Business

New York Win Opens Doors for Sicilian Producer

Bono USA's Salvatore Russo-Tiesi said his NYIOOC awards have opened his business to new horizons, while "skipping a full step in the selling process."

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Oct. 27, 2016
By Wendy Logan
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Since win­ning two gold awards at the 20016 New York International Olive Oil Competition, Salvatore Russo-Tiesi says his Bono USA, Inc. has flour­ished. The com­pany rep­re­sents Bonolio Sas, a large extra virgin olive oil pro­ducer in Italy. “Our con­cen­tra­tion is on qual­ity and authen­tic­ity,” he said of the Bono 100% Organic blend and Bono PDO Val di Mazara, grown and pressed in Sicily.

Since the com­pe­ti­tion, I can men­tion the award and the legit­i­macy is already there.- Salvatore Russo-Tiesi, Bono USA

While his brands have always empha­sized purity and qual­ity, Russo-Tiesi said that from a mar­ket­ing stand­point, the NYIOOC awards have opened his busi­ness to new hori­zons. “Olive Oil Times is seen by the indus­try as having the utmost integrity and legit­i­macy. It’s a well-respected source of accu­rate infor­ma­tion in our field,” he said. “And the com­pe­ti­tion just takes that a step fur­ther, allow­ing us to con­firm against some of the best EVOOs in the world our own legit­i­macy and supe­ri­or­ity.”

Winning an award at the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion, said Tiesi, has been a door-opener and the recog­ni­tion from buyers, instant. The NYIOOC Gold Award has trans­lated to “skip­ping a full step in the sell­ing process,” he said. “I’m taken more seri­ously.” Immediately after the April com­pe­ti­tion, Tiesi has con­nected with national dis­trib­u­tors for large super­mar­ket chains, restau­rants, smaller chains, and even indi­vid­u­als via the NYIOOC’s Best Olive Oils Marketplace where he sells the win­ning oils.

“Before I won the awards, I might reach out via phone or email and get no response. But since the com­pe­ti­tion, I can men­tion the award and the legit­i­macy is already there. I’ve made many, many sales since the com­pe­ti­tion.”

The inter­na­tional nature of the com­pe­ti­tion has fur­ther inspired the Bono USA owner to broaden his knowl­edge on the com­mod­ity he rep­re­sents. When the Olive Oil Times Education Lab co-hosted the first Olive Oil Sommelier cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Course at the International Culinary Center, led by some of the world’s fore­most experts on the topic of the sen­sory analy­sis of EVOO, Tiesi jumped at the chance to par­tic­i­pate.

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“The course helped my palate catch up with my exper­tise in the com­mer­cial and pro­duc­tion sides of the prod­uct and to dig into the cat­e­gory fur­ther. It also gave me a better under­stand­ing of my com­pe­ti­tion and how I need to be sell­ing.” Tiesi plans to com­plete levels 2 and 3 of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion courses this winter.

Even as the first olives from the new 2016/2017 har­vest are being crushed into oil, pro­duc­ers around the world are enter­ing their brands in the 2017 New York International Olive Oil Competition at the fastest rate in the five-year his­tory of the con­test.

Producers and mar­keters of extra virgin olive oils can enter the 2017 NYIOOC on the com­pe­ti­tion’s web­site.

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