Vella Cheese Co.
Gaetano (“Tom”) Vella moved to Sonoma in the early 1920’s to join family that had settled there. His brother, Joseph, was a partner at the Sonoma Mission Creamery and quickly put Tom to work. Tom quickly developed a reputation as a hard worker who made delicious cheeses and in 1931 a group of dairy farmers called Tom to see if he would be interested in using their milk to make cheese of his own. Tom jumped at the idea and moved into an old stonewalled building that was originally built as a brewery in 1904, but had been abandoned during Prohibition. Business grew exponentially during World War II, and in 1951, Vella Cheese moved their production into the larger Sonoma Mission Creamery facility. The stone building was found to be the perfect environment for aging cheeses, and so Vella used that as a hub and promotional tool to help spread news of his cheese via tourist visits and word of mouth. Producing Jack cheese, named during the Gold Rush by a Scotsman named David Jacks, the Vella Cheese Company helped make this cheese synonymous with California. The company is still family run, with the fifth generation of Vella’s contributing to production and uses high-quality milk from a group of farms throughout Sonoma county!