@Zinacantan is the project of 4th generation maestra mezcalera Fabiola “Faby” Torres Monfil and Diana Pinzon – but mezcal production is just one piece of the larger operations. Based in the hilly outer-Puebla town of San Diego La Mesa Tochilmitzingo, Zinacantan (which means “land of the bats in Nahuatl) is also promoting a model of ecological restoration to conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystems associated with agave, and mitigate the ecological impact of the production of its distillate. They also house a nursery of baby espadilla (a Puebla varietal similar to espadin) and papalometl (the local name for tobala) planted from seed and protected with an organic integrated pest management plan. The land is free from herbicides, pesticides, and agrochemicals.
~ 20% of Zinacantan’s agave plants are left to mature and flower without being harvested for distillation, supplying the bat populations that have long-depended on the plants along this route with nectar and resting places that have been dwindling with the rise in agave distillation of recent years.
These are beautiful expressions of local agave species: the espadilla and papalometl are single-distillation. The pechuga and naranja are double-distilled with agave potatorum. Each distillation begins with the cooking of the pinas in an earthen oven, manual crushing, wild yeast fermentation (comparitively extensive at 23-30 days) with well water in a pine wood tank and distillation in a copper still.
Production is limited to under 1,500 liters per year, produced only in the season from February to May.
Chacon Ezrre family
The Chacon-Ezrre family of Mazot has been passing down the traditions, techniques and secrets of distillation for four generations near Bacanora, Sonora. The Chacon- Ezrre family is well known for their quality distillation and initiated the Bacanora Museum and the Bacanora Festival in Bacanora, Sonora.
Rafael Encinas Molina and sons
Batuq Bacanora is following 300 years of culture and tradition, and is made on the family ranch near San Pedro de la Cueva, where Rafael Encinas Molina and his sons continue more than four generations of tradition. Rafael Quijada is the Maestro Vinatero. Batuq Bacanora celebrates the families origin from the small town of Batuc, founded in 1629 near the Yaqui River, but inundated when the river was damned in the 1960’s.
Gerónimo Rosainz Arroyo
Gerónimo Rosainz, JUERTE’s master distiller, heard about destilados de pulque from his grandmother. She had told him stories about a French man who made destilado de pulque at his hacienda in their town. During the revolution, the French man, like most foreigners, fled Mexico back to his native country leaving behind his still. The locals were able to gain access to the abandoned hacienda and thus understand the process behind destilado de pulque produc- tion but, as this coincided with the downfall in pulque demand, no one took any initiative to continue its production.
Then, in the mid 1990s, Mr. Rosainz married a chemical engineer and told his new wife about the story his grandmother had told him. His wife helped him procure the necessary equipment and, together, they decided to reinitiate this centu- ries-old tradition and began selling their destilado de pulque in their village in northeastern Tlaxca- la.
Córdova & Guillen
The Maguey Comiteco project, promoted since 2008 by Comiteco Córdova & Guillen has the goal of promoting and improving the Comiteco culture in the Municipality of Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas. This includes rescuing the maguey Comiteco variety from near extinction, proper taxonomical identification of the variety as well as a variety of projects and investigations around the following topics: establishing agave planta- tions with grower’s manuals, proper methods for the extraction of the aguamiel, creation of an industry dedicated to the production of artisanal agave nectar and, of course, further developing the basis of an industry furthering the development of Comiteco, a unique distilled agave spirit. Remember – it is not a tequila, it is not a mezcal. Neither the piñas nor the pencas are used in the creation of Comiteco
“We are a small family business born in 2002, at the beginning of the boom of Mexican wines, dedicated to making authentic handmade wines with heart and integrity. Vinos Pijoan is born from the hand of Pau Pijoan, a Mexican of Catalan origin and a veterinarian researcher, who embarked on an adventure that would completely change his path. Without claiming to be an enologist, his long background as a scientist laid the groundwork for a disciplined and methodical study in the art of winemaking. The early years, he had the help from his adviser Hugo D’Acosta, key figure in the Valle de Guadalupe wine scene.
Our philosophy is to create honest wines that speak our voices as a family. Different voices, with different things to say. We seek to incorporate the history of our terroir, reflecting its aridity, its morning fogs, the winds and the afternoon heat, followed by cold and cool nights. Having a code of honesty with our drinkers. We do what we say and we say what we do. We seek to create wines that reveal the land’s diverse soils, ranging from the sands of the river banks and the decomposed oceanic granite, to the iron rich red soils. In these places, with the help of the human hand, the vine flourishes and rewards us with its fruit, which is managed with the care and respect that it deserves, bearing wines of great quality.”
Silvana is a former dancer with a degree in classical dance from the National School of Classic and Contemporary Dance in Mexico City. Later she took the sommelier training and studied a Master in winemaking and cider. But her main education is in the Valle de Guadalupe, having grown up with wine and finding a family in it. In 2016, after taking a long interest in natural wine and the corresponding responsible agriculture, she made her first natural wine released under the family line. The wine, Vino Pelón, comes from estate grown vines kept and managed by Silvana. In 2019, she started her solo project Árbol de Fuego, exploring her voice as a winemaker through her personal pattern, perspective, and ideologies. Presently, she has the baton of the natural winemaking of the family winery, Vinos Pijoan, and manages their estate vineyard. She’s still learning, exploring better and more sustainable ways to work in this business for the coming years.