Agave Growth and Harvesting

05. Where Agaves Grow

03

Where Weber Blue Agaves Grow

Within Jalisco, agave plants are typically grown in either the Highlands (known as or Los Altos) or the so-called Lowlands, or Tequila Valley. Each region has its own set of particular characteristics that influence the nature of the agave, and subsequently the flavor of a finished tequila.

A map of Jalisco with Los Altos highlighted in dark green and the Lowlands highlighted in light green.

The Highlands of Jalisco, or Los Altos

The first agave hijuelos transplanted to the highlands arrived in Arandas in 1896 from the Tequila Valley, by Pantaleon Orozco. From the port of San Blas on the Pacific coast, Orozco’s journey to the Highlands took him through the town of Tequila, where he loaded his mules with agave hijuelos. This marked the beginning of the tequila industry in the highlands. 

Now, the soil, topography, and climate are recognized as being ideal for producing Weber Blue agave. The distinctive red soil creates a micro-terroir that is rich in iron oxide and has a high level of acidity. The mix of clay and silt encourages healthy plant growth. Elevations range from 6,000 to 7,300 feet above sea level, with cooler temperatures than in the lowlands. Tequila distilleries in the Highlands include Patrón, Siete Leguas, La Alteña, El Pandillo, and Cazadores. Flavor notes for tequilas produced in this region include: round, sweet, floral, citrusy and fruity.

The Lowlands, or Valleys of Jalisco

The town of Tequila marks the center of the valley region, highlighting the area’s long and storied history with agave growing and tequila production. Fewer agaves are grown in the valley, where the earth is black volcanic soil (a result of a volcano that erupted 200,000 years ago) and the elevation ranges from 2,600 to 4,000 feet above sea level. Its hotter average temperatures mean agave plants grow faster, but they also have lower sugar content, about 25% less than those grown in the highlands. Tequila distilleries in the valley include Cuervo, Sauza, and Herradura. The flavor profile of valley tequilas can be characterized as being peppery, herbaceous, earthy, mineral, dry and assertive