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  • Denominación de Origen – Protecting the Point of Origin

Have you ever wondered why connoisseurs of certain products will only partake of those products if they come from one specific place?  What compels them to select a product from a certain region?  Is the location of origin for a product really important?

The answer is simple:  location is important.

Most people are familiar with the sparkling wine called champagne, but did you know that unless the sparkling wine is produced using grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and produced using very specific methods, it can’t be called Champagne?  If it’s produced anywhere else, and by any other means, it is just sparkling wine.  In the wine world, this is called the Appellation of Origin, a “legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.”1  In addition to champagne, four other spirits are recognized in this way:  sherry, cognac, mezcal, and tequila.

As more and more countries began protecting the certain products produced within their borders, a body of countries banded together vowing to uphold those protections.  Since 1958, 35 countries have signed the treaty known as the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration which defines the Appellation of Origin as the “geographical denomination of a country, region, or locality, which serves to designate a product originating therein, the quality or characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographic environment, including natural and human factors.”2  Mexico signed the treaty in 1966, thus adding mezcal and tequila to the list.

Under Mexican law, in order for a spirit to be labeled tequila it can only be produced in specific regions of Mexico using only one type of agave, Agave Tequiliana Weber, Blue Variety Mayaheul, commonly known as the Blue Agave.  Before 1974, only the state of Jalisco produced what we know as tequila, but once the Denominación de Origen de Tequila (Denomination of Origin of Tequila or DOT) was instated, all the counties in Jalisco, some of the counties in the states of Michoacan, Guanjauto, and Nayarit were added.  Later, limited counties in the eastern coastal state of Tamaulipas were added to the DOT.

DOT is important to the integrity of tequila.  The DOT indicates the terroir of the product – the geographical, cultural, and historical characteristics of a region that affect the production of tequila.  Soil, climate, production technique all impact the flavor of the spirit and different areas produce a slightly different result.  Tequila produced in the highlands, for example, will have a markedly different taste and texture than tequila produced in the valleys.

There are other factors which are benefitted by a DOT designation.   The farming and production methods of tequila have been handed down for generations.  A DOT designation protects the farmers who make the tequila, ensuring their way of life is preserved for future generations.  Limiting production to this one geographic area also sustains the economy, providing jobs for people living within the region. 

Siembra Spirits is dedicated to preserving the rich, cultural heritage of tequila and protecting the Denomination of Origin.  We partner with farmers and producers who are committed to the sustainability of this process, who use responsible production methods, and who have made a commitment to the future of the industry and the people of Mexico.

Won’t you join us?

Siembra Spirits – The Future of Tradition® begins here


1 Appellation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/appellation
2 Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration – World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/registration/lisbon/

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