Family Winemakers of CaliforniaFamily Winemakers of California
Family Winemakers of California was founded in 1991 to give voice and presence to small, family wineries in the public policy arena. In the wake of the referendum on the wine market order, which was not extended, several small wineries created another vintner association apart from Wine Institute.
Family Winemakers was originally named Premium Winemakers of America, a reflection of the organization’s roots in producing quality table wine. In 1992, the organization was renamed Family Winemakers of California because it was an “organization that reflects the ‘little guy’s’ point of view.” The concept behind the association was to protect individual freedom from government over-regulation. The founders believed that an organization of this type would unite small wineries and address issues that were neglected by the California Wine Commission and Wine Institute.
Fiscalini Cheese CompanyFiscalini Cheese Company
Fiscalini Cheese Company was established in the year 2000 when John Fiscalini followed in his ancestors’ footsteps and began making cheese just as they had in Switzerland in the 1700’s. When he began producing cheese on his dairy farm in Modesto California he had no real experience in making cheese he just followed a simple recipe and always stayed committed to making only the highest quality cheese.
John had been making cheese about a year when fate intervened and he was introduced to Mariano Gonzalez. After a visit to Fiscalini Cheese Company Mariano undoubtedly left knowing that together he and John Fiscalini could achieve their dreams of producing some of the best cheeses in the world.
Born in Paraguay, Mariano learned to make cheese as a young boy when his uncle got into the cheese business out of necessity. In the rolling hills, where his dairy was located, Mariano’s uncle made cheese when it rained and the milk truck couldn’t make it to the dairy to transport the milk due to the slippery roads. Mariano was willing to help out and quickly became the family cheesemaker. Years later, he relocated to Vermont where he got a summer job at Shelburne Farms. Within just a few years he became their head cheesemaker winning numerous awards and securing national recognition for their cheeses.
In the spring of 2001 Mariano became an extension of the Fiscalini family and began making cheese for us, just one year later our Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar won Best Farmstead Cheese in North America. Today Mariano continues to manage and grow our product line while winning awards for his handcrafted masterpieces.
Our cheeses are all made in small batches, using natural ingredients and milk from our own cows. Although the process of making cheese by hand is extremely labor intensive we believe that creating artisan cheese is a tradition well worth the extra effort.
As you walk through our cheese plant you will see how our family and our master cheesemaker, Mariano Gonzalez, have carefully thought through the production of each of our cheeses from the wooden racks we use to hand turn each wheel of our bandage wrapped cheddar to the large smoker we use for our smoked cheddar. There is an art to making our cheese.
The combination of traditional techniques and innovative new approaches is Mariano’s specialty and you can taste his magic in all of our cheese.
Friends of the WinemakersFriends of the Winemakers
Friends of the Winemakers is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to preserve the history of winemaking and the enjoyment of wine in the Santa Clara Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains; to share the knowledge with others; to stimulate interests about vineyards, varieties of wine, and the process of wine production; and to support our winery members through publicity and various activities.
Each month we schedule a wine oriented activity. Some of these involve visits to local wineries and tastings in support of the Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz Mountains wine industry. We help non-profit organizations with volunteer assistance by pouring wine at their events. Looking ahead, we’re working to further encourage knowledge about our local winemaking industry and to preserve its history through the establishment of a Santa Clara Valley/Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Museum.