Sample Artisan Cheese at the Source

In 1904, the sturdy stonewalled building that houses Vella Cheese was built to house a brewery in Sonoma. In 1931, during prohibition, the building stood empty, until a group of local businessmen and farmers approached local Tom Vella, who had made himself a reputation as an accomplished cheese maker. Would Tom, they wanted to know, be interested in starting a cheese factory of his own, if they guaranteed him all the quality bulk milk he would need to operate it successfully? Vella Cheese was born. The historic Vella Cheese Company is now run by Chickie Vella and her son, Gabe, representing the third and fourth generations to be involved in this family business.

At Vella Cheese you can taste some of the finest Jack Cheese you will find anywhere in the world. Sample these award winning artisan cheeses at  315 Second Street East, Sonoma. It’s the perfect pause in your wine tasting tour! •vellacheese.com

Located in the bucolic pastures of West Petaluma, Petaluma Creamery and Spring Hill Jersey Cheese Farm keep 4000 Jersey Cows happy. Over the last two years, Spring Hill has developed a broad line of cheeses, including, Quark, Ricotta, and a range of Cheddars and Jacks, which are offered, in addition to their traditional forms, in a variety of natural herb and spice flavors including garlic, pepper and sage. You can sample all of their cheeses at Petaluma Creamery in downtown P etaluma, right across from City Hall. •springhillcheese.com

When you visit Raymond & Co. Cheesemongers, not only will you taste exquisite cheeses, owner John will passionately share what makes Raymond & Co. great. This can be anything from the  process to details about the cheesemakers, to his knowledge of the many goats, cows and sheep providing product from each local farm. During the 1 hour tasting, John takes you deep into each individual  cheese. It’s an intensive hour focused on the fundamentals and tricks of the trade used to ensure cheese perfection. John Raymond Cheese Co. @ Black Stallion Winery. 4089 Silverado Trail Napa. For tastings call 707.253.1400. •raymondcheesemongers.com

Located on Sonoma’s beautiful and historic Plaza, site of the Bear Flag Revolt and home of California’s last mission, Sonoma Cheese Factory is the perfect point of departure for a tour of nearby shops, wineries and historic sites, including the Sonoma Mission and Barracks, the nearby home of General Vallejo, and Jack London’s Beauty Ranch. Visitors from around the world come here to taste fine cheeses, sample hand-made fudge, shop and lunch either inside or outside on the patio at the Plaza Grill. The gourmet deli and store features made – to – order sandwiches, picnic items including cheeses, cold meats, salads, specialty food and gift items, along with premium wines from the Sonoma Valley. Most items are available to take with you on your picnic or tour of the area. And to remember your visit they have an expansive selection of Wine Country gifts. Open 8:30AM to 5:30PM, 7 Days A Week.  800-535-2855 2 Spain Street, Sonoma. •sonomacheesefactory.com