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Cheese Factory backstory, winemakers and food support

Their motto comes from father Angelo Sangiacomo who says, “Take care of your land, and take care of your people.” The Sangiacomos were the first growers to house farm workers in a dorm and pay one of them to cook lunch in the field.

“Ang’s” siblings included Lorraine, who inherited the job of cooking for family lunch meetings, Buck, and Bob, who passed away too early.

The entire Sangiacomo family was a past honoree at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Sweetheart Gala for their outstanding contributions, and Mike filled in for Ang to ring the first Harvest celebration bell for the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance.

Their fall releases came out on Monday, so join their mailing list to get an allocation offer or to purchase new wines upon release. The family says their “Club Familia is built for celebrating family, friendship and loyalty.” 21545 Broadway, Sonoma. 934-8445.

Benziger Family Winery is Best Tour

USA Today Readers’ Choice Travel Awards named Benziger Family Winery’s estate and winery tour as Best Winery Tour for 2020. Benziger Family Winery is now owned by the Wine Group of Livermore, but many family members are still involved.

Guests can expect a tram tour of Benziger’s biodynamic vegetable garden and vineyard with a full explanation and history of the property with Chris Benziger, and opt for a seated tasting. This is a truly unique property and the Benzigers offer a thorough history and knowledge of Jack London as a near neighbor.

The Tribute Estate Tour takes about 1.5 hours to cover their Sonoma Mountain Estate. Because of the pandemic, they now take only private groups up to six guests Thursday through Monday, with tasting along the way. No minors allowed. $60. To make a reservation call 800-989-8890 or visit

Breathless Wines win too

Sharon Cohn’s Breathless Wines just won 2020 “Winery of the Year” from LuxeSF’s Rising Star Awards. LuxeSF happens to publish both Silicon Valley and San Francisco magazines.

LuxeSF was formerly known as the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco. According to their press release, “the Winery of the Year Award is given to an up-and-coming leader in the industry, a brand that is a subject of current industry buzz, generating consumer and trade excitement, one that is innovating and experimenting with new, interesting trends in winemaking and marketing, and is hiring top performers while attracting great wine talent to their roster.”

Former Glen Ellen resident Sharon Cohn and her sisters, Rebecca Faust and Cynthia Faust, founded Breathless Wines in 2012 to honor their mother, Martha, who inspired them, saying: “The woman on our label is a tribute to our mother, Martha, and all the men and women who teach and remind us to take each breath we are given as a gift to be cherished.”

Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster uses the specialized Méthode Champenoise that she learned in France to make these fine wines, including a sparkling rosé, a blanc de noirs, a blanc de blancs and a brut ($39 to $100).

The sisters also hold monthly Breakfast at Breathless and occasional Breakfast Bubbles & Books events, often featuring the novels of Rebecca Rosenberg of Kenwood, at their Healdsburg facility, 499 Moore Lane.

Breathless Wines have been also named Best New Winery by San Francisco magazine and featured in Forbes as well.

Their tasting room is open now, outdoors, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reserve your tasting ($16 to $69) at

Sonoma Mountain Beef Co.

Farmer and rancher Jamie Mickelson, owner of Sonoma Mountain Beef, has added some great new cuts to her website that you can buy directly from her at the Napa farmers market on Saturdays. Apparently she is back at Sonoma’s Friday morning farmers market every other week. Check out her new bone-in ribeye, Korean short ribs and carne asada cuts.

Mickelson, a graduate of Cal Poly with a masters in ag business, ranches in the Sonoma and Petaluma hills. Her cattle are grass-fed and grain finished to create flavor and juicy tenderness. They contain no antibiotics and consume no animal bi-products. Check her website at

The Mill meat and seafood update

A couple of readers posted in response to my column last week wondering whether chef Dana Jaffe would be cooking steaks like she did at Saddles Steakhouse before Suzanne Brangham sold it.

Sanjeev K. Singh will indeed. I wrote last week that they have a Wagyu top sirloin steak ($38) and a 6-ounce petite filet, the latter with wild mushrooms, summer vegetables and demi-glace ($36). They also now have a steak burger with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions ($18). Also, one can enjoy a poached Ora king salmon filet with baby bok choy, summer veggies and citrus beurre blanc ($28).

To the dessert menu they have added grilled fruits with oat crumbs and coconut ice cream, and burnt Basque cheesecake ($9.50). Jack London Village, 14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. Still no phone number.

Let us acknowledge

Let’s acknowledge all of those who lost their lives in the tragic violence of 9/11, and let’s thank all of the first responders who are risking their lives and health trying to protect us from tragic fires.

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