TerraOlivo Completes 8th Edition

Despite the recent loss of TerraOlivo's president, Raul Castellani, the competition in Israel attracted 630 olive oils from 20 countries.

Jun. 21, 2017
By Alexis Kerner

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Last week TerraOlivo wrapped up the 8th edi­tion of its inter­na­tional olive oil com­pe­ti­tion. With the recent loss of the pres­i­dent of TerraOlivo, Raul Castellani, it was not an easy task to ensure the event ran smoothly. However, with ded­i­ca­tion and hard work, Moshe Spak, Eyal Hasson, Leonardo Castellani and Antonio G. Lauro ran the com­pe­ti­tion admirably.

The con­test drew more than 630 olive oils from 20 coun­tries. Spain was the grand win­ner tak­ing home 111 prizes — four in the Top Ten cat­e­gory.

Jurors of the com­pe­ti­tion agreed that the dif­fi­cult har­vest year was evi­dent in many sam­ples, not­ing indi­ca­tions of exces­sive heat, fruit that ripened early and oils with low sta­bil­ity.

Despite a tough year, Israeli pro­duc­ers were able to present 131 oils and took home over 40 awards.

The pres­i­dent of the Agro-nutri­tional Partnership of the Region of Crete, Manolis Chnaris, attended in a show of sup­port for the par­tic­i­pat­ing Greek pro­duc­ers and the com­pe­ti­tion itself. During a speech at the awards cer­e­mony, Chnaris expressed the impor­tance of qual­ity olive oil and his grat­i­tude for the col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Crete and Israeli com­pe­ti­tions.

For jurors, morn­ings were occu­pied with tast­ing flights of about 33 oils per day. However, after­noons were spent in the field to pro­mote infor­ma­tion exchange between panel mem­bers.


A spe­cial trip was hosted by the Israeli Olive Oil Board to Beit Gemal, a monastery near Beit Shemesh, and to Kibbutz Revadim which pro­duces local vari­eties like Barnea and Souri.

Zohar Kerem from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem first spoke to the group at Beit Gemal on the his­tor­i­cal impor­tance of the area. It was here where David defeated Goliath and where olive trees had been domes­ti­cated thou­sands of years ago.

Kerem also explained the results of a very inter­est­ing study that was car­ried out in the region. The study revealed that the olive trees now planted near the monastery had roots from many Italian species with local cul­ti­vars grafted onto the for­eign roots. It is believed that the Italian vari­eties were intro­duced by trav­el­ing monks.

Adi Naali, the CEO of the Israeli Olive Oil Board and his team explained mod­ern Israeli pro­duc­tion and the work that the Board is doing to ensure qual­ity prod­ucts and healthy mar­kets. He stressed the impor­tance of using a seal of qual­ity, trace­abil­ity, and good brand­ing. He went on to say that it is when you give con­sumers qual­ity, that pro­duc­ers can demand a fair price for their hard work.

The after­noon was con­cluded in the groves of Kibbutz Revadim with an olive oil tast­ing and dis­cus­sions lead by Ayala Noy Meir and Ehud Soriano on the pro­duc­tion of local vari­eties.

The trees sur­round­ing the group were laden with new fruit start­ing to plump. It is this fruit that will be used for this com­ing harvest´s olive oil and just per­haps it will be a win­ner in TerraOlivo 2018.

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