Our Good Life participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you.

Fortuity...Taking Advantage of Life's Great Wines! #WinePW

This month at #WinePairingWeekend we are celebrating wines from Yakima Valley, Washington wines. We are being sponsored this month by Wine Yakima Valley and our host for this event is Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles. I want to thank my sponsor for this post, Fortuity Cellars for sending me a bottle of their Malbec, and more on that later!

March is Taste Washington Month and Women's History Month.  It is fitting that I get to honor a winery that is woman-owned and that employs a woman winemaker. 

Yakima Valley Washington became an appellation in 1983, but before that, long before wine was a thing, the land was a mystery of fire and ice.  Volcanoes exploded for years leaving deposits of volcanic ash in what is now called the Columbia River.  Glaciers then covered the land, bringing with them sediments from the lands where they traveled.  As global warming took effect, flooding left more sediment. Winds deposited loess over the hills and valleys that had been formed.  Back to its beginning, Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, bringing volcanic ash to the area. The geology of this land brought forth a unique blend of silt, sand, quartz, and mica, devoid of organic matter and pests. Deep down below the layers of rock was a rich blend of soil that grapevines loved, sending deep roots to extract nutrients for growing.

The first grapevines were brought to the valley by a French winemaker named Charles Schanno.  In 1869, Schanno planted cuttings taken from the Hudson Bay Company trading outpost near Fort Vancouver.  

Within the Valley you will find four AVAs:

Rattlesnake Hills est. 2006
Elevations here run 850 to over 3000 feet.
Snipes Mountain est. 2009
Named for a rancher, Ben Snipes who live here in the 1850s, the AVA is 4,005 acres on both sides of the mountain. There are 859 acres under vine with more than 30 varieties.
Red Mountain est. 2001
Not really a mountain but a steep southwest slope in the east end of the valley with elevations between 500 and 1500 feet. It gets its name from the cheatgrass that grows here that is deep red in the spring. 
Candy Mountain est. 2020
East of Red Mountain, covers only 815 acres. So new that it isn't on the map yet!

This unique opportunity wasn't missed (fortuitous?) by William Bridgman, who planted grapevines in 1917 on Snipes Mountain. The original vines are still bearing fruit. This original vineyard is now a part of Upland Vineyards, owned and operated for three generations of the Newhouse family.  Yakima Valley is now the largest grape-growing area in Washington.

It was this beautiful valley that winery owners Emilly and Lee Fergestrom chose to begin their adventure.  Emily, a former PR/communications worker, and Lee, a startup and tech world worker decided to do something different and start a winery.  They wanted to make a very specific style of wine, acid-driven, bright, and fruit-forward and looked for grapes that could be sourced within their local community.  Nearly all the grapes they source for their wines come from within 60 miles of their winery.  They leave the growing to local farmers and they purchase the grapes to produce their wines.  Their first harvest was in 2017 and the first wine produced was in the spring of 2018. The Fergestroms have benefitted from the supportive wine industry in the valley.  Matt and Pam Rawn, from Two Mountain Winery (see yesterday's post!) worked with Lee and Emily for this first vintage.  Fortuity produced 856 cases that first year, that included a rose, viognier, a barrel-aged chardonnay, a red blend of syrah and malbec, and a cabernet sauvignon. Success came with a pretty bow: Fortuity was named the SBA Rising Startup of the Year for Washington and North Idaho in 2019.


I had the opportunity to set up a Zoom session with Lee and Emily to talk about their wine. We chatted and laughed and told stories, me talking way too much, but I got a sense of the commitment they had with one another and for their winery.  Both were eager to talk and share about how they met (a blind date with other people!) and how they knew that they wanted to open a winery and how things came to pass that helped them do so.  They talked enthusiastically about the area of Washington they live and work in, Yakima Valley, and gave me the desire to put a Washington Wine Tour at the top of my bucket list. It was a delight to talk with them both and an opportunity that I am grateful to have had.

More than half of the grapes for Washington's wine come from the Yakima Valley AVA. During our Zoom talk, both Emily and Lee talked about Red Willow, Klipsun, and Boushey, well-known names in the wine business.  It definitely seems like the area is a community of wine people, from growers to winery owners.

Lee, Lexi (winemaker), and Emily

The wine I received was a bottle of the 2018 Malbec. The color is a deep garnet with ruby highlights and a bit of orange on the rim.  On the nose, vanilla and cedar, and graphite. On the palate, juicy blackberries and dark cherry, soft tannins, and medium acidity.  The finish is a nice plum. This wine was so good on its own, we almost didn't want to pair anything with it.  

We did pair it with a trimmed ribeye steak on the grill.  Bob grilled it to a medium-rare and I made a delicious chimichurri sauce with fresh herbs from the market. The rich steak, with the deep herbs and garlic of the sauce and the malbec, was decadent. Each bite, the wine's fruit-forward flavor played well with the fresh herbs. It was absolutely divine.

Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Cam shares “Yakima Valley’s Sin Banderas Rhone Roses Compliment Dishes with Asian Flair” and “Mediterranean-Inspired Dishes Paired with Yakima Valley Wines from Dineen Vineyards”
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass invites us to “Meet Kerry Shiels: A Yakima Valley winemaker with Vision”
  • Terri of Our Good Life shares 2 posts “Fortuity…Taking Advantage of Life’s Great Wines!”, and “Two Mountain Rose and Fennel Wild Mushroom Tarts”
  • Payal at Keep The Peas shares “Yakima Valley Wines FTW!”
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is cooking up “Smoked Beef Brisket with Canvasback Cabernet”
  • Rupal the Syrah Queen gives us "Yakima Valley - Red Willow Vineyards Producing Some of Washington's Finest Syrahs"
  • Jane of Always Ravenous makes our mouths water with “Filet Mignon paired with Washington Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon”
  • Martin with Enolylz is giving us “a Taste of Washington State’s Yakima Valley”
  • David at Cooking Chat has 2 posts for us also “Lamb Ragu Pasta with Red Wine from Dineen Vineyards” and “Sin Banderas Rosé with Corned Beef & More Yakima Valley Wine Pairings”
  • Nicole of Somm’s Table shares "Big, Beautiful Reds from Yakima Valley and Tasty, Meaty Fare"
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels tells us about “Italian Grapes of the Yakima Valley with Sleeping Dog Wines”
  • Gwendolyn the Wine Predator explores “Washington Syrah: Hedges, L’Ecole, VanArnam with Lamb Stew”
  • Susannah at Avvinare gives us “Malbec from VanArnam Vineyard in Yakima Valley”
  • Lori at Exploring the Wine Glass shares “Tasting the Soul of Wine in the Heart of Yakima Valley”
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles with "Yakima Valley AVA – Blends of friendship and history with wines from Eight Bells and Pearl and Stone Co."
  • Yield: 2 cups
    Author: Terri Steffes
    Chimichurri Sauce

    Chimichurri Sauce

    Delicious sauce with many uses. Steak topping, scrambled eggs, and with your avocado toast!
    Prep time: 3 MinCook time: 4 MinTotal time: 7 Min


    • 1 medium shallot
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded
    • 1 c fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, packed
    • 1 c fresh cilantro, paked
    • 2 T fresh oregano
    • 3 large cloves of garlic
    • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 t cumin
    • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil


    1. Skin shallot, and add to a food processer with jalapeno.
    2. Process until small pieces form.
    3. Add herbs, garlic, vinegar, and seasonings.
    4. Run the processor until well blended but where you can still see bits of the herbs.
    5. Transfer to a bowl and stir in olive oil.
    6. Cover and refrigerate until needed.  
    Did you make this recipe?
    Tag @tsteffes on instagram and hashtag it #OurGoodLifeRecipes
    Created using The Recipes Generator

    Would you like to comment?

    1. This sounds positively delightful. And while Zoom fatigue is real, I am enjoying meeting with folks that I would normally have to travel several hours to visit. Silver lining, right I have never heard of Fortuity, but I will definitely be taking a closer look. Thanks for joining t he fun this month.

    2. I love Malbec. I'll have to try some from this woman winemaker during women history month if I can find it.

    3. What a fantastic post! You shared so many wonderful details on the Valley. I was so pulled in by the thought of Mount St. Helen's and the volcanic activity in this region over centuries.
      How wonderful to be able to Zoom with Lee and Emily and really bring a sense of what they and their wines are about.
      I will be looking for them and this Malbec when I am next up that way!

    4. It’s great seeing everyone’s interactions with the owners and winemakers this month. Ribeye and Malbec sound great together!

    5. I love the story of the region's community and making dreams come true. Great background information on Yakima Valley and delicious looking pairing!

    6. The sunset photo is AMAZING!! I have to say that overall it seems like the Yakima Valley wineries are so overly friendly and really look to help support each other. Plus the wines are incredible

    7. If these winemakers were looking for acid-driven, bright, and fruit-forward, they've come to the right place! I'm impressed by how generous everyone has been with their time. And that chimichurri recipe is a keeper!

    8. Love this story Terri! You can't go wrong with Malbec and a grilled ribeye!

    9. The steak looks amazing and how great that you had a chance to zoom with them.


    Welcome! If you liked what you read, please take a moment to share by tweeting, pinning or yumming! Much appreciated!