As the summer tasting crowds hit the route du vin, consider packing your own vino and hitting a road less traveled.
The Marin Economic Forum has thoughtfully mapped all of the artisan cheesemakers of Marin and Sonoma counties, dotting the landscape from Nicasio north to Santa Rosa. The Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail features 27 cheesemakers, and tells you where to buy their wares and whether they’re open for visits.
The North Bay is home to the largest concentration of artisan cheesemakers in the state, with over half clustered in Sonoma and Marin, according to the University of California Cooperative Extension. And yet small family dairy farms are on the decline, disappearing at the rate of 5 percent each year.
To ease the journey, the map includes two sample driving tours, one in Marin and one in Sonoma, spotlighting creameries where you can stop for a visit and a taste. Each drive is about 50 miles long. But other cheesemakers on the map have appointment-only tours your can arrange by calling ahead.
You can download the map from marineconomicforum.org.