David joined the Black Star Farms team in 2021 as the Inn Manager. He brought with him almost 30 years of diverse experience in the service and hospitality industry. He grew up in Leland (just around the corner!) and has worked in the area for his entire career. David is passionate about creating an elevated customer service experience for Inn guests, and it doesn’t hurt that Black Star Farms feeds his borderline obsessive need to meet new people. He lives in Suttons Bay with his wife and two children.
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 relatively new wine industry. In 2007, Vladimir found his home at Black Star Farms and is credited with leading his team in producing 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 area’s most prestigious wineries. 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 in the Traverse City area and beyond, including planting vineyards beginning in the early ’90s. Today, the Campbells have extensive farming operations on the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, with over 120 producing acres of vineyards. Nearly 70% 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 of the Suttons Bay tasting room and is also our wine club administrator. She oversees the club’s many components and is the primary contact for our 3,000 (and counting!) members. Jill has proudly called northern Michigan home for over 20 years and joined the Black Star Farms team in 2005. She is a wine enthusiast who shares her passion and knowledge with the hundreds of guests she connects with each year.
Sherri Campbell Fenton
Sherri is the managing owner, overseeing all operations, emphasizing hospitality, the Inn, culinary services, events, and property management. She joined the family business in 2016 and brought a wealth of business development, sales, marketing, and PR experience to the team from various industries. Her time in the local non-profit sector for nine years brought her close to the heart of the community. She is passionate about developing Black Star Farms and the greater Traverse Wine Coast as increasingly strong economic drivers in the region. Sherri is active in the region’s hospitality and tourism efforts. She is president of the Board of Directors for Traverse Wine Coast, a board member of Traverse City Tourism, and a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
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, representing hundreds of wineries worldwide. Barbara called on restaurants and fine wine shops first in the Detroit market and then in northern Michigan for 17 years. She feels extremely fortunate to have brought her business knowledge to her current role. Barbara has two grown children and lives in Leelanau County with her winemaking husband and their three huskies.
John is our Estate Chef joining us in the spring of 2023. He oversees our entire food service department, which includes Inn guest culinary services, our Arcturos Dining Series, our seasonal café, and onsite catering for special events. Growing up in one of Chicago’s Polish neighborhoods, John enjoyed his mom’s delicious, simple, rustic Polish cooking, utilizing ingredients from local Polish delicatessens, butchers, and bakeries. Mentoring under James Beard Award-Winning Chef Paul Bartolotta at Chicago’s Spiaggia restaurant in 1992, Chef Korycki began his career-long quest to learn everything about Italy’s varied regions, food cultures, and wines. In 2004 Chef Korycki landed in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to open Zazios Italian Restaurant. For over ten years, John grew relationships with local farmers to produce a seasonal farm-to-table menu enhanced with the best products imported from Italy. Zazios’ unique stadium kitchen, “The Chef’s Table,” allowed Chef Korycki to teach and entertain his guests while he cooked the five-course menu. Since 2006, Chef Korycki has visited Italy every year, leading small groups of guests on culinary adventures with his company Chef JK Travels.
Chris is the Retail Manager for Black Star Farms and oversees 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 well-recognized and 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. He has had a seat on the Board of Directors, including the position of president, for many years.
Lee was hired as a 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 over 25 years of experience making wine and time spent studying in various regions worldwide. He served as an assistant winemaker at Abbazia di Valle Chiara in the Piedmont region of northern Italy before 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.
Dustin is our Events Sales and Catering Manager. Dustin joined the Black Star Farms team in April 2019 as an Event Coordinator. He spent this time getting to know the ins and outs of Black Star, assisting in different departments, and helping make memories our guests will carry forever. This experience proved to be vital for his current position. Dustin is a local who truly loves Leelanau County. The saying “There’s no place like home” couldn’t ring truer for him. Dustin has over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry but finds weddings and special events the most rewarding.
Kimberly coordinates the Winery Promotions for Black Star Farms. She manages the off-site winery events, serves as the winery ambassador for restaurants and retail stores around the state, hosts our popular Estate & Wine Tours, and keeps our website updated. 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 dedicated promoter for all things northern Michigan.