One Village. One Crop. One Harvest.
Corti Brothers, Spring 2016 Newsletter
DOS VOLCANES: Agave Spirit from Colima, Mexico
This agave spirit was born as “a lark.” Craig Reynolds, the creator of DOS VOLCANES, is a longtime California legislature person with a penchant for Mexico and for doing volunteer work. He works with Project Amigo, a thirty year old non-profit based in Colima, a small Mexican state on the country’s west coast, just south of the state of Jalisco, where Tequila is produced. In 2006, he planted an agave field to the Blue Agave which by law produces the distillate called Tequila in Jalisco. This plantation was harvested in August, 2014, and distilled in a small distillery just outside of Guadalajara, using its two brick steam“hornos” and traditional stills to bake, ferment and distill the agave. Since this product is from Colima, not Jalisco, it has the name of “agave spirit” not tequila.
Craig, who says he is an “accidental businessman,” has produced a charming spirit. The Blanco, or unaged version, to my mind, is almost perfect. Very soft in flavor, with a characteristic lightly green, fruity scent, it has all the flavor of agave, without noticeable heat. In this sense it really is a “vino de mezcal” that could be drunk very nicely with food. Presented in a classy rectangular bottle that befits its intrinsic quality, this is sipping spirit, not for margaritas!
The Sacramento Bee: Dos Volcanes flows into the Sacramento spirits scene
February 23, 2016
By and large, browsing wine enthusiasts expect a whole bunch of information from labels – the variety or varieties of grape that went into the bottle, where the grapes were grown, the year they were harvested.
Spirits enthusiasts? Not so much. They’re accustomed to seeing the name of the spirit and little else. Craig Reynolds, however, is keen to bring the transparency and marketing acumen of the wine trade to the world of spirits.
His vehicle to accomplish this is Dos Volcanes, a bracing yet satiny distilled spirit he and several colleagues make in Mexico and which they are marketing ambitiously in Sacramento.
“I thought I was getting a little donkey, but it’s turned into a bucking bronco,” says Reynolds of his introduction to farming, distilling and marketing, chores not at all on his agenda when he started to visit Mexico.
Release: Our First Scholarships - Migrant Camp Initiative
December 15, 2015
Thanks to all our customers, a few days ago we sold our 100th bottle of Dos Volcanes! To commemorate the occasion we have made our first scholarship contribution to Project Amigo. Rather than pick one student, we chose to support Project Amigo’s Migrant Camp Initiative that helps many of the poorest children in the state of Colima.
Migrant Mexican families from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero come to work the sugar cane fields of Colima which surround Project Amigo. The sugar cane factory in Queseria, about 15 miles from Cofradia, supplies the workers with substandard housing resulting in very poor living conditions. In 1997, Project Amigo began working at a camp on the outskirts of Queseria, first by helping a teacher sitting under a tree with a small group of migrant children, progressing to building a two-room school, a kitchen, bathrooms, water filtration, a playground, and finally a four-room school that is now an official part of the Mexican educational system.
If you’d like to learn more and make a tax-deductible contribution directly to the Project Amigo Migrant Camp Initiative please click here.
Capitol Morning Report: Making Spirits Bright
December 14, 2015
By: Tiffany Dobbyn, Capitol Morning Report
It's the season for toasting the holidays and giving to those less fortunate, and Craig Reynolds, chief of staff to Sen. Lois Wolk, has created a way to do both. He's launched a side business in Mexico producing and selling a tequila-like agave spirit called “Dos Volcanes." Reynolds came up with the idea to sell bottles of the liquor as a way to raise funds for a nonprofit organization, Project Amigo, which helps children in Mexico get an education through scholarship programs. Reynolds has been a volunteer with the project for the past 30 years, often traveling to rural, poor villages in the state of Colima to help the organization's mission firsthand. Reynolds became good friends with the organization's founder, Ted Rose, and together they decided to grow agave plants on 4.5 acres in hopes of making a version of their favorite liquor. The agave farm is located outside the remote village of Cofradia de Suchitlan in Colima, which is just outside the five states of Mexico in which the spirit can be called tequila. "It's a full body agave flavor that's very smooth and easy to sip," Reynolds said. "It has an earthy mix and complexity that you don't always get in your everyday tequila." Proceeds from the sale of every bottle of Dos Volcanes will help provide scholarships to children in the community in which it's made. "The more tequila we sell, the more scholarships we can fund," Reynolds said.
After planting the agave plants in 2006, they matured in 2014 and the first shipment of Dos Volcanes arrived in California last month. It's available throughout the state including A&P Liquors at 1101 21st St. in Sacramento and Nugget Markets in Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento (full list here). It's also available by the glass at local restaurants including Tequila Museo Mayahuel on K Street and Tres Hermanas in Davis. Reynolds just got word last week that Darrell Corti, owner of Corti Brothers in Sacramento, will carry his product too. "This is pretty big (at least for me) as he is extremely knowledgeable about agave spirits and is very picky about what he puts on his very limited shelf space in this category," Reynolds said. "I consider it an honor." So far, Reynolds estimates having sold more than 100 bottles and suggests it as a holiday gift. "It's a good stocking stuffer for children over 21," he says.
Reynolds recruited some other Senate staffers to help with the new company in their spare time outside of work. He said the bottle labels -- which highlight two Colima volcanoes, Volcan de Fuego (active) and Volcan de Nevado (dormant) --were designed by Chuck Haines, a graphic artist for the Senate Democratic Caucus. And, the company's website was done by Mike Witherow, also with the Senate Democratic Caucus. "This is the unofficial tequila of the State Senate," Reynolds quipped. Plans are in the works to hold a launch party early next year to introduce the drink to the Capitol community and showcase its versatility. "I think tequila goes well with everything," Reynolds said. "I've never found a food that doesn't go well with a sip of tequila."