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Just Do It

Entrepreneur Tom Celani has built an empire of casinos, a Harley-Davidson dealership and a winery by always putting customers first.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Havana—The Insider's Guide, November/December 2011

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At the end of the day, Celani likes nothing better than opening a bottle of wine, lighting a cigar and pulling up a chair at the outdoor fireplace overlooking the lake in his backyard.

“I tell my wife I’m solving the problems of the world,” he says. “To me, a cigar is a symbol of relaxation.”

Celani has humidors at home (“a nice little commercial one my wife got me as a gift”), at his vineyard, his Denver casino, his Harley-Davidson office and at the office of his gaming company. He also keeps one at the hangar where he keeps his Gulfstream jet: “We don’t smoke on the plane,” he notes, “but we do smoke before we get on the plane. In each of my humidors, I probably have 100 sticks or so.”

Cigars, Celani notes, have changed their image drastically since he was a kid: “When I was growing up, the guy pouring cement would have a stogie in his mouth while he was using his trowel,” he says. “Now it’s been elevated to the level where business guys get together and enjoy a fine cigar. How much business gets done in places like the Grand Havana Room in New York?”

Celani has made sure to make his various enterprises as cigar-friendly as possible. At Oakland Hills, the country club that abuts his property, he’s had chairs installed around the 18th green, where golfers can relax and enjoy a smoke after finishing their round. His Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino features one of Denver’s only heated cigar patios. And Celani Family Vineyards is one of the only cigar-friendly vineyards in Napa Valley.

“The vineyard is one of my favorite spots for a cigar,” he says. “People come to taste the wine and they can go in the humidor and grab any cigar and sit and enjoy it. It’s gotten so that a lot of the limo companies tell their tour customers, ‘Let’s finish at Celani Wines because they don’t close at 4 like the others.’

“I even took out two rows of grapes and put in a lighted bocce court. We smoke cigars and play bocce into the night—or until the neighbors squawk.”

Contributing editor Marshall Fine writes about movies and entertainment at his website,

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