Agave University – An Immersive Exploration of All Things Agave

Sunday, March 31, 2-5 p.m.
Downtown Tucson
Class size
35 students

Agave is not just for drinking and bad choices! Dive deep into the natural and cultural history of the agave plant family in this 3-hour Cultural Immersion Experience. Learn about the botany, genetic diversity, conservation, and traditional knowledge associated with sustainable use of wild agave for mescal production in Mexico, how the Hohokam of southern Arizona cultivated agave for food and other uses a thousand years ago, and how efforts to save the lesser long-nosed bat are tied to commercial tequila production. This interactive class led by several experts concludes with tastings to introduce you to the wide world of agave spirits, including lesser-known alternatives to tequila.  In addition to the different spirit tastings, we will provide hors' de oeuvres designed by chef Brian Smith of Maynards Kitchen. This class will also be a preview of the upcoming Agave Heritage Festival celebrating the cultural, commercial, and culinary significance of agave in the border region.      




Course Details


In this workshop Gary Paul Nabhan discusses the genetic diversity, ethnobotany, and cultural history of agave cultivation in the Greater Southwest.  Bill Steen walks us through the details of mezcal production, from agave harvesting to distillation, particularly in the state of Sonora.  And Doug Smith uses one small-producer project in Oaxaca to illustrate contemporary implications of mezcal production for conservation and economic development. A tasting of agave spirits follows the presentations. 


How to Register

Starting Monday, February 18, 2019, at 10 a.m. you can register online through the University of Arizona Foundation. You will need to enter your contact information and credit card details. Upon registration completion, you will receive a confirmation email.

Refund policy

Refunds are available and need to be requested by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2019.

To drop this workshop, please contact Kerstin Miller at 520-621-5111 or

 A $25 administrative fee will apply.


Location Details
The class will meet at The Drawing Room, upstairs at Maynards Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave.

There is metered parking at Maynards and along Toole Ave, and the Depot Plaza Garage is underground across the street (garage entrance on west side of 5th Ave. between Congress St. and Toole Ave.).