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Travel Diary

  • AutorenbildKatja

Tobacco Apprentice Project

Aktualisiert: 11. Feb. 2019

Today, our “Blog from the Origén” is starting. I’m very happy to activate these pages for the first time, and that you – if you like – can take part in this journey in a virtual way. Welcome!

Here you’ll learn a lot about cigars, but also about the country and its people. How they live, what they eat; what to do in the evenings, and what you should definitely see in the area.

My journey starts on February 15 from Vienna; I spend a night in New York and will then land in Santiago de Caballeros in the Dominican Republic the next day. I’ll be there until March 19.

I have an exciting project ahead of me: During these four weeks, I’ll be working as a tobacco apprentice! I have the incredible opportunity to work on the creation of cigars at all stages of production: From the Origén!

How did this come about? A year ago, in February, I was a guest at the Procigar Festival. As with all festivals, there are day visits to the tobacco fields and cigar manufacturers and you get insights into the various stages of production in cigar manufacturing. It’s always fascinating and very sensual to see the rich green of the vast tobacco fields, observe the various brown tones of the dried leaves, and to breathe in the smells of the aging room. But I wanted more, wanted to be a part of this work and not just a spectator.

On the same evening, I was talking with a journalist friend, Steve, about the industry and our job. We both thought that, at one time, we really should work in a cigar factory for at least three months.

Then I couldn’t get rid of the thought and, on the following day on another factory tour, I just felt like putting my hand to it all immediately. I was sick of theory and just observing. As I left the building, directly between the factory and the fields, I saw a double rainbow. I think that that was the moment I decided to do everything to return the following year for the tobacco apprentice project. Not as a spectator but as a worker. And this is exactly what I want to write to you about every day, dear cigar fans and travel enthusiasts.

Admittedly, if you know about the complexity of the process from seed to finished cigar, an apprenticeship of four weeks is nothing. But kids, dog and job don’t allow for a longer change of scenery. Still – it’s better than nothing, right?

I’m looking forward to my time at Tabadom and I’m grateful to Sam Reuter of Davidoff, who worked on this idea with me and committed himself to it.

Thank you to my boss, Reinhold Widmayer, who is letting me go for four weeks, supports me, and who’s always open to new ideas.

And I can go reassured, because our team in Austria runs smoothly and they’re all totally behind me. Gracias!

The idea for the name of the blog came from my colleague Javier Blanco Urgoiti. Thank you.

And thanks to Steve Ross, who inspired me about this trip. Keep an eye out for me on the fields of Jicomé, Steve! I hope you don’t recognize me by my sunburn!

Until that time, folks, I’ll be in touch again before I leave.

Signature Katja Gnann

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