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Desert Plants

Blue Agave starts and expertise to establish your own California Agave tequilana plantation

RANCHO TEQUILANA
Winters, California Norte

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Born amongst the sunbaked hills of the Berryessa, the rain shadow of the Napa Mountains, where rust red dirt is juxtaposed against azure skies echoing the hues of the cerulean Agave rows below, the magical juices contained within our Blue Agave tequiliana plants will ultimately find their way into a bottle which may end up on your table, in your hands, and lovingly shared with your friends and loved ones.

 

The Aztec claim it was a gift from the gods.  Further refined by the

Conquistadors, and perfected by the Mestizo, Agave spirits have a long,

colorful, and storied past and are steeped in Mesoamerican tradition.  

Now it is time to make Old Mexico’s

present day California part of that story.

We introduce to you our offering in this

endeavor. The Blue Agave plants of

Rancho Tequilana from Winters,

California Norte.

 

And no, this is not Mexico.  It is Old Mexico.  The Mexico that is now known by a different name- California.  And the spirits produced from our magic plants can not be known as “tequila", nor “mescal," both dominions reserved by governmental decree for the benefit

                                                                                  of various geographically defined growing

                                                                                  regions of the very same plant within the

                                                                                  current day political boundaries of Mexico. 

                                                                                  No, our plants will yield simultaneously

                                                                                  something entirely different yet profoundly

                                                                                  the same.  Like a sibling who moved away

                                                                                  and pioneered their own course elsewhere,

                                                                                  yet who carries the same family DNA.  It is

                                                                                  a marriage between place and product.  

                                                                                  The place is California and the product is the distillate of The Blue Weber Agave, or Agave tequilana, it’s scientific latin name.  

 

California Agave Spirits are born.

 

And like this part of Old Mexico now being

called California yet the mountains, beaches

and rivers all remain the same, the distilled

product of our Blue Agave is not "tequila,"

nor "mescal" but to the nose and tongue,

they are also one in the same.  Shakespeare

said it most eloquently in his adage; "A rose

by any other name would smell as sweet,"

likewise, California Agave Spirits not only

taste as “sweet" as its bottled twin to the

south, but have local roots- quite literally.  

And that makes it sweeter.

It is our goal at Rancho Tequiliana to help popularize the growing of this most wondrous dry adapted plant within our water challenged state for the purpose of creating a unique California terroir for the spirits

derived from the Blue Agave and

other Agave species that are

conducive to the process. Our

hope is that someday California’s

Agave Spirits will have its day in

the sun going head to head with

its most well known southern

sibling, tequila from the

protected appellation

centered in the state of Jalisco,

just like on May 24th, 1976 when

Napa Valley wines beat out the best French wines on their own turf in France, judged by their most distinguished French tasters. This day changed the global wine industry forever and came to be known as The Judgement of Paris.  We hope California Agave Spirits will someday have a similar day. Possibly, "The Judgement of Jalisco?"

The Blue Agave is an ideal dry farmed crop for hotter, inland locations that remain relatively

frost free.  The Blue Agave can tolerate brief temperatures down to the mid twenties with

                                                                            little or no damage and such damage, if any,

                                                                            will purely be cosmetic.  Freeze damage on

                                                                            the outer leaves will simply slow the plant’s

                                                                            growth down due to reduced photosynthetic

                                                                            activity of the burned portion of foliage.  What

                                                                            does this mean for potential growing areas?

                                                                            Although Blue Agave will grow and survive just

                                                                            about anywhere in California that reliably

                                                                            stays above 25 degrees, the best areas to grow

                                                                            it in California commercially in large scale

because of lower land values, prevalence of poorer and often rocky soils that Agaves love yet precludes more traditional crops, and best climate are the foothill slopes on all sides of California’s Great Central Valley from 200’-1500’ elevations above the prevailing frost line.

 

This climate zone is locally known as Zone 9 on the Sunset climate designation map which is more precise than the more general USDA Plant Hardiness Map in which it is coincidently also designated as a zone 9.   This is the zone where citrus thrives and over 200,000 acres are commercially planted to the subtropical crop. This is also a dry zone dominated by the extremely drought tolerant Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii.  And like the Blue Oak, the Blue Agave can grow in this zone with no

supplemental water above normal

rainfall.  However, watering and

fertilization of the plants will shorten

crop cycle time from 10-15 years down

to 5-8 years and dramatically increase

yield but possibly at the expense of

intensity of flavor.  Just as when grapes

are dry farmed the yield is reduced but

tannins and flavors are much more highly concentrated producing a far superior product.

 

                                      For hobby farming, Blue Agave can be grown anywhere in California

                                      below 1500' elevation in full sun conditions where extreme low

                                      temperatures stay above 25 degrees.  And as such this gorgeous

                                      plant can be directly integrated into residential landscapes amongst

                                      ornamental plantings as well en masse in background low profile                                              areas where something aesthetically pleasing is desired but where

                                      using water thirsty plants is just not

                                      justified.  Someday we at Rancho

                                     Tequilana envision a cottage industry

of small scale producers forming cooperatives that will

come out and harvest the Agave Pinas when mature, and

distill them into Agave Spirts and pay the landowner to do

so.  Imagine having a beautiful Blue Agave hillside for 5-10

years then converting it into some cash and a unique liquid

byproduct to share with friends.  Small Agave plantations are a way to utilize surplus land that would otherwise remain fallow and rather use it to create beauty and utility with very little inputs.

 

                                                                            Blue Agave tequilana fields are low

                                                                            maintenance, water thrifty, and gorgeous.

                                                                            Rancho Tequiliana can assist in assessing and 

                                                                            advising you on the creation of your Agave

                                                                            plantation via consultation as well as supply

                                                                            plants to get you started. Please don’t

                                                                            hesitate to call or even stay on property at our

                                                                            VRBO and wander the Rancho while sipping

                                                                            some Agave spirits.  We recommend doing so

                                                                            at sunset.  

 

 

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Horseback Riding
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Tequila Toast

Gracias and Salud!

Mariachi Band

Images courtesy of Wikmedia Commons and contributors Jean SoulethRuben Montes, Mexico en Fotos, Hispanoamerikano, and Thomassin Michael.

Stay Thirsty my Friends!

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