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Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Linda Stegenga, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Linda Stegenga

Proprietor

Linda Stegenga is the proud co-owner of Bowers Harbor Vineyards along with her son Spencer. Linda’s devotion to her family, along with her unremitting energy and perseverance, have nurtured BHV from its modest beginnings as a small gentleman’s farm to the burgeoning winery it is today.

Linda’s warm hospitality and attention to detail are evident in the fresh flowers that welcome guests as they stroll up the front walk under the arbor. Once inside, the rustic beams of the former horse stable, twined with old grapevines, speak of her love for simplicity and home.

Linda owes her love for the land and what it can produce to her father, Harry Langley. His love of gardening, now literally bearing fruit he could only have imagined, have earned him a lasting place in the history of Bowers Harbor Vineyards. The estate’s Langley Vineyard was named in his honor and produces the grapes that comprise one of Michigan’s finest red wines, the much-awarded “2896”.

As the winery has grown from its humble beginnings in 1991, Linda has done virtually every job at the winery, from planting vines to labeling bottles to cleaning floors to keeping inventory…with the exception of driving the fork-lift! Her love for wine has deepened as the vineyard has grown, equaled only by her delight in sharing BHV wines with the people who come to enjoy them.

Spencer Stegenga, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Spencer Stegenga

Proprietor

Spencer Stegenga’s disarming friendliness might fool you into thinking he’s just another guy at the winery. In reality, Spencer is the proud co-owner of Bowers Harbor Vineyards along with his mom Linda, and his entrepreneurial drive has transformed the quiet gentleman’s farm into the thriving winery it is today.

Born and raised on Old Mission Peninsula, Spencer grew up surrounded by the beauty of rolling hills, abundant orchards, and jewel-toned sunsets that are a part of life on the peninsula. Four years of study at Hillsdale College earned him a degree in Marketing, and two years in Vail, CO, convinced him that Michigan is truly his home.
Having worked side by side with his parents and two sisters to plant the first vines in 1991, Spencer returned to Old Mission Peninsula in the mid-1990’s eager to invest his energy and passion into producing wines that reflect the distinctive character of this unique appellation. By 1997, he was functioning as CEO, vineyard manager, and director of wine-making for BHV (along with about 20 other hats to wear, none of them very glamorous!!) More acreage was acquired on adjacent land, and after planting cover crops and preparing for additional planting, a variety of vines including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Grigio were added. Spencer named the first vineyard addition after his grandfather, Harold Langley, and in 1999 proposed to Erica Schoenner on the promising land just to the south, thus birthing the Erica Vineyard. His commitment to producing exceptional Northern Michigan red wines is apparent in his 30-month aging program and his discriminating selection of French Oak barrels.

Spencer continues his pursuit of excellence in the vineyard, evidenced by various land stewardship recognitions and the designation of BHV as an Environmentally Verified Farm. His resolve to rely on time-tested wine production practices, coupled with his willingness to push the boundaries, take risks, and have fun riding the learning curve are what keep BHV wines respected, fascinating and appealing to connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Bowers Harbor Vineyards has maintained that elusive balance of family farm and thriving business by maintaining an atmosphere of gracious hospitality. The Stegengas invite you to visit and experience these unparalleled wines, a gift from their home to yours.

Email Spencer
Phone: (231) 223-7615

Kristy McClellan, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Kristy McClellan

Director of Operations, Tasting Room Manager

Kristy McClellan’s fun-loving, can-do attitude serves her well as Director of Operations at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. She loves people and she loves wine, a happy combination. If you visit the tasting room, you’re likely to hear Kristy’s infectious laugh and sense how readily her sunny personality reflects the spirit of Bowers Harbor Vineyards.

Kristy grew up in Charlevoix, MI, where her love for the hospitality industry took root. She began as a bus-girl for Whitney’s Oyster Bar at age 14. Then, working during the summers, she paid her way through college by saving her earnings serving at Tapawingo Restaurant in Ellsworth, where she studied under Master Sommelier Ron Edwards.

Kristy graduated from the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. From there, she was recruited by J. Alexander’s Restaurant Corporation. She interned in Troy, MI, and was promoted and transferred to Denver, CO. Since the Denver location is the number one wine-selling restaurant in the corporation, her experience in Customer Service and Bar Management quickly grew. Her love and appreciation for wine also deepened as she met many members of the wine community and winemakers from all over the country.

Kristy, along with husband Matt and her first daughter, decided to move back to their roots in Northern Michigan in 2008. Kristy and Matt now have two daughters, Roxy and Macy, and two dogs, Izzy and Ziggy, and love raising their family on the beautiful and family friendly Old Mission Peninsula. When she isn’t in the tasting room, you can find her outdoors boating or snowboarding with her family. Working at Bowers Harbor Vineyards has afforded Kristy the opportunity to combine her two passions of hospitality and wine. Whether it’s pouring wine for guests in the tasting room, planning our Dining in the Vines events, coordinating the bottling of our wines, interacting with local chefs and business owners, Kristy’s passion for excellence and love for people reflect the essence of Bowers Harbor Vineyards.

Email Kristy

Justin Leshinsky, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Justin Leshinsky

Director of Sales, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Justin Leshinsky is Bowers Harbor Vineyard’s upbeat Director of Sales, and an undeniable asset to virtually every aspect of winery operation.

A native of Southeast Michigan, Justin attended college there and worked in finance for 5 years before moving to the Traverse City area. His pursuit of an Accounting Degree required a part-time job to offset tuition expenses, but what began as merely a way to pay bills soon became a full-time obsession. Justin’s naturally inquisitive personality quickly propelled him to learn about as many aspects of winery life as possible; he found himself not only enjoying pouring wines in the tasting room, but also streamlining functions in the wine warehouse, helping in the vineyard, assisting with the bottling process, learning the nuances of wine production, and sharing his passion with customers, retailers and distributors alike.

When you visit Bowers Harbor Vineyards, you may find Justin moving pallets of wine with the Hi-Low, pouring sparkling wine at our “Dining in the Vines”, organizing Wine Club shipments, offering a vineyard tour to visitors, or bursting into spontaneous song at the cash register, but one thing is certain: Justin’s warm personality and passion for BHV wines are sure to win you over to the BHV family!

Email Justin

Tom Petzold, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Tom Petzold

Wine Specialist

Tom Petzold brings a depth of wine knowledge and a love of sharing it to the Bowers Harbor Vineyards staff. His ready smile and passion for wine make the tasting room experience both fun and educational. Tom is our Vineyard Tour Guide Specialist and grows grapes from his 10 Hands Vineyard for BHV.

Tom’s employment at the historic Pontchartrain Wine Cellars Restaurant in Detroit gave him his first exposure to the world of wine. His subsequent 17-year sojourn in Europe while working for the U.S Air Force afforded him the opportunity to deepen his love and respect for fine wine. Tom and his French wife, Claudine, found time to explore some of the oldest and most recognized wine regions in the world, and gladly embraced the European tradition of enjoying wine as a part of daily life.

Tom made a more deliberate study of wine while working at NATO in Belgium, where he and Claudine began to collect and cellar some of their favorite wines. After retiring from military life, the couple returned to Tom’s native Michigan. They currently live near the northern tip of Old Mission Peninsula and have planted their own vines of Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Tom is not only conversant in four different languages; he speaks the language of wine fluently and translates it readily into conversation even the inexperienced wine drinker can understand. Linda’s and Spencer’s devotion to growing superior grapes and producing exceptional wines is a passion shared by Tom and the entire BHV staff. Tom loves wine, loves the people here, and loves the BHV wine dogs. What better place to work?!

Connie Van Til, Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Connie Van Til

Wine Specialist

Connie Van Til hails from the Chicago area, where she grew up with parents who appreciated the leisurely enjoyment of good wine over a meal shared with family and friends.

Connie and her husband Dirk spent a portion of their honeymoon in the Napa Valley, which sparked a shared interest in wine and viticulture. The following year they took a semester off from graduate school to travel in Europe, discovering the beauty of the terraced vineyards lining the Mosel River, and the loveliness of the French countryside with its unassuming table wines.

They and their four daughters have lived on Old Mission Peninsula for over ten years, drawn in part by the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay and the lure of the vineyards. After attending a local wine dinner where BHV wines were featured, she approached Spencer and asked if any summer help was needed at the winery. She quickly found that her love of wine, her enjoyment of people, and her delight in the beauty that surrounds us here on Old Mission Peninsula give her the perfect opportunity to share what she loves with the visitors who walk through the doors of our tasting room.

Connie enjoys the wonderful variety of people who come to explore our wines, whether new to the world of wine or seasoned oenophiles. Introducing newcomers to the extraordinary quality and wonderful variety of BHV wines, a reflection of the distinctive terroir that exists only here on Old Mission, is a joy and a privilege!

Bill Maier

Wine Club Manager

Bill Maier has joined Bowers Harbor Vineyards as the Wine Club Manager.  After many years of vacationing in the area, Bill and his wife, Nicole, made the decision to relocate to Traverse City from the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago to pursue their passion in the wine industry.  Bill spent 25+ years in the Chicago banking scene and brings extensive experience in sales, strategic planning, project management, product development and budgeting with him to BHV. 

Bill’s unwavering focus on impeccable customer service, coupled with his love of all things wine, will ensure you receive first class service.  His mission is to ensure that each wine club member enjoys an unparalleled experience and wine club selections that match his/her palate.  Bill can often be found in the tasting room pouring wine, talking about the latest BHV releases or the Traverse area restaurant scene.  

Lindsay Miller

Assistant Wine Club Manager & Social Media Coordinator

Lindsay developed a love for wine at the ripe age of 21, but it wasn’t until recently that she decided to make it a career.

Lindsay studied Anthropology at Oakland University, which took her to Perth, Australia where she finished her degree. After nearly 10 months of studies and travels, she came back to the United States and immediately started planning her next journey. A year later, Lindsay was backpacking through Europe, immersing herself in different cultures and indulging herself in the wines of each region.

Once arriving back in the Mitten, her love of wine and thirst for adventure brought her to Traverse City. What started as just another fun summer job turned into a passion and career path for this young spirit. Lindsay is now head of our Social Media, assists with Wine Club, and helps make sure everything runs smoothly in the tasting room.

With a bubbly, enthusiastic personality and an infectious smile, Lindsay has become a great asset to our team. She enjoys getting to know each person that walks into the tasting room, learning about their lives and sharing her knowledge about wine and culture.

Evan Oellerich

Farm Manager

Evan is new transplant to Michigan and a lover of all things outdoors.  Evan moved here from Northern California where he worked as an assistant vineyard manager on a certified organic vineyard for three years.  Before California he lived in Vermont and worked on both vineyards and organic farms, which is where he first became interested in wine grape production.  Originally from Virginia, you can spot Evan any given day around the property with his dog Nala working on farm chores.    

Our Dogs

otis1Otis

Otis, our Yellow Labrador Retriever, was the Vineyard’s official greeter. He would greet our tasting room guests with his tail wagging and his welcoming personality. His loyalty to us all made him worthy of his own wine label!

cooper2Cooper

Cooper was our second official tasting room mascot and greeter. Our laid back, fun loving Bernese Mountain dog enjoyed the special attention he received from our tasting room guests. His sweet white wine blend pairs well with Cooper’s favorite food, cheese!

brix1Brix

Our Bernese Mountain Dog, is enjoying retirement by strolling around the 20-acre property at his lake house. He enjoys belly rubs, chasing flies, and stealing samples of venison jerky. He was named after the way we test the ripeness of our grapes; the sugar content in the grapes are measured in degrees Brix. His wine, “Brix,” is bubbly and friendly, just like he is.