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Habanos s.a. Announces the Habano Award Nominees

Like every year, the Gala Night of the Habano Festival organized by Habanos S.A. will announce the winners of the Habano Awards in the Production, Communication and Business categories, in an effort to recognize outstanding personalities in each of these fields for their ties with habanos. Though the recipients of this year’s awards are yet to be trumpeted, the nominees were revealed in a press conference.

Production Category:

ALEXIS BENÍTEZ TOLEDO. A tobacco planter from San Luis in Vuelta Abajo with superb results in terms of quality and outputs, and for the use of sustainable techniques.


JUAN JOSE LOPEZ FREIRE. A man with over fifty years in the realm of tobacco, a member of the Tobacco Research Institute and founder of the National Tobacco Tasting Commission.


ARNALDO VICHOT. Boasting a staggering sixty years of experience in the world of habanos, a master blender at the Partagas cigar factory who masterminded the blends for the Partagas Series, Reserve and Grand Reserve.


Business Category:

RODOLFO VELASCO. Former director of IEPT Mexico who opened the first-ever Casa del Habano store in the world.


GEORGE FEREOS. Deputy Director of Habanos in Cyprus. He has managed to put habanos on the map in that territory amid a heavy economic crisis.


URS PORTMAN. Owner of three major habano stores in Switzerland and Lichtenstein who has logged steady sales in recent years.


Communication Category:

ALEXANDRE AVELLAR. Sommelier and founder of Conexao Tabaco, a website that promotes the habano culture in Brazil.


BEN VINKEN. Publisher of the El Gusto magazine, with circulation in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg since 2007. He’s the cofounder of the "Amberes Habanos Sociedad" smokers club.


GARY HEATHCOTT. Columnist and lecturer who collaborates with different international media organizations, such as Smoke and Tobacco Journal International in the advance of both the culture of habanos and Cuba.

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