Norway won last year. Britain won the year before that. But it was a blue cheese from the United States that recently won the top prize at this year’s World Cheese Awards.

It was a first for an American cheese in the awards’ 32-year history. Rogue Creamery, which won for its Rogue River Blue produced in Central Point, beat out a field of 3,800 cheeses from 42 countries. But while the accolade is impressive, sales since the awards were judged on Oct. 18 are an even bigger reward.

David Gremmels, president of Rogue Creamery who is also known as “Mr. Blue,” said web traffic and sales were up 500 percent since the award was announced. Foreign sellers, like Neal’s Yard Dairy and La Fromagerie in London, have increased orders too. And Rogue Creamery has seen new orders from cheese sellers in Spain and the Netherlands.

“I am taken aback,” Gremmels said. “The award is resonating not only in our community but throughout the industry. We are excited to see the reach of the brand.”

Rogue River Blue is seasonal and organic, made from cow’s milk and stowed in caves for nine to 11 months. Each wheel is hand-wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear liqueur. But it’s not cheap. A wheel, which weighs on average 84 ounces, costs $235; a quarter wheel is $75.

Rogue Creamery is known for its cheesemaking prowess and makes Cheddar and blue cheeses by hand in small batches. Nestled in the Rogue Valley, the company was founded in the 1930s by Tom Vella, an Italian immigrant.

Vella did not begin producing blue cheese until 1954 after he traveled to Roquefort, France, according to the company’s history. There he toured farms, factories and the limestone caves of Combalou where Roquefort cheese is ripened.

Gremmels and a partner, Cary Bryant, bought the creamery in 2002. Gremmels said he bought Bryant’s shares in 2015 and now is in a partnership with Savencia Fromage and Dairy.

Cathy Strange, vice president of specialty foods at Whole Foods, was one of 16 judges for the award. When the cheese was placed in front of her, she said, she thought it might be Rogue River Blue. She asked to look at the exterior. She smelled it. She tasted it and gave it a perfect score.

“That cheese tasted so darn good,” she said in an interview.

Rogue River Blue has long been a prize winner. In 2003, it was awarded best blue cheese in the World Cheese Awards in London. Nine years later it was named best American cheese at the awards in Birmingham, England.

Gremmels said he and his team randomly picked the winning wheel from a batch in storage. He was not concerned about running out of inventory, unlike in 2003 when the creamery won best blue.

The company more than doubled its production for this year.

Strange applauded the company’s commitment to making organic cheese.

“It’s very difficult and takes a lot of perseverance,” she said. “But this has been a great year for American cheese.”

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