Wine country in east central Illinois? 

Sure, why not!  At least that's what Joe and Dawn Taylor said when starting second careers in the Illinois wine industry. Joe, having been self-employed most of his life, wanted to start something new and just as interesting as his previous business of designing and fabricating museum exhibits. Dawn, having always worked for someone else in the IT corporate world was ready to try something new too. The result? Sleepy Creek Vineyards!

Joe and Dawn started the vineyard in 2002.  While finishing building the winery and getting ready to harvest their first crop of commercial grapes in 2006, a major hiccup was encountered when they discovered the IL township where the business was located was still under the effect of prohibition from the 1920's. Prohibition in the US was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.  However, Catlin Township narrowly voted to continue preventing the sale of "intocakilating Liquors". The vote was close with 277 in favor of continuing the prohibition of allowing alcohol sales versus 184 votes for repealing and thus allowing the sale of alcohol.

 Joe and Dawn were discouraged but not defeated by the realization the Catlin Township was dry. Always believing the wine glass is half full, hey launched a campaign to get the old 1933 decision changed. Fortunately, the local community embraced the Taylor's dream. 89% of the voters agreed it was time to change the law. The old law was repealed! The Taylor's were able to officially uncork their bottles on May 18, 2007.

Today, Sleepy Creek Vineyards has a 10 acre vineyard, produces over 35,000 bottles of wine annually and is a local and tourist destination. It's known for good wine, a friendly atmosphere, quirky entertainment and a rustic venue for weddings and other private events. Growing 10 acres of grapes and managing a multifaceted growing business is hard but rewarding work, especially when the efforts result in a enjoyable glass of wine that others enjoy.

Sleepy Creek employs about 10 people and relies on numerous volunteers called the Purple Finger Club to help get everything done.  Your Sleepy Creek staff is friendly, helpful and always ready to serve you!  If you are interested in employment at Sleepy Creek, email a cover letter and resume to