time.
In 1850 he sailed for San Francisco with some helpers and a large stock of window panels. His idea was to establish a business of window construction and repair.
He hoped that when his helpers were fully occupied with stain glass window work, he would be able to steal away and pan for gold in the Sierra foothills.
It turned out his helpers had the same idea and they abandoned him once they
arrived in California. Fortune ended up in Placerville and later in Sacramento, settling into the trade of wine and spirits. There were tens of thousands of thirsty
miners and Chevalier established F. Chevalier and Company with the intent of satisfying his own thirst for profit