handmade in Sonoma, CA since 1931
sustainably produced since 2003
Ig Vella, owner of Vella Cheese, received a Sustainable 6 environmental award from State Assemblyman Jared Huffman in honor of the photo-voltaic solar panels on the roof of the historic cheese-making building at 315 Second St. E.
Pictured from left to right are mayor Stanley Cohen, mayor pro-tem Joanne Sanders, Huffman and Vella.
“I save about $2,500 a month,” due to the solar panels, said Vella. He hasn’t had to pay any “peak” electricity costs —the most expensive – since installing them four years ago. Vella said the panels will have paid for themselves starting July 31, 2008. Officials from wineries have flocked to see the panels, Vella said. “If I had a bottle of wine from each one of ‘em, I’d have a case of it.”
Sonoma Sun 6/28/07 photo by Ron Lely
Vella Cheese is recognized by Slow Food in their Ark of Taste, "Saving Cherished Slow Foods, One Product at a Time." Jeff Roberts, director of Slow Food USA, presented Ignazio “Ig” Vella with a special award on behalf of Carlos Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food International.
In a letter Petrini wrote Vella, he said “I’m convinced that you deserve this award and I would like to renew my esteem for the precious work you have done and you are still doing: a work that is helping to improve food that is good from an organoleptic point of view, that is sustainable for the environment and fair at a social level.”
From an article in Portland Food and Drink, Jan. 12, 2007
Ignazio “Ig” Vella, proprietor of Vella’s Cheese on Second Street East north of East Spain Street, last week received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the esteemed American Cheese Society in Portland, Ore. Totally surprised by the award, early artisinal cheesemaker Vella took the microphone after trying unsuccessfully to pass off speaking duties to his daughter, “Ditty” Vella, and proclaimed, “My wife will ask me who I bribed!”
Vella’s Cheese is the only remaining cheese producer within Sonoma. As far as the ACS awards go, or went, Vella’s cheeses were misplaced by Cheese Society staff after arrival in Portland and were not judged among the 1,000 entered. Ig Vella has also served as a Sonoma County Supervisor and director of the Sonoma County Fair. Congratulations, Ig!
From Kathleen Hill's article in the Sonoma Valley Sun, Aug. 3, 2006
IG VELLA, FAR RIGHT, is honored by, from right, 1st District Supervisor Valerie Brown, City Council members Joanne Sanders, Ken Brown, Stanley Cohen and Doug McKesson at the newly named Ig Vella Bridge. Photo by Robbi Pengelly, Sonoma Index-Tribune
Inaugural award presented to mark the launch of the California Artisan Cheese Guild.
These awards were presented at a reception on Saturday, January 21, 2006 in San Francisco at the Ferry Building to celebrate the high level of talent, taste, quality and benchmark personal commitment represented by the inaugural honorees including Ignacio Vella of Vella Cheese Company, who is best known for his family’s Dry Jack, a host of other cheeses and his years of talented work and boundless generosity to young cheesemakers and others.
The specific awards are listed on the Cheeses page.