The state of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico is bordered on the north by the states of Veracruz and Puebla, to the west by Guerrero, the east by Chiapas, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean. Oaxaca has been home to a mix of mostly indigenous people, Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec for nearly 7,000 years.

Man pulling cart along mountainside dirt road in high elevation Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca is one of the most geographically and environmentally diverse states in Mexico, including the largest variety of endemic agave species. Three high-elevation river valleys converge in the mountainous heart of Oaxaca to form the Vallés Centralés (Central Valleys region). It is here, in the small villages that dot the slopes of the rugged mountains and dense valley floors, where mezcal has been made for centuries.

Man harvesting Casa Cortés mezcal
Oaxaca Mexico's Crugged river valley region
Harvested Casa Cortés mezcal plants being trucked through small Oaxaca Mexico village

Aerial views over the mountainside village of San Luis del Rio