Have you ever wondered how Spinneyfields awesome cheese is selected for our customers?

Here’s a quick guide to the grading process as carried out by the company’s leading cheese experts, the cheese graders!

Ornua has a significant grading team based within Ireland & the UK, with vast experience across all sectors of the cheese business.

All cheese is graded by our specially trained cheese grading team who regularly carry out benchmarking sessions to ensure our high standards are upheld and remain constant.

And as all of our Cheddar is graded by our grading team, it is hand selected for our customers and brands based on their requirements using our skill and knowledge of customer requirements regarding flavour level, flavour profile, functional requirements, preferred manufacturer & age etc.

The grading team also frequently hold grading sessions with our customers to further educate on cheese selection & to further understand their requirements, to continue the best possible supply.

So what’s the process?

Cheddar is first graded first at between 3-10 weeks old and then periodically graded to ensure development is as expected. Typically each sample graded represents 2/3 metric tonne of cheese per vat.

Using the cheese iron to bore a sample from the cheese block, the graders use all four senses to inspect the characteristics of the cheese : Body (firmness) Appearance, Aroma and Flavour.

Cheese Iron - for extracting a sample of cheese


As the cheese grader bores the iron into the cheese the grader will feel the texture of the cheese against the iron. This will tell the grader how the cheese will function.

Cheese to the touch


The cheese grader will take a core sample with the iron and smell the sample taking note of its aroma. The grader will immediately pick up distinct aromas from the cheese.

Cheese Grading Manager Rory O'Brien



The Cheese grader will visually inspect the cheese, looking to ensure that colour and texture is as desired with no visual impurities. The grader will also inspect the cheese iron to give an indication of the fat level in the cheese.


The Grader will finally taste the cheese. The grader will identify and take note of the flavours present in the cheese be it bitter, sour, sweet, salty or whatever other flavours are present. Because cheese is a living product there may be a changing complexity of flavours present.

The Cheese Taste Test

Prior to going to the customer, all Spinneyfields cheese will have been graded at least twice to meet our customers’ requirements for flavour and texture.  Only then do we call it Spinneyfields.

So, for everyone who relies on consistency and performance, Twice Graded Spinneyfields cheese is the perfect choice. And that’s why it’s approved by chefs.

Contact us now if you would like to find out more by emailing us at and one of our helpful team will be delighted to help.

From the Blog

Stay in the Know!

Simply submit your email address and we’ll let you know when we’ve posted new insights into important developments and new trends that will impact the world of foodservice.