Colinas de Garzón: Uruguay's Crown Jewel of EVOO

Colinas de Garzón is one of Uruguay's premier olive oil and wine producers, as well as a popular destination for tourists.

Jan. 5, 2017
By Jun Cola

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Uruguay is South America’s tour de force in minia­ture. Its size unas­sum­ing, its land mostly flat. But over the past few years, the coun­try has gone from rel­a­tive obscu­rity to some­what of a house­hold name.

El Pepe (José Mujica), Uruguay’s charis­matic, Volkswagen-Beetle-dri­ving ex-pres­i­dent, jolted the coun­try to the inter­na­tional spot­light with his third-way pol­i­tics that included mar­i­juana legal­iza­tion, reset­tling Guantanamo Bay pris­on­ers cleared for release, and final­iz­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of free wifi inter­net nation­wide includ­ing all pub­lic schools.

Together with these achieve­ments is another suc­cess story that hasn’t received nearly as much media atten­tion: The coun­try blooms of vast olive trees. As the olives mature they are pressed and even­tu­ally go on to pro­duce first-class, inter­na­tion­ally renowned olive oils.

Colinas de Garzón, estab­lished in 2005, is Uruguay’s pre­mier bou­tique olive oil gar­den. Located in the sea­side town of José Ignacio and the penin­sula city of Punta del Este, the com­plex encom­passes a total of 4,300 acres.

The area is home to sev­eral olive cul­ti­vars such as Arbequina, Coratina, Barnea, and Picual. Once mature, these crops are mixed and com­bined to pro­duce Colinas de Garzón’s award-win­ning blends.

The com­pa­ny’s activ­i­ties aren’t restricted to the pro­duc­tion of its renowned extra vir­gin olive oils. Strategic invest­ments have been made to accom­mo­date vis­i­tors, turn­ing the com­plex into a gen­uine olive oil tourist attrac­tion.

Bike tours of the open fields are avail­able. Visitors are also wel­comed to set up their own pic­nics. The fea­ture com­plex is dubbed Fábrica Boutique. Here, in this finely dec­o­rated build­ing that blends rus­tic sim­plic­ity with mod­ern ameni­ties, vis­i­tors can par­take in tast­ings of dif­fer­ent olives and olive oils and locally pro­duced wines. A lounge reserved for pri­vate events is also avail­able.

Fábrica Boutique also has its own bodega and a restau­rant oper­ated by chef Francis Mallmann. The entire build­ing com­plex is fit­ted with a glass wall fac­ing the exu­ber­ant green land­scape of cas­cad­ing olive trees.

Colinas de Garzón’s pro­duc­tion plant has the milling capac­ity of 130 tons of olives per day. While the qual­ity of their extra vir­gin olive oils meets high stan­dards, their pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cians col­lab­o­rate with sev­eral neigh­bor­ing uni­ver­si­ties with a focus on eco­log­i­cal preser­va­tion.

Matching the company’s objec­tive of pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity olive oils is its goal to be a model of sus­tain­abil­ity, pre­serv­ing the land it tends and local bio­di­ver­sity.


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