Say Cheese: Your New Guide to a Tasty California Commodity

While Sonoma and Napa fight over bottle bragging rights, we’re hitting the California Cheese Trail via a nifty app.

Navigating our state’s incredible wineries, and there are many, can be as easy as hiring a limo to deliver you and your companions to a handpicked selection of vineyards. In the big, booming world of California wine, there’s no shortage of tours, tastings and talent to help guide you along. But what about another epicurean pleasure. Like, say, cheese?

Fans of Goat Gouda, Rumple and Point Reyes Blue rejoice. There’s an app created just for you cheeseheads. The California Cheese Trail promotes artisan cheesemakers and family farmers by connecting people to cheesemakers, cheesemaking, tours and all kinds of cheese events throughout California.

Cheese Trail is a non-profit initiative created in 2010 and run by Vivien Straus. If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because her brother runs the Straus Family Creamery, a company she helped build as VP of Marketing. The map is now in its seventh printing (over 400,000 distributed), has helped increase the visibility, sales and appreciation of local cheesemakers throughout the country.

After downloading the app or viewing the map online at, there are several options to find your way to the local cheesemakers. First, there are a handful of suggested driving tours to the various wine regions, from the Sacramento and the Sierras to sunny Southern California. Or you can create your own tour by sorting cheesemakers by region and finding those open to the public. You can easily pin to your itinerary and watch your personalized map come together. If you’d like to take a farm or cheesemaker tour, you can sort by region and select “Appointment Only” to get individual information on details and how to sign up.

Plus, check out all the regional events, like curd-making demonstrations at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes, or “Three Cheeses in Three Hours With Wine” at FARMcurious in Emeryville. We smell a good time.

—Darren Elms