2012 Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference


June 21, 2011

Contact: Sheana Davis, 707.935.7960, [email protected]


Speaker Line-up Announced for 2012 Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference

SONOMA, Calif. – The Ninth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference – an annual gathering of American artisan cheesemakers, retailers, distributors, food writers and cheese enthusiasts, is set for Feb. 25 – 29, 2012, in Sonoma, Calif.

Hosted by Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection in Sonoma, Calif., the highly-respected conference is a premier destination for cheese industry opinion leaders from across the nation, and in 2012, will honor the memory of Ig Vella, Sonoma native and godfather of artisan cheese.

Conference festivities kick off a day early in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 25, with Cheese Plus hosting a public Winter Artisan Cheese Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. The event showcases cheesemakers leading the artisan and farmstead cheese movement, as well as wines and ales from Sonoma County. That evening, 18 Reasons in San Francisco hosts a cheesemaker reception. The conference proper begins Sunday, Feb. 26 with an afternoon Sonoma Winter Artisan Cheese Fair, featuring artisan cow, sheep and goat cheese producers, wines, brews, guest chefs and a “Winter Mac & Cheese Cook-off”  at The Mac Arthur Place in Sonoma. The next two days feature seminars and networking sessions at the MacArthur Place in Sonoma, and wraps up with a special one-day ZingTrain session led by Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s.

Event Details:

  • Saturday, Feb. 25: Cheese Plus Winter Artisan Cheese Fair. Cheese Plus in San Francisco invites the public to taste and purchase local cheeses and wines, from 1 to 4 p.m. That evening, 18 Reasons hosts a cheesemaker reception. Location: San Francisco.
  • Sunday, Feb. 26: Sonoma Winter Artisan Cheese Fair. Both the public and conference attendees are invited to an opening reception to kick off the Ninth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference. Location: MacArthur Place in Sonoma. Tickets: $40 (complimentary ticket included with full conference registration).
  • Monday, Feb. 27 – Tuesday, Feb. 28: Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference. Sessions this year revolve around the theme of “Leading Ladies of the American Artisanal Cheese Movement” and feature a session on the “Leading Ladies of Chevre” with Judy Schad, Capriole Goat Cheese; Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery; and Jennifer Bice, Redwood Hill Farm.  Another panel features “Dairy Farmers’ Daughters” with Jana McClelland, McClelland’s Dairy; Lynn Stray, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese; Vivien Straus, Straus Farm, and Karen Bianchi Moreda, Valley Ford.
  • Two more sessions scheduled include a “Cheese Community Leaders” panel with Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s; Adam Moskowitz, Cheesemaker Invitational; and Sasha Davies, author; as well as a “Wisconsin Artisan Cheese & Brew” session featuring Sid Cook, Carr Valley Cheese; Chris Roelli, Roelli Cheese; Jeanne Carpenter, Wisconsin Cheese Originals; and Marilyn Wilkinson, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
  • Additional guest speakers during the conference include: Valerie Brown, Sonoma Supervisor; Carrie Brown, Jimtown;  Jacquelyn Buchannan, Laura Chenel Chevre; Judy Creighton, Consultant; Seana Doughty, Bleating Heart Cheese; Brad Dube, Food Matters Again; Gordon Edgar, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative; Janet Fletcher, Food Writer, Laurie Gallian, Sonoma Mayor; Steve Giambalvo, Cheese Works West; Glenda Humiston, USDA Rural Development Director; Rick Lafranchi, Nicasio Valley Cheese; Tom Scott, Oliver’s Market; Richard Sutton, St. James Cheese Shop; Anthea Stolz, Bi Rite Market; and Anna Wolfe, Gourmet Retailer.
  • Generous time and space are available for talking with other participants during breaks and lunches.  The conference offers an invaluable opportunity to learn as well as sharing knowledge, challenges and solutions.  Location: MacArthur Place, Sonoma. Tickets: $250, includes all sessions and lunches.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 29:  ZingTrain Session. Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s will present a dynamic, small-group session guaranteed to get participants thinking about running their organizations in new ways that help increase job satisfaction, reduce the burden on managers, cut back bureaucracy and build better bottom-line results to outperform competitors. Location: MacArthur Place, Sonoma. Cost: $1,200 per person. Space is limited to 24 persons.

To register, email Sheana Davis at [email protected] or call 707- 935-7960. Visit www.sheanadavis.com to learn more.

The Ninth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference thanks this year’s sponsors:  Bi Rite Market & Creamery,  Carr Valley Cheese Company, Cheese Plus, Delice de la Vallee, Food Matters Again, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, The Epicurean Connection, Wisconsin Cheese Originals and Zingerman’s Family of Businesses.


Sheana Davis—chef, cheesemaker, caterer, culinary educator, and owner of the The Epicurean Connection Shop in Sonoma, California—has been enthusiastically supporting the artisan and farmstead cheese movement for 20 years.  Her Ninth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference, drawing industry leaders from across the United States, is scheduled for Feb 25-29, 2012 in Sonoma, California.www.sheanadavis.com