2013 Road to Palm Springs

Finalist profile

  • Share

Jim Sartori
Jeff Schwager

Before the Napa Valley wine revolution of the 1970s, the idea of a good-quality wine from California was laughable. Likewise, cheese connoisseurs traditionally dismissed the potential of US-made cheese to be of high quality — until, that is, Sartori launched a revolution of its own.

Jim Sartori grew up in the family business and joined its sales team after college. Around him, he saw a shift in the US artisanal cheese market and later, as CEO, made the historic decision to switch Sartori’s focus from commodity cheese to specialty cheese.

In 2009, with Jeff Schwager on board as President, the pair led the development of Sartori’s new premium-branded cheese business. Buoyed by a team of innovative employees and a business advisory council to support their vision, they invested in the infrastructure to produce unique artisanal cheeses. Their efforts have paid off: today Sartori Company, now employing the fourth generation of the Sartori family, has received more than 125 awards for its products.