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Vandermarliere expands their tobacco growing in Nicaragua 

Purchase of Three Nicaraguan Farms And Extension of Work With Cuban Leaf Master Moves Belgian Company Towards Vertical Integration 

Fred Vandermarliere today announces the purchase of the Oliva family’s leaf operations in Nicaragua and three Nicaraguan tobacco farms in a move which further consolidates its handrolled cigar operation in the country. 

The three new farms - Pre Industria, Terranova and El Manguito (in the meantime rebaptised to Manguido to the father of Fred), all in the Condega region– are added to existing fields that the company bought from the family. They decided to sell this part on the sad death of their father, the patriarch Gilberto Oliva passed away Dec. 2017. The farms are fully operating on different stage, curing, harvesting, cultivating and also land preparation and seedling for the last planting of the season. The crop will be mainly filler tobacco, with plans to eventually grow binder and wrapper too. The Vandermarliere family has pledged to uphold standards of sustainable farming – using as little water and pesticides as possible and creating a clear traceability path from the plantation to the customer. 

The internationally-renowned Oliva premium cigar business was bought by J.Cortès back in July 2016, but part of the tobacco growing operation was retained by the Oliva family. The two companies, i.e. the Vandermarliere and Oliva families, have worked closely ever since to deliver maximum quality and value to cigar lovers worldwide. 

This continuing investment in premium cigars includes a happy coincidence. The name of the company buying the land is “Hacienda d’Ernesto”. A recognized cigar industry expert, has been working for just over a year and will continue to do so, managing these new farms and their tobacco cultivation. His name is… Ernesto! On top of that, J.Cortès and Oliva Owner, Frederik Vandermarliere and his wife Annick, had a third child in 2018 – whose name is … Ernest. The future is secured. 

The tobacco growing arm of the J.Cortès business therefore now comes under an umbrella company called Hacienda d’ Ernesto. “It’s a perfect marriage of families, beliefs, tradition and expertise,” says Fred. “All these things came together at the right time to make this an obvious way of strengthening our commitment to our people in Nicaragua and our handrolled, premium cigar production. Now we have full control of the entire process, from seed to farm, leaf to factory, cigar to shelf. We are delighted to demonstrate once again our commitment to this business, to Nicaragua and to our customers, whom we encourage with our company motto: ‘Don’t smoke but enjoy.’"

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Ernesto Milanes Rodriguez, speaking from Nicaragua, confirmed that the three newly-purchased farms were already in production and would be added to the stable of J.Cortès and Oliva growing potential. 

We are immersed on the entire farming process at the moment, from seedbeds to curing barns,” he said. “This gives us much better control over what we grow and how we grow it. It’s an exciting time for me personally, to be part of the Hacienda d’ Ernesto company, and for the larger group as a whole."

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For more information, please contact Frederik Vandermarliere, 

CEO of J.Cortès (Frederik.Vandermarliere@jcortes.com) or 

Laure Boisbouvier, Marketing Manager J.Cortès (+32 489 11 26 06) 

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About J. Cortès

J. Cortès is a family run company with a passion for cigars. Cigars in all shapes and sizes. It's a never-ending story of dedication and craftsmanship that started in 1926. Don't smoke but enjoy! Our prime brands are J. Cortes, Country, Neos and Amigos. For the major European countries we have strong in-house sales teams; for other markets our brands are in the hands of our export managers and sold over 80 countries globally. In 2016 CEO Fredje fell in love with artisanal cigar company Oliva Cigars, based in the US and Nicaragua. A business marriage was set and it turned out to be the party of the year. The Cortès family business now spreads across two continents.

Don't smoke but enjoy!