Blue Agave plants are cultivated on plantations and take about 8-10 years to fully mature. When the mature Agave plants are ready for harvesting, the Agave harvester, known as the “Jimador,” manually removes the piña, which is extracted from the core of the Agave plant exactly as it has been done for centuries. Each piña weighs between 65 and 135 pounds. It takes about 17 pounds of Agave to produce 1 liter of 100% Agave Tequila. The piña hearts are split open and steamed in large pressure cookers. The resulting liquids flow into large steel vats for fermentation, where the process takes from 12 hours to several days, depending on several different factors including the amount of water and sugar in the piñas, the type of yeast used and the ambient temperature.
When fermentation is complete, the liquid then undergoes a double distillation process. When the second distillation is complete, a potent high-proof Tequila emerges. All Tequila is colorless when it comes out of the still. This silver or Blanco Tequila is then diluted with distilled water to achieve the desired 80 proof. Silver or Blanco Tequila becomes “Reposado” from a process of aging a minimum of two months in large wooden tanks. Gold Tequila that is not 100% Agave is artificially darkened with caramel coloring. Super-Premium or “Añejo” Tequila is aged longer in oak barrels. Depending on the aging technique the Tequila takes on a different flavor and smoothness. Like fine wines, the complexity and flavor is enhanced with age. “Extra Añejo” is aged in white oak casks for at least three years, making it the “oldest” and rarest of the aging styles.