80 years of making cheese at Vella Cheese Company
Great article from Pressdemocrat about Vella Cheese Company post Ig Vella. Looks like the fourth generation of the family is grabbing the reins with ease:
“You know, it’s not like I closed a lucrative law practice last June and decided to jump into making cheese. Dad had congestive heart failure in October 2009, and he never came back full time after that. So we had all that time before he died to figure things out. It takes 13 people to run this business. Our head cheesemaker, Charlie Malkassian, has been here 32 years. My son, Gabriel Luddy, in training to be a cheesemaker, has been here 11 years. And I’ve been here 31 years.”
The company was founded by Chickie’s grandfather, Gaetano “Tom” Vella. An Italian immigrant, he came to Sonoma in the early 1920s and ended up making cheese at the Sonoma Mission Creamery. In 1931, he joined forces with another cheesemaker, Celso Viviani, to start their own company.