By Steve Guntli
Dakota Creek Winery of Blaine has signed a distribution agreement that will send its wine to five different counties.
Ken Peck, owner of Dakota Creek Winery, recently made the arrangement with Walton Beverage Company of Ferndale to distribute their wine to restaurants and retailers in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan and Island counties. Walton Beverage is currently the sole distributor of the winery, but Dakota Creek sells some of its products through local retailers, including Blaine Bouquets, Haggen, BelleWood Acres and the restaurants at Semiahmoo.
Peck, who started the winery with his wife Jill in 2005, hadn’t been looking to expand its distribution area. “They approachedus and they made us a good deal, so we thought we’d give it a shot,” he said.
Founded in 1931 by Harold Walton, the company distributes soft drinks, water and energy drinks throughout northwest Washington. CEO Ford Carothers has decided to expand the company’s product line to offer local wines and craft beers throughout its distribution network.
“We’ve been considering wine and beer distribution for about three years,” said Prudy Carothers, wine sales manager at Walton Beverage. “The recent growth of craft beers and the quality of Whatcom County wines and distiller spirits led us to our decision to sell them.”
Prudy said she and her husband, Ford, first tasted Dakota Creek wines in 2013, shortly after they moved to the county, and fell in love with their wines.
In addition to Dakota Creek, Walton is taking on other local wines, beers and spirits from local producers such as Dynasty Cellars, Honey Moon Hard Apple Cider and Granny Strong’s vodka.
Dakota Creek typically produces fewer than 1,000 cases of wine each year. Peck said he is anxious to see the results from the expanded distribution.
“We’ll have to wait and see how this takes off,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of lead time with wine; the wine we produce this year won’t be ready to hit the market for another three years or so, so we’ll have to give it time and see how it all goes.”
According to Peck, Walton will start off with major grocery stores and upscale restaurants in Whatcom County before moving down the I-5 corridor.
The Dakota Creek Winery tasting room is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday at 3575 Haynie Road in Blaine.