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The Team

Marty Lagina

Born in Kingsford on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Marty has spent nearly all his life living in Michigan. His background is in engineering and the energy business, but with family ties to one of Italy’s premier winegrowing areas, a passion for wine is in his blood. Marty’s vision for Mari Vineyards is simple: world-class red wines, made locally in northern Michigan but with a nod to the Italian style of his ancestors.

When he’s not off hunting treasure on Oak Island or on some other ill-advised misadventure, Marty’s vision and leadership guide the most important decisions at Mari Vineyards. From what grapes to plant to the architecture of our tasting room and winery, Marty has made sure Mari Vineyards stays true to his dream.

Alex Lagina

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in mechanical engineering, Alex moved back to his hometown of Traverse City to take part in the family business. With the success of the award winning Mari Vineyards wines, his focus was shifted to support the expansion of the vineyards and the construction of the new winery on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan.

When Alex is not working on the development of the winery, he is out filming for the Curse of Oak Island. The show follows Alex, his father Marty Lagina and his uncle Rick Lagina as they attempt to use modern technology to hunt for treasure on Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Sean O'Keefe

Mari Vineyards's full-time winemaker Sean O'Keefe's winemaking pedigree is unparalleled. A member of Michigan's "First Family of Riesling," Sean brings his years of experience as a winemaker, co-owner, and vice president at Chateau Grand Traverse to the cellars of Mari Vineyards. It's that experience, combined with high-quality grapes and the freedom to make each vintage according to the character of that year’s grapes has resulted in our outstanding, international award-winning wines. Now in his sixth year as Mari Vineyard’s vintner, Sean continues to innovate and experiment, which means exciting things are in store for Michigan wine lovers!

Sean Noell

Sean graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture. A Traverse City native, Sean moved home to start his career as the Vineyard Manager at Mutual Farm Management. As the Vineyard Manager Sean oversaw Mari Vineyards’ grapes and specialized in the production and care of the Nellaserra Vineyards.

After six years on the farm, Sean’s knowledge and expertise made him an obvious candidate for expanding into wine making. Sean was chosen as the Cellar Master for Mari Vineyards in September 2016. He plays a vital role in producing and ensuring the quality of Mari Vineyards’ wines.

John McIntyre

John McIntyre is the man behind the machines. If it whirrs, squeezes, ferments, levels or planes, and is tied to one of Marty Lagina’s many companies, chances are John has a hand in it. From machine selection, fabrication and installation to troubleshooting and maintenance, John uses his vast professional experience in electrical, mobile, welding, plumbing, hydraulics and pneumatics to keep everything running.

John is responsible for maintenance and periodic re-engineering of farming machinery, viticulture planting equipment and the equipment at Mari Vineyards. He also oversees the logistics and systems for Lagina's commercial grade sawmill. You may find John in the nacelle of a million-dollar wind turbine – part of Lagina’s sustainability initiative with Heritage Energy’s commercial wind farms in Michigan or inside a steel fermentation tank in Mari Vineyards.

Even though John is a little shy in front of the camera, he has experienced his own 15-minutes of Hollywood fame, when he fabricated three cars named the “Pulse” which were featured in the block buster movie “Back to the Future Two” of the late 1980s.

Jay Budd

Jay has been with Mutual Farm Management (MFM) since 2009 where he quickly moved into the lead management position. Mutual Farm Management handles land preparation, plantings, care and harvesting for all of Mari’s vineyards as well as many of the other vineyards on the Old Mission Peninsula. As the Vineyard/Farm Manager, Jay is responsible for the day to day operations of the vineyard field staff, general farming and grounds maintenance at Mari Vineyards.

A graduate of Northern Michigan University, Jay worked as an Environmental Technician/Consultant for 10 years before joining Mutual Farm Management and returning to his farming roots. Completely by accident, he had the good fortune to meet the previous MFM manager who was looking to add someone just like Jay to the team. Per Jay: “He knew I was a sixth-generation farmer with a third-degree farmers tan.”

Andy Jacobson

Andy is the Tasting Room Manager at Mari Vineyards. Hired early in 2016, Andy worked hard to hire staff and create the wine tasting experience that our guests have come to expect. Always friendly and charming, Andy's vast wine and industry knowledge and incredible customer-centric service makes every visit to the winery unique.

Jenna Veiga

Jenna is the Hospitality Manager at Mari Vineyards as well as the Assistant Tasting Room Manager. She handles events, marketing, and social media for the winery. Jenna has been with Mari Vineyards since the opening in May of 2016.

She has been working in the wine industry since 2010. Jenna received a Bachelors in Hospitality from Texas Tech University, and later a Masters of Science in International Sustainable Tourism from University of North Texas.

Jenna is a Texas transplant who has been living in Michigan since 2015. After studying abroad for 6 months in Costa Rica, she moved up to Northern Michigan in the dead of winter with the heaviest jacket she could find to learn about the growing wine country. She fell in love with the area and has been here ever since.

Joan Leppek

Joanie manages finance and operations for Mari Vineyards. From financial reporting, payroll and taxes to compliance, if it involves an acronym, Joanie likely is the person that handles it.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Joanie has traveled extensively and lived in several states. With a background in accounting and business, she has worked with many start-ups and specializes in setting up bookkeeping and recordkeeping for new businesses.