Small Producers, Oleotourism Take Center Stage at Ercole Olivario

The winners of the main competition will participate in the Shelf Life Monitoring Project, which will help improve best practices for producers and consumers.
The winners of 32nd Ercole Olivario with Giorgio Mencaroni (center), the president of the Umbria Chamber of Commerce (Photo: Ercole Olivario)
By Ylenia Granitto
Apr. 16, 2024 01:22 UTC

Ercole Olivario, a com­pe­ti­tion for the best Italian extra vir­gin olive oils, con­cluded its 32nd edi­tion on April 6th in Perugia at the San Francesco al Prato audi­to­rium, a cul­tural land­mark in the Umbrian cap­i­tal city.

Promoted by the Italian Union of the Chambers of Commerce for Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture (Unioncamere), with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of the Umbria Chamber of Commerce, Ercole Olivario is the only insti­tu­tional national com­pe­ti­tion ded­i­cated to the olive oil sec­tor.

See Also:Olive Oil Competitions News

Expanded in recent years with the addi­tion of sev­eral side ini­tia­tives, the com­pe­ti­tion aims to pro­mote Italian olive oil pro­duc­ers and sup­port qual­ity-ori­ented com­pa­nies.

During the clos­ing event, Federico Sisti and Giorgio Mencaroni, the sec­re­tary gen­eral and pres­i­dent of the Umbria Chamber of Commerce, respec­tively, announced the 12 win­ners of the much-cov­eted tro­phy, con­sist­ing of a minia­ture replica of the tem­ple of Hercules Olivarius.


The temple of Hercules Olivarius was built in the second century BC in the heart of Rome. (Photo: Ercole Olivario)

Two pro­duc­ers were awarded from Umbria, Sardinia and Puglia, and one pro­ducer from each of Trentino-Alto Adige, Tuscany, Molise, Campania, Calabria and Sicily also earned awards.

Half the win­ning pro­duc­ers have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

The award-win­ning olive oils will be the sub­ject of the Shelf Life Monitoring Project, which will be car­ried out in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the University of Perugia.

For this edi­tion, we have intro­duced this exper­i­men­tal research project that fur­ther con­firms the pres­tige of the com­pe­ti­tion,” Mencaroni said.

It is per­formed through instru­men­tal and sen­sory analy­ses and focuses on data con­cern­ing the long-term stor­age of the final­ist extra vir­gin olive oils,” he added. With spe­cial atten­tion to their health prop­er­ties, the study will pro­vide infor­ma­tion use­ful for both pro­duc­ers and con­sumers.”

Meanwhile, eight awards were given to pro­duc­ers from Sicily, Puglia, Lazio and Abruzzo at the fourth edi­tion of the table olive qual­ity con­test, with one award per pro­cess­ing method.

Additionally, three PDO Sicilian farm­ers and two Tuscan and Apulian pro­duc­ers were awarded at La Goccia d’Ercole (The Drop of Hercules), ded­i­cated to small-scale Italian pro­duc­ers.

Sisti said the side com­pe­ti­tion was estab­lished to give small-scale pro­duc­ers, some of whom do not meet min­i­mum pro­duc­tion require­ments for larger com­pe­ti­tions, a chance to exper­i­ment and have their extra vir­gin olive oils judged by an expert panel.

It has indeed become an incu­ba­tor, where we are dis­cov­er­ing out­stand­ing extra vir­gin olive oils, and also an expe­ri­ence through which the farm­ers have the chance to train to par­tic­i­pate in the main con­test in the future and to face the global mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion bet­ter,” he said.

Regional pan­els selected the par­tic­i­pants in Ercole Olivario dur­ing tast­ing ses­sions car­ried out in the pre­vi­ous weeks. In some regions, the selec­tions took place through a com­pe­ti­tion.

Fifteen brands from Lazio were admit­ted after win­ning the Premio Roma Evo held at the Rome Chamber of Commerce, while 13 Umbrian brands were selected at the Oro Verde dell’Umbria con­test at its local cham­ber of com­merce.

The national con­test judg­ing panel con­sisted of 16 pro­fes­sional tasters from all the par­tic­i­pat­ing Italian regions, led by a panel leader and a coor­di­na­tor.


Federico Sisti (left) and Giorgio Mencaroni (right) with Marina Colonna and Andrea Caterina at the 32nd Ercole Olivario (Photo: Ercole Olivario)

The event also saw the launch of the first report on oleo­tourism in Italy, the result of a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the asso­ci­a­tion Città dell’Olio, the Unaprol-Coldiretti con­sor­tium and Roberta Garibaldi, a lead­ing expert in food and wine tourism.

According to their study, the country’s oleo­tourism indus­try com­prises around one mil­lion com­pa­nies with a pro­duc­tion value of almost €2 bil­lion.


The report con­tains detailed data, other insights on the sec­tor’s attrac­tive­ness and the best prac­tices of Italian com­pa­nies devel­op­ing an oleo­touris­tic recep­tion project.

The Ercole Olivario orga­niz­ers recently intro­duced the Giorgio Phellas spe­cial award for oleo­tourism, which went to the Sicilian com­pany Mandranova.

We are really delighted with this recog­ni­tion because we strongly believe in the poten­tial of oleo­tourism,” co-owner Silvia Di Vincenzo told Olive Oil Times. Our com­pany is close to the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, a UNESCO-listed site and tourism ref­er­ence point.”

We have a recep­tive struc­ture where we host peo­ple from all over the world and involve them in mini-olive oil tast­ing courses,” she added. These courses include an expla­na­tion of the entire pro­duc­tion process, infor­ma­tion on the nutri­tional prop­er­ties of extra vir­gin olive oil and sug­ges­tions for food pair­ings.”

We want those who visit our com­pany to under­stand what a high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil is and what lies behind its pro­duc­tion,” Di Vincenzo con­tin­ued.

During the event, other spe­cial awards were handed out to com­pa­nies from Tuscany, Molise, Trentino-Alto Adige, Calabria and Umbria, which dis­tin­guished them­selves in var­i­ous areas, such as female and young entre­pre­neur­ship, dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and pack­ag­ing.

Finally, the best mono­va­ri­etal of the sea­son, pro­duced in Sardinia, received a men­tion of merit.

The Ercole Olivario win­ners for each cat­e­gory are:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Light Fruity

  • First Classified: Molensis, Marina Colonna, Molise

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Medium Fruity

  • First Classified: GangaLupo, Azienda Agricola Bisceglie Maria, Puglia
  • Second Classified: Alphabetum, Masoni Becciu di Deidda Valentina, Sardinia

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Intense Fruity:

  • First Classified: Concordu, Nicola Solinas, Sardinia
  • Second Classified: Torchia, Oleificio Torchia, Calabria
  • Third Classified: Schinosa, Aziende Agricole Di Martino, Puglia

PDO/PGI – Light Fruity:

  • First Classified: Batta DOP Umbria Colli del Trasimeno, Frantoio Batta, Umbria

PDO/PGI – Medium Fruity:

  • First Classified: Colleruita DOP Umbria Colli Assisi – Spoleto, Azienda Agraria Viola, Umbria
  • Second Classified: Brioleum Garda DOP Trentino, Azienda Agricola Brioleum, Trentino-Alto Adige
  • Third Classified: Agrestis Nettaribleo Dop/Bio DOP Monti Iblei – Monte Lauro, Società Cooperativa Agricola Agrestis, Sicily

PDO/PGI – Intense Fruity:

  • First Classified: Hirpinia DOP Irpinia – Colline dell’Ufita, San Comaio, Campania
  • Second Classified: Organic Bio IGP Toscano, Frantoio Franci, Tuscany

The Goccia d’Ercole win­ners are:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

  • First Classified: Biologico, Società Agricola Buonamici Srl Unipersonale, Tuscany
  • Second Classified: Rodonea, Società Agraria Petrizzelli Snc, Puglia
  • Third Classified: Selezione del Conte, Tenuta il Corno, Tuscany


  • First Classified: Foglie di Platino IGP Sicilia Biancolilla Bio Premier Cru, Società Agricola Vincenzo Signorelli & Partners Srl, Sicily
  • Second Classified: DOP Involio Nocellara del Belice, l’Azienda Vitivinicola Casa di Grazia di Di Francesco Maria Grazia, Sicily
  • Third Classified: Don Peppino IGP Sicilia, Azienda Agricola Sikulus, Sicily

The Ercole Olivario web­site and social media pages pro­vide a com­plete list of the 2024 win­ners and infor­ma­tion on the sched­uled events.


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