...is the umbrella brand of David Suro Piñeda, under which he bottles Siembra Valles from the Destilería Cascahuín, as well as Siembra Azul (Destilería Vivanco) and Siembra Métl (various mezcal producers). David was born in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco in the heartland of tequila, and emigrated to Philadelphia in the early 1980s. There he opened one of the first Mexican white-tablecloth restaurants in the USA under the name Tequilas.
Increasingly dissatisfied with the quality development of the emblematic drink of his homeland, which he wanted to offer his guests, David started his own project. With a restaurateur's perspective and in collaboration with family-run distilleries in Mexico, special productions are made and bottled using traditional techniques under the Siembra label.
Although our focus is usually on importing producer-owned brands, David's products are a godsend. Since he only wants to sell the best quality in his restaurant, we can offer carefully selected distillates from him. And since he does not depend on the income from Siembra Spirits because of the restaurant, he does not compromise on this. The quality and sustainability standards are both a statement and a criticism of industrialised tequila mass production in the fields and distilleries.
With Siembra Valles Ancestral, David and his comrades-in-arms at Cascahuín have produced the first certified tequila made exclusively with techniques from the 1800s - when this very certification did not even exist.
The Tequila Interchange Project has been dedicated to sustainability and quality since 2010, bringing together all stakeholders in the value chain from harvesters to bartenders, as well as botanists and other scientists. TIP was instrumental in overturning a Mexican bill to "regulate" (de facto ban) traditional small-scale distilling, which would have given international spirits corporations extensive control over local resources, up to and including the use of the word agave as a trademark (the infamous NOM-186 and 199).
A concrete application of the goals of TIP is ...
Bat Friendly Certification
The production of agave spirits is necessarily linked to harvesting the plant before flowering, which is why it cannot be propagated by seed. The plants are propagated in the field from genetically identical offshoots. This reduces diversity - incidentally also a reason why tequila today always tastes similar - and the bats responsible for pollinating the plant cannot find any food.
In cooperation with biologists from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), products are certified in which 5% of the cultivated area of the raw material is not harvested. These agaves can flower completely and are pollinated by bats in the process. This creates genetically diverse seeds for further dispersal. It also provides food for flowering bats, which were threatened with extinction due to the intensive cultivation of the agave region.
Siembra in SHOP
Cascahuín (Producer of Siembra Valles) in SHOP
Siembra on the Web
ediblePHILLY with a good summary of David's projects
Imbibe Magazine likewise
Image & Sound
Videointerview with David von Wooder Ice
Mezcal del Bueno Podcast with David (span.)
Bat Friendly on the Web
Deutsche Welle (DW) about Bat Friendly and Roberto Medellin (germ.)
National Geographic about bats and Mezcal
National Geographic about Roberto Medellin
Tequilas Restaurant, Philadelphia