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4/23/2024

10 Makers Elevate to Masters in 2024 Graduating Class of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker ProgramĀ®

Among Graduates Is Third Female Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker®, Second-Most Decorated Master, Maker of America’s Most Awarded Cheese 

MADISON, Wis.The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program® is proud to announce the graduation of its 2024 class, which consists of ten exceptional cheesemakers, including the second-most certified Master and third-ever female Master.  

Wisconsin is home to over 1,200 licensed cheesemakers who produce an astonishing array of more than 600 cheese varieties. However, for those seeking to reach the pinnacle of their craft, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker certification is the ultimate achievement. The program is a joint effort by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Dairy Research and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the only place outside of Switzerland where a cheesemaker can achieve this level of expertise.  

“This certification (and honor) is hard to come by, and it’s certainly not an easy feat,” says Chad Vincent, CEO Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. “Only a select few earn the prestigious title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker. These individuals have dedicated years to perfecting their skills, honing their craft, and expanding their knowledge of cheese production.” 

Sara Griesbach, newly certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker at Nasonville Dairy, Inc., has become the third-ever woman to complete the prestigious Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program. Griesbach, alongside nine other graduates, earned medals at the Graduating 2024 Master Cheesemaker Class ceremony held on April 18, 2024. 

Also, from Nasonville Dairy, Inc., is Brian Jackson, returning for his 9th and 10th certifications. That makes him the second most decorated cheesemaker in the program after Bruce Workman, who holds 13 certifications. This year, Jackson is earning certifications in Queso Blanco and Cheese Curds. 

The 2024 graduating class welcomes five new Masters and five returning Masters for new certifications. 

New Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers: 

  • Sara Griesbach, Nasonville Dairy, Inc., Curtiss & Marshfield  
    • Certified Master: Cheddar and Monterey Jack  
  • Andy Hatch, Uplands Cheese Company, Dodgeville 
    • Certified Master: Hard Surface Ripened Cheese (Pleasant Ridge Reserve) 
  • Michael Newman, BelGioioso® Cheese, Freedom 
    • Certified Master: Fresh Mozzarella 
  • Aaron Quick, Sartori®  Cheese, Antigo 
    • Certified Master: Asiago and Parmesan 
  • Jason Radke, BelGioioso® Cheese, Freedom 
    • Certified Master: Fresh Mozzarella and Ricotta 

Returning Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers: 

  • Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe  
    • Certified Master: Brick and Gouda 
  • Matt Erdley, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe  
    • Certified Master: Gouda and Havarti 
  • Kirk Hansen, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield 
    • Certified Master: Asiago and Cheese 
  • Tony Hook, Hook’s Cheese Company, Inc., Mineral Point  
    • Certified Master: Cheddar 
  • Brian Jackson, Nasonville Dairy, Inc., Marshfield 
    • Certified Master: Cheese Curds and Queso 

Once certified, these Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers join an exclusive group of individuals who are recognized as the best in their field. Their expertise and knowledge are highly sought after, and they play a crucial role in preserving and advancing Wisconsin's rich cheesemaking tradition. Look for the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker®  Seal to support a Master who has devoted their career to perfecting the art of cheese. 

To see more about the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker®  program or learn about Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers please visit www.wisconsincheese.com

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About Wisconsin Cheese: The tradition of cheesemaking excellence began more than 180 years ago before Wisconsin was recognized as a state. With 90% of the State's cow's milk being turned into cheese, Wisconsin's 1,200 cheesemakers, many of whom are third- and fourth-generation, continue to pass on old-world traditions while adopting modern innovations in cheesemaking craftsmanship. Wisconsin has won more awards for its cheese than any other state or country. For more information, visit WisconsinCheese.com or connect on Facebook. 
 
About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin: Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin's world-class dairy.   

Editor Notes:
Photo Caption: 10 Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers® Graduate in the Class of 2024. Pictured, back row (from left): Tony Hook, Hook's Cheese Company, Inc.; Michael Newman, BelGioioso® Cheese; Matt Eardley, Klondike Cheese Company; Kirk Hansen, Nasonville Dairy, Inc.; and Jason Radke, BelGioioso® Cheese. Front row: Brian Jackson, Nasonville Dairy, Inc.; Sara Griesbach, Nasonville Dairy, Inc.; Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Company; Andy Hatch, Uplands Cheese Company; and Aaron Quick, Sartori® Cheese.
 

For More Information

Abrielle Kane
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
8418 Excelsior Dr.
Madison, WI 53717
608-807-9892
akane@wisconsindairy.org