High on a perch, this gazebo with the thatched roof overlooks Chateau de la Fuente, the Dominican farm that grows all of the wrapper tobacco for Fuente Fuente OpusX cigars.
Dominican wrapper leaf is a rarity in the already specialized world of premium cigars. It exists, but in small quantities, as there are few plots of land in the Dominican Republic that produce quality cover leaf. Chateau de la Fuente is one of them. Located in the mountainous region of Bonao, Chateau de la Fuente is where Carlos Fuente Jr., owner of Arturo Fuente Cigar Co., cultivates tobacco for his Fuente Fuente OpusX brand, most notably its wrapper.
Fuente first planted seeds here in the early ’90s, determined to show the industry that he could make cigars entirely from Dominican tobacco. Conventional wisdom said otherwise. After finding the correct seeds and understanding the soil on these unique plots of land, Fuente’s vision came to pass. He has expanded Chateau de la Fuente over the years, from its initial 37 acres to some 300 acres, which now consists of four farms.
Fuente opened up the majestic property to visitors for the ProCigar Festival, which is happening this week.
Painted rock gardens give the property a Disney-esque feel. An OpusX band and OpusX cigar are among many symbols that gleam in the morning sun.
Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. gives a speech at the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, an organization he started that provides schools and medical facilities for the country’s underserved children.
Afternoon shadows begin to creep across the farm at the Chateau. This tobacco will eventually be wrapper for OpusX cigars.
All the wrapper leaf grows under shade. The tenting filters the sun’s rays, keeping the tobacco pristine and preventing it from becoming too thick.
A detail of some OpusX wrapper leaf as it flourishes on the farm. This tobacco will be elastic in texture and strong in body.
Tobacco curing barns at the Chateau are as beautiful as they are functional.
The OpusX symbol above the door of a curing barn reminds us of where this tobacco is going.
Freshly harvested tobacco hangs in the rafters of a curing barn. It’s green now, but will later take on a reddish-brown hue.
The Hemingway House is a recent addition, built to welcome guests of the Chateau. Fuente modeled it after the Key West home of famed writer Ernest Hemingway.
Inside the Chateau, company president and CEO Ciro Cascella plays on an antique piano while Carlos Fuente Jr. looks on, pensively puffing on one of his trademark Fuente Fuente OpusX cigars.