Getting to and Exploring Tequila’s Distilleries
Next up: the distilleries! There are two ways to master the land, here, either on a guided group tour or on your own armed with a GPS and whatever sedan Hertz provided this time. Tour-wise, there are a few different companies to choose from, each offering stops at a handful of boutique and major distilleries around the area’s two major production regions, Los Altos (aka the Highlands) and the Tequila Valley. If you’re going that route, Experience Tequila is a trusted go-to, with its variety of multi-day excursions, packed itineraries and smart-as-a-whip guides. The biggest benefit to booking a set package is that it allows you entrance into distilleries that might not be open to the public, as well as trips into the fields and special demonstrations you might not get otherwise.
Solo adventurers shouldn’t despair, though, as there’s plenty to see and do off the beaten path. Tequila’s Hacienda La Cofradia, known for making Casa Noble among some 40 other labels, offers daily tours through its a massive complex, which not only houses a distillery but also a restaurant, succulent garden, duck pond, museum, its own ceramic factory and even a boutique hotel with four art-strewn casitas. Other easily-accessible facilities include Casa Sauza, where guests have the option of meeting a real agave farmer, called a jimador, and helping with the harvest; Jose Cuervo, which offers daily tours, lots of hands-on demos and an inhouse restaurant a bar; and Amatitán’s 256-acre Tequila Herradura, with its crash course in wild fermentation, towering clay ovens and green efforts like water treatment and composting plants. If you’re in it for the tastings, you really can’t go wrong with any of these heavy hitters.