Wisconsin Ranks Among Elite at US Cheese Championship


State of Cheese® wins two of top-three best of show, 51 Best of Class and sweeps multiple categories

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin again wins more awards than any other state or country during the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. Wisconsin cheesemakers secure almost half of the 20 finalist honors, including first and second runner-up. 

Red Barn Family Farms from Appleton, Wisconsin, was named second-best cheese in the country. “I’d like to acknowledge our small family farmers that work so hard to give us the best milk for our cheeses,” said Paula Homan of Red Barn Family Farms during the live announcement. “Also, thank you to our cheesemaker at Door Artisan Cheese Company and to the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and all their work for helping us to create this wonderful, original recipe cheese.” 

Cupola Artisan Cheese is a raw cow’s milk cheese, developed with CDR exclusively for Red Barn Family Farms, that is handcrafted in small batches at Door Artisan Cheese Company in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. 

CDR is a dairy farmer checkoff funded product research center offering solution-based research backed by experience, passion and tradition. CDR is one of the many components that make Wisconsin the State of Cheese. Others include access to family farms (95% of Wisconsin’s farms are family-owned), Master Cheesemakers (Wisconsin’s Master Cheesemaker program is the only one outside of Switzerland, and,  of course, a rich tradition of cheesemaking (people in Wisconsin have been making cheese longer than it’s been a state -- more than 180 years).

“It only seems right that Wisconsin is so well represented in the finalists for a national cheese championship,” says Chad Vincent, CEO for Wisconsin Cheese. “Because of our dedicated dairy farmers and skilled makers who exhibit continued innovation and dedication, Wisconsin really is the State of Cheese.” 

Wisconsin cheesemakers further showcase their award-winning craftsmanship sweeping 28 competition classes and Associated Milk Producers Inc. taking second runner-up for medium cheddar. Previously, Wisconsin swept the top three spots in 2017 and claimed second and third in the 2019 contests. 

Notably, the U.S. Champion cheese, Europa by Arethusa Farm Dairy in Connecticut, is crafted by Wisconsin native Eric Schmid born and raised in Southern Wisconsin. He still holds close ties with many mentors in Wisconsin and recognized support from Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers Chris Roelli, Paul Reigle and Bruce Workman. 

Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies earned 171 total awards, 51 Best of Class awards, 63 Second Place awards and 57 Third Place awards. Fifty-five Wisconsin dairy companies won one or more cheese awards, while 10 Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies won five or more awards. Entries totaled 2,249 from across the nation, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country. To learn more about award-winning Wisconsin cheeses from this competition and more, visit

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 products. For more information, visit our website at
About Wisconsin Cheese: The tradition of cheesemaking excellence began more than 180 years ago, beforeWisconsin was recognized as a state. 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. For more information, visit or connect on Facebook.

Photo Caption: From Left: U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Assistant Chief Judge Tim Czmowski holding the First Runner-Up, Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese by Red Barn Family Farms in Appleton, Wisconsin; Chief Judge Jim Mueller holding the 2023 U.S. Champion, Europa by Arethusa Family Farms in Bantam, Connecticut; and Director of Logistics Randy Swensen holding Second Runner-Up, a Medium Cheddar by Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Blair, Wisconsin.

For More Information

Abrielle Kane
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
8418 Excelsior Dr.
Madison, WI 53717