Tour Length - 10 hours approximately
Since this is a “farm to table” cheese tour, we will start with a working family dairy farm. Get ready to roll up your sleeves! As you explore a ranch of ethically raised goats and cows, you will come to appreciate how breeding, natural feeds and care in milking are the raw ingredients for super cheeses.
The ranch tour includes the milking parlor and the loafing barns where the goats and cows hang out. While walking through the facility, it is not uncommon to have friendly animals join the tour group. Finish off the visit by tasting the dairy’s own delicious and unique cheeses.
Next, we will pay a visit to Vella Cheese on historic Sonoma Square. The Vella family has made cheese in the same stone building since 1931. The cultures and the hands-on techniques are the same as they have always been. Happily, a tasting board of delicious Vella cheeses will really get your appetite going.
A short walk to Sonoma Plaza will lead you to many scrumptious restaurants for a well-deserved meal. Choose for a seated wine pairing at the Plaza Bistro, a picnic lunch at the Sunflower Café or any one of a dozen other satisfying options.
After lunch, you will be served the main course for your artisan cheese tour of Northern California—cheese-making demonstration and instruction by American Cheese Society award-winner Sheana Davis. Her fun, hands-on class will demonstrate how to craft a melt-in-your-mouth ricotta cheese.
Upon arrival, your small group will be treated to a Sonoma or Napa wine and an artisanal cheese tasting so you can explore different types of handcrafted cheeses prior to creating your own. Then, Sheana will lead your small group in the process of making a fresh ricotta cheese from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Before finishing up, Sheana will suggest how your newly created cheese can be used to prepare delicious lasagna, parfaits, gourmet grilled cheeses, and other cheesy delights.
Pickup at most San Francisco hotels
Tour and tasting at a working dairy farm
Cheese factory tour at Vella Cheese Co.
Lunch at historic Sonoma Plaza
Hands-on cheese making class with a local artisan
Wine and cheese toast to the Golden Gate Bridge
Return to your San Francisco hotel
This tour takes about 10 hours.
Cheese factory tour, all tasting fees and cheese-making demonstration class are included in the tour cost.
This tour is offered in English only. However, if required we can organize a private tour in several languages.
Please note that for your child's safety, we require you to bring a child safety seat or booster seat for all children under 8 years of age or 4' 9" in height, as dictated by California State Law. You will be required to bring your own child seat on all motor vehicle tours. Failure to provide a seat for your child will result in forfeit of your seats on the tour without a refund. Please also note that any children 12 years and older must have an adult ticket as they do not qualify for a child-priced ticket.
We only pick-up from hotels located in Downtown San Francisco including Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf.
Yes, the tour is guided with an English-speaking guide. There will also be time on your own during the lunch stop.
Temperatures vary depending on the season and time of day, so we recommend that you wear layered clothing in case of unexpectedly climbing or falling temperatures. We do not recommend wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts in the winter. However, we realize that everyone is acclimated to different weather and thus trust you to make your own judgement. For footwear, we recommend comfortable walking shoes, such as regular tennis shoes, sneakers, or boots with rubber soles and treads. In the summer months, hiking sandals can be worn on the tour, but high heels, beach flip-flops, and other open-toed shoes are not recommended.
Extra spending money for meals, snacks, souvenirs etc
A light jacket (easily removable) in case of wind
Warm clothes and a waterproof jacket (during the winter months)
Hat and sunscreen (during the summer months)
Sturdy umbrella (if the forecast calls for rain)
Meals are not included on this tour. There are options to purchase lunch and snacks in downtown Sonoma.
Yes, we request that you reach out to us at least a day in advance to confirm your tour and pick up details. You can contact us via our live chat function or by calling our office at 1-866-231-3752 (toll free from the USA) or +1-415-357-0700 (internationally) during office hours. You can call us from your hotel’s phone if you do not have a working mobile phone while you are in the area.