Vladimir is the Production Winemaker at our Old Mission Peninsula winery and manages the daily operations of this white wine facility and brandy distillery. Vladimir is a native of Moldova, and it is there that he earned his degree in Oenology in 1999. After graduation he quickly began working intimately with cool climate grape varietals. When he decided to expand his winemaking knowledge and take his skills abroad he realized that Northern Michigan was the perfect fit due to its similar climate and thriving, yet still relatively new wine industry. In 2007, Vladimir found his home at Black Star Farms, and he is credited with leading his team in the production of many award-winning white wines.
Kerm and Sallie Campbell
Kerm and Sallie Campbell are the original, and now sole proprietors of Black Star Farms. While raising a family in Western Europe, Kerm and Sallie were introduced to fine wines from some of the most prestigious wineries of the area. This began a lifelong, increasing passion for the industry. After retiring from corporate management, the Campbells relocated to Northern Michigan where Kerm started several new ventures both in the Traverse City area and beyond, including planting vineyards beginning in the early 90’s. Today the Campbells have extensive farming operations on both the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, with over 120 producing acres of vineyard. More than half of the grapes used to make Black Star Farm wines, and some of our most highly-awarded, come from his fruit. In addition to a passion for growing grapes and producing fine wines, Kerm and Sallie enjoy classical music, the arts and their grand and great-grandchildren. Sallie passed away on October 1, 2017, following a 40 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Jill is the Manager for the Suttons Bay tasting room and is also our Wine Club administrator. She oversees the club’s many different components and is the primary contact for our 2,500 (and counting!) members. Jill has proudly called Northern Michigan home for nearly 20 years and joined the Black Star Farms team in 2005. She is a wine enthusiast who shares her passion and knowledge to the thousands of guests she connects with each year.
Dorothy manages our highly acclaimed special and corporate events department. In 2014, she and her family relocated to Traverse City from Asheville, N.C., where she was responsible for corporate and wedding coordination at The Biltmore Estate. During her 8 years at The Biltmore, she coordinated multiple departments involving all aspects of events. Educated at Appalachian State University, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Public Relations. Dorothy will quickly win you over with her professionalism, passion, warmth and attention to detail when you host your wedding, corporate retreat or special event at Black Star Farms. 2019 Michigan Meetings + Events Magazine’s Hall of Fame Best Special Event Planner
Sherri Campbell Fenton
Sherri is the managing owner, overseeing hospitality, the Inn, culinary services, events and property management. Having joined the family business in early 2016, she brings a wealth of business development, sales, marketing, and PR experience to the team from a variety of industries. Being in the local non-profit sector for nine years has brought her close to the heart of our community, and she is excited to continue developing Black Star Farms as an increasing economic driver in the region. When she is not on the farm, you can likely find her on a bike, on a tennis court, on the West Bay or a ski hill.
Barbara is our Winery Administrator and is the direct contact for all wholesale and distribution inquiries. She joined Black Star Farms in the winter of 2015 after 25 years in the wholesale wine industry where she represented hundreds of wineries from all over the world. Barbara called on restaurants and fine wine shops first in the Detroit market, and then in Northern Michigan for the past 17 years. She feels extremely fortunate to have been able to bring her knowledge of the business to her current role. Barbara lives in Leelanau County with her two teenage children and her winemaking husband.
Chris is the Retail Manager for Black Star Farms and oversees both the Suttons Bay and Old Mission tasting rooms. He has been in the Northern Michigan wine industry since 2000 and joined Black Star Farms in 2003. He is a very well recognized and an important presence at Black Star Farms. In addition to his many duties involving the tasting rooms, Chris has been involved with the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail (formally the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association) for many years, where he was nominated by his peers to fill the role of president from 2009-2012.
Lee was hired as winemaker in 1998 and was an integral part of the development and construction of the Winery at Black Star Farms. Currently he oversees the winemaking operations for our two processing facilities on the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. These facilities were developed separately and in 2007 expanded to specialize in separate red and white wine production. He is also the director of our distillation program that produces European style fruit brandies and dessert wines. Lee is a proud, self-taught winemaker with 25 years of experience making wine and time spent studying in various regions around the world. He served as an assistant winemaker at Abbazia di Valle Chiara in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy prior to moving back to his native Northern Michigan in 1993. Lee is a proud supporter of all things Michigan, and is most passionate about our Rieslings and Pinot Noirs.
Kari is our Stables Manager and Human Resources Coordinator. She oversees and cares for the many horses that are currently boarded here and handles various HR and operational functions throughout the farm. She is an accomplished Dressage rider and boards her Oldenburg mare, Pearl, here at the farm. Kari has been with Black Star Farms since 2003 and filled various positions during that time. She embarked on her current role in 2007. She is a Leelanau County native and happily calls Northern Michigan home.
Born and raised in Traverse City, Grace brings a lifelong love of the region to her role as Innkeeper and Co-Manager of the Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Grace joined the Black Star Farms team in the spring of 2017 after having spent time in local Real Estate sales and property management, as well as working most recently as the district substitute teacher coordinator for Traverse City Area Public Schools. She holds a Business Administration Degree from Central Michigan University and has a passion for hospitality and guest services. Grace is always ready to share a smile, and delight with guests over the beauty that is found here on the farm!
Chef Jack has returned to his roots in Northern Michigan and is stepping in as the Director of Culinary Operations at Black Star Farms. Nearly 35 years ago, Jack was hooked on the culinary scene after watching his father hone his trade as a baker. He has traveled the world leading a culinary team in a variety of venues ranging from a ranch in Montana to southern yacht clubs, Sheraton Hotels and large event centers in the Midwest. Today, Chef Jack is embedded in true farm-to-table cuisine, and looks forward to highlighting the best farms in our region, enhancing the Black Star Farms commitment to local agriculture. When he is not in the kitchen, you may find him swinging a golf club, or hiking and foraging in the serenity of the forest.
Kimberly coordinates the Winery Promotions for Black Star Farms. She manages the off-site winery events, social media, and serves as the winery ambassador for restaurants and retail stores around the state . She joined Black Star Farms in 2007 as a member of the Suttons Bay tasting room staff and spent this time getting to know our guests, our products and the incredible team that makes up Black Star Farms. This experience has proven invaluable in her current role. Kimberly is a Traverse City native and a true promoter for all things Northern Michigan.