Tequila Timeline: A Different Perspective

fast company, tequila timelineTequila Timeline: From Agave to the Worm

For some reason this article Tequila Timeline: From Agave to the Worm was reposted in Fast Company Magazine on Friday, November 20, 2009 from an earlier post on October 15, 2009.  (Maybe it was because the editors forgot to add the cute tequila graphics the first time?)

Anyway, most of the timeline is historically accurate, except for this factoid:

1873:  Don Cenobio Sauza exports three barrels to El Paso, Texas, the first tequila in the United States.  Today, the U.S. is the No. 1 market for tequila.  Mexico is second.  Third?  Greece.”

tequila timelineThe reference to Sauza exporting mezcal wine into El Paso in 1873 is incorrect.  I’ll explain why momentarily, but first…

Texas’ long history of laying claim to being the home of tequila in the United States can be credited to W. Park Kerr of the El Paso Chile Company fame.  Not for anything that he may have said, but for what he did.

Kerr was the first Texas entrepreneur to distill a private label tequila (Tequila Naciónal) in Mexico to his specifications, thus opening the floodgates of recent tequila brands based in Texas such as RiAzúl in Houston, El Grado in Corpus Christi, Republic Tequila in Austin, Buscadores in San Antonio, and Dos Lunas in El Paso, among others.

republic tequilaSorry to break this to tejanos, but Texas was not the final destination of that first delivery.

The Rest of the Story

In his book La historia del tequila, de sus regiones y sus hombres, author Rogelio Luna Zamora recounts:

“‘…con destino a Nuevo Mexico sale una partida de 3 barriles y 6 botijas….’  El punto fronterizo por donde salió fue el Paso del Norte (hoy Ciudad Juárez) en aquel entonces, paso obligado a las mercaderías exportadas por tierra al mercado estadunidense.”

[“‘…with a destination of New Mexico there is a lot of 3 barrels and 6 jugs….’  The border town point of entry was el Paso del Norte (present day Juárez) that in those days was the required land passage for commodities exported into the American marketplace.”]

 

 

In 1873, New Mexico was a territory of the United States, but still considered part of Mexico.  The final destination of Sauza’s shipment is believed to have been to the oldest capital city, Santa Fe.  Being also the terminus of the legendary Santa Fe Trail, the route that opened the Southwest to trading with the Eastern United States, this conclusion only makes sense.

Thirty-nine years later, New Mexico joined the Union.  Flash forward to today, and there is only one New Mexican owned brand of tequila (Silvercoin).

silvercoin tequila

Perhaps now is the time for more New Mexico entrepreneurs to step up with tequila labels of their own?

 

 

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Originally posted November 22, 2009 by TequilaRack.

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Are Rating Systems Flawed?

Wine Spectator reveals top 100 Wines of 2009, but…are all wine rating systems flawed?

Source: Los Angeles Times

November 20, 2009 | 5:16 pm

Now that Wine Spectator has finished dragging out the reveal of its Top 100 Wines of 2009 — a 2005 Columbia CrestCabernet Sauvignon was ranked No. 1 — over a yawn-inducing three days, we have to ask: Are wine ratings an accurate and useful guide for consumers? Or are they merely a series of wildly subjective impressions based more on context and expectation than the actual qualities of the wines?

That’s the question Leonard Mlodinow explores in a recent Wall Street Journal story, “A Hint of Hype, A Taste of Illusion.”Given the high price of wine and the enormous number of choices, a system in which industry experts comb through the forest of wines, judge them, and offer consumers the meaningful shortcut of medals and ratings makes sense. But what if the successive judgments of the same wine, by the same wine expert, vary so widely that the ratings and medals on which wines base their reputations are merely a powerful illusion?

That is the conclusion reached in two recent papers in the Journal of Wine Economics. He’s referring to findings published by Robert Hodgson, a retired statistics professor and the proprietor of Fieldbrook Winery. A few years ago, Hodgson joined the California State Fair wine competition advisory board, which allowed him to run a controlled scientific study of its tastings.The results, published in the Journal of Wine Economics, showed that the judges’ ratings varied by ±4 points on a standard 100-point rating scale. And “only about one in 10 [judges] regularly rated the same wine within a range of ±2 points.”

In September in the private wine newsletter the California Grapevine, Hodgson discussed his analysis of the complete records of several wine competitions. “The distribution of medals,” he wrote, “mirrors what might be expected should a gold medal be awarded by chance alone.'” Ouch. Many winemakers feel vindicated by Hodgson’s findings, while wine experts generally dismiss them.

If you want to try a similar, albeit much less scientific, experiment on your own, serve a group of friends the same wine in different bottles: first as a humble table wine and then as an expensive, award-winning wine. You’ll likely get a very different set of responses. When we know that something is highly valued by others, we tend to value it more highly. When we know that something is expensive, we’re more inclined to enjoy it. Almost nobody is immune from that. Apply that knowledge to the powerful tastemakers of the multi-billion-dollar wine industry, and where does that leave wine buyers?

At recently opened wine shop Domaine LA on Melrose near Highland Ave., owner Jill Bernheimer, who has run an online wine store for years, holds an annual contest for consumers to guess Wine Spectator’s No. 1 zinfandel. The winner receives a six-pack of wines that are rated 85 points or less, “just to prove a point,” she says. Namely, that there are plenty of underrated wines that are worth drinking. For Bernheimer, it’s about figuring out whose palate you trust.”You have to start somewhere and the easiest place is reading wine publications and scores,” she says. “But as people gain more experience and confidence in themselves, the best thing consumers can do is find a sommelier, a retailer or a critic who they feel they share a palate with. That can often be a better guide than scores on their own.”

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Originally posted November 20, 2009 by TequilaRack.

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TequilaRack is in Stores!

TequilaRack products are now available for purchase in select stores throughout Southern California.  The locations are posted on our website: http://www.tequilarack.com/store-locator.php

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Originally posted June 11, 2008 by TequilaRack.

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Pomona Tequila Tasting 2005

Pomona Tequila Tasting

Video of some of the happenings at the Pomona Tequila Tasting in Pomona, CA.

pomona tequila tasting, agave girls

For information on future tequila tastings in the Pomona, California, area, contact the Agave Girls.

The Agave Girls are Latinas passionate about agave spirits! From highland Tequilas, to heirloom Mezcals, to emerging Bacanoras and beyond, they love exploring Mexico’s amazing spirits. Their mission is to share their discoveries through tastings and festivals.

For information on future tequila tastings and festivals in your area, wherever you are, be sure to visit the Tequila Aficionado worldwide events calendar.  We’ll keep you up to date on all the best tequila events we can find!

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