A drive through Sonoma reveals not just vineyards on the region's rolling green hills but also herds of happy grazing cows. So while most tourists make the trek to sample Sonoma's premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a little-known secret is that there are nearly 30 working farms and creameries producing a wide array of handcrafted cheeses - and many of them welcome visitors. The California Cheese Trail meanders through approximately 100 miles of Sonoma County and depending on the property, farm, and even cheesemaking classes may be on the menu.
Here are seven spots to sample, purchase and tour along Sonoma's segment of the California Cheese Trail...
The cheese at Wm Cofield is quite scrumptious. Tucked away in Sebastopol's The Barlow marketplace, this tiny cheese factory churns out "proper" British cheese: a complex, Stilton-inspired blue and a lush, cloth-bound aged cheddar. Both are delicious, but the biggest crowd please is Wm's cheese curds, sold by the bag.
Wm Cofield is a partnership between tow friends, award-winning cheesemaker Keith Adams and Napa Valley wine-maker Rob Hunter (formerly of Markham, Sterling, an currently at Bennett Lane Winery). Visitors to the cheese shop can sample cheese, check out the aging room and processing equipment, and then take some home. // wmcofieldcheese.com