Sleepy Creek Winery Produces “Up The Creek” Comedy Series
Motivating non wine drinkers to give wine a try is a common challenge for regional winery owners. Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Illinois has now come up with a novel way to make wine more approachable by producing a monthly comedy video series called “Up the Creek.”
“One of our biggest obstacles since we opened in ’07 is that we’re in a rural area with a winery that is not historical,” said Sleepy Creek co-owner Joe Taylor. “The series of short films convey that our winery is friendly and approachable; I wanted the series to be kind of like ‘Gilligan’s Island’ at a winery.”
The professional quality acting and the high production values of the “Up the Creek” series far exceed a typical You Tube video, although Taylor says there is no budget for production of the series. “We have some of the top actors in the Champaign (Illinois) area in the films and we really have a lot of fun making them,” he said. The series is shot on location at Sleepy Creek and each episode usually takes two days to film, Taylor said.
Among the actors that are involved with the Sleepy Creek videos are Peter Davis, a theater professor at the University of Illinois who was in the orignal cast of the Tony award-winning play “August: Osage County” at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.
Taylor said the video that is due to be released on August 1, 2012 will feature Steve Poltz who co-wrote the hit song “You Were Meant for Me” with singer Jewell and also appeared in the video for the song. Poltz is currently a touring professional musician and recording artist.
As for Taylor’s role in the videos, he’s the camera man, director and editor. “We think the videos are a good way to get people interested in wine and prove that there are no wine snobs at Sleepy Creek,” he said.
Sleepy Creek produces approximately 6,000 gallons of wine annually and maintains a 10 acre vineyard in Central Illinois. Their best-selling wine is “Three Amigos” a blend of Concord and Carot Noir. Other Sleepy Creek wines also have humourous names like “Hen Pecked” (Frontenac) and “Sour Puss” (estate grown La Crescent.)
“Operation Sanitation” episode of “Up the Creek” produced by Sleepy Creek Vineyards:
“What Goes Up” episode of “Up the Creek” produced by Sleepy Creek Vineyards: