Neighbor Spotlight: Vella Cheese Company

For almost 90 years, Vella Cheese Company has been creating delicious and iconic cheeses in Sonoma.

In a building originally intended to be a brewery right off what is now the Sonoma Plaza, Tom Vella and his wife, Zolita, began the Vella Cheese Factory in 1931. Tom, having worked various jobs in the Sonoma Mission Creamery, became known for his hard work and superior cheesemaking. He had been approached by a group of dairymen, who guaranteed him all of the quality milk he would need if he started his own factory; and so, he did.

Vella Cheese Company found great success and continued to grow over the years. Sonoma visitors came to discover the unique atmosphere of the stone building, and crave the fresh, dry jack cheese. This was a “new” cheese to many, not being cheddar, or even orange. But it’s indescribably delicate flavor lured more and more fans to the creamery. Eventually, Tom passed the business to his children, and his son, Ig, picked right up. Today, Ig’s wife, Sally, is the company president, and works alongside her daughter and other members of the Vella family. With a deep understanding of nature and her ebbs and flows, Vella Cheese is committed to natural ingredients in their cheese. All milk is sourced from Mertens Dairy, a local sustainably farmed, family dairy in Sonoma, and all whey is returned to Mertens to be reused to enrich their crops. Though much changes over the years, Vella’s commitment to quality and tradition remains the same.

Vella Cheese Company is just a short block from the Sonoma Plaza. Located in the same old stone building, visiting the storefront is an experience in itself. After being greeted by the friendly faces behind the counter, don’t miss the chance to sample the delicious cheeses. The employees at Vella are extremely knowledgeable and love to answer any questions about the products. Along with pre-cut and wrapped offerings, you can have a fresh cut prepared for you to take home. Picnicking in the square? Vella is your one stop shop. Along with cheese, they offer a small selection of charcuterie, crackers, tools for cutting cheeses, and chocolates. All of this, coupled with your favorite Sonoma wine, is all you need for the perfect day in the Plaza.

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