App features Washington winemakers

Published on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

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Ken Peck, owner of Dakota Creek Winery, didn’t start inventing mobile apps to get rich.

“It was more just something to keep my head busy,” Peck said.

Peck has created two iPhone apps that are available on the App Store, and Dakota Creek customers have taken notice. 

Naturally, both apps deal with wine. Peck and his wife Jill were amateur winemakers for years before plunging into the commercial trade by starting Dakota Creek Winery in the summer of 2005. Located on Haynie Road in Blaine, the winery features an environmentally friendly cellaring cave and produces 19 varieties of wine, from Chardonnay and Merlot to less familiar varieties such as Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

Peck developed a mobile app called Wine Judge in 2013 that shows people how to evaluate wines the way a wine judge would. He developed a paid version and a “lite” version of the app, along with updates to both versions with better graphics.

“Whatever your expertise, Wine Judge will help you provide a professional review of the wines you sample,” reads the app description. Peck’s latest app, called the Washington Wine Game, is purely for entertainment. Users spin a virtual slot machine in an attempt to win points and virtual bottles of wine for their virtual wine cellar. Various bottles of wine can be unlocked as users work their way through 10 wine regions across Washington. The game includes a total of 80 wineries.

“I’m hoping to give a little exposure to wineries from around the state,” Peck said. “I tried to balance the bigger, well-established wineries with smaller, lesser-known wineries, and I tried to include regions from the east and west side of the Cascade crest.”

The Washington Wine Game is free, as is the lite version of Wine Judge. The paid version of Wine Judge is more feature-rich, and costs $2.99.

Peck said each app has received around 50 downloads, and they are far from being profitable, but that’s beside the point.

“It’s been surprising the number of people who have come into the shop and said, ‘I’ve been playing your wine game.’ The idea was not to make money, but it’s been a fun personal challenge.”