In Record Haul, 99 Greek Brands Awarded at World Olive Oil Competition

With the highest ever turnout from Greece, producers from Crete were among the most successful at this year’s NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Photo: Pamako
Jun. 7, 2021
Costas Vasilopoulos

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.


Greek pro­duc­ers and exporters raised the bar again in the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, win­ning an impres­sive 99 awards in the ninth edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion, a record high.

The tally of 45 Gold and 54 Silver Awards far out­per­forms the pre­vi­ous record of 70 awards set in 2020, in the sec­ond year in a row where the eval­u­a­tion of sam­ples was done remotely with the results announced online due to restric­tions of the Covid-19 pan­demic.

While the vol­ume of olive oil pro­duced this sea­son in Greece almost matched the 275,000 tons of the pre­vi­ous 2019/20 crop year, accord­ing to data released by the European Commission, the high qual­ity of the oils pro­duced in sev­eral areas of the coun­try and the ample time to cul­ti­vate enabled Greek pro­duc­ers to leave their mark at NYIOOC.

On Crete , the island that usu­ally accounts for one-third of the country’s total olive oil pro­duc­tion, local pro­duc­ers enjoyed a great sea­son in terms of qual­ity. The vast major­ity of the pro­duced olive oil clas­si­fied as extra vir­gin.

See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Greece

This sea­son on Crete, the pro­duc­ers and the local depart­ments of agri­cul­ture were con­stantly on guard to pre­vent the fruit fly from tak­ing a heavy toll on the yield of olive oil, as has hap­pened in the pre­vi­ous har­vest­ing sea­son,” the regional depart­ment of agri­cul­ture in Chania said in a state­ment to Olive Oil Times.

We used spe­cial­ized pes­ti­cides and mon­i­tored the crop-dust­ing oper­a­tions care­fully,” they added. In the region of Chania, the flow­er­ing of the olive trees was aver­age. However, we had an impres­sive yield of olive oil with the whole region pro­duc­ing more than 23,000 tons of which 95 per­cent is extra vir­gin olive oil.”

The qual­ity of the olive oil of Crete and Chania has been reputed in the olive oil world for many years,” the depart­ment con­tin­ued. The grow­ers, pro­duc­ers and bot­tlers con­tin­u­ously strive to improve it even more. Their awards [at the NYIOOC] are proof that their efforts are pay­ing off, and they also con­tribute to achiev­ing recog­ni­tion among con­sumers and in the inter­na­tional olive oil com­mu­nity.”

The reward­ing sea­son described by the agri­cul­tur­ists of the depart­ment is reflected in the words of the jubi­lant Cretan pro­duc­ers who com­bined to earn 16 awards in the com­pe­ti­tion.

It was one of the best har­vest­ing sea­sons for the island,” Eytychios Androulakis of Pamako, a com­pany based in Chania, told Olive Oil Times. If it repeats itself in the com­ing years, Crete could become the Tuscany of Greece.”

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Photo: Pamako

Pamako con­tin­ued its win­ning streak at the NYIOOC, earn­ing a Gold Award for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year its name­sake, an organic del­i­cate Tsounati organic, and a Silver Award for the Pamako Mountain, an organic blend from Koroneiki and Tsounati.

We are extremely happy to receive a Gold Award for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year for our organic mono­va­ri­etal extra vir­gin,” Androulakis said.

We believe we have put the Tsounati vari­ety on the map of gourmet cul­ti­vars for good,” he added. We own more than 28 inven­tions of machin­ery equip­ment, and we always exper­i­ment in all the stages of the pro­duc­tion process to make our organic, high-phe­no­lic olive oil.”

To max­i­mize trace­abil­ity, we only use olives har­vested from our own 14,000 olive trees, which are then processed in our pri­vate mill and bot­tled in our pri­vate pack­ag­ing facil­i­ties,” Androulakis con­tin­ued. This way, con­sumers know what they buy.”

Androulakis also shared his view for the com­ing sea­son, not­ing that it is expected to be a lit­tle more chal­leng­ing since the warm weather has already caused some dam­age to the flow­er­ing of the olive trees.

Nonetheless, I wish that the high tem­per­a­tures will per­sist from now on to elim­i­nate the first gen­er­a­tion of the fruit fly nat­u­rally,” he con­cluded.

Away from Pamako, many other pro­duc­ers from the Chania region on Crete also excelled at NYIOOC this year.

Terra Creta was among the stand-out pro­duc­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion, receiv­ing three Gold Awards for its Terra Creta, Terra Creta organic and Terra Creta Grand Cru extra vir­gin olive oils, all of which are made from the Koroneiki vari­ety.

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Photo: Terra Creta

To Emmanouil Karpadakis, the mar­ket­ing and area exports man­ager of the com­pany, the sat­is­fac­tion and joy for the per­for­mance of Terra Creta at NYIOOC were immense.

It was not our first time at NYIOOC, how­ever this edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion was really dif­fer­ent for Terra Creta,” Karpadakis told us. After win­ning first prize in Mario Solinas 2021, it is true that we had high hopes. So, we are more than sat­is­fied to receive three Gold Awards at NYIOOC 2021, such a pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion of the olive oil world.”

Winning such a dif­fi­cult award’ is the best proof that we are mov­ing in the cor­rect direc­tion as a pro­ducer and exporter of supe­rior qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” he added. The Koroneiki vari­ety, which is the dom­i­nant vari­ety in Greece, has a unique but dif­fi­cult to reveal qual­ity pro­file, and that makes us even hap­pier with the results.”
We wish more and more con­sumers will be able to appre­ci­ate and enjoy the hid­den char­ac­ter of Koroneiki’ as we use to say,” Karpadakis con­cluded.

Another Gold Award went to Anoskeli Agricultural Company from Kolymvari near Chania for its name­sake extra vir­gin PDO from Koroneiki.

It is with great joy that we wel­come this pres­ti­gious award as it comes as a rat­i­fi­ca­tion of our con­tin­u­ous efforts to main­tain a top-tier qual­ity in our prod­ucts while remain­ing a fam­ily-run busi­ness,” Eleftheria Mamidakis told Olive Oil Times.

We are extremely proud that our mono­va­ri­etal Anoskeli extra vir­gin has been awarded for the third time in a row in the 2021 NYIOOC among a series of well-respected con­tenders in its cat­e­gory, receiv­ing a Gold Award,” she added.

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Photo: Anoskeli Agricultural Company

Anoskeli had received two Silver Awards in the 2019 and 2020 NYIOOC, finally earn­ing a Gold Award in this year’s edi­tion of the annual con­test.

Mamidakis also pro­jected that next year’s pro­duc­tion of olive oil may be lower in Crete in terms of quan­tity com­pared with the cur­rent sea­son.

It is expected that next year’s pro­duc­tion may fall,” she said. We have also seen unusu­ally high tem­per­a­tures for this time of year which may also affect pro­duc­tion vol­umes. As always, we will strive to pro­duce excep­tional and organic extra vir­gin olive oil, as qual­ity and con­sis­tency remain at the top of our pri­or­i­ties.”

Toronto-based Acropolis Organics also received a Gold Award for its homony­mous organic mono­va­ri­etal from its Koroneiki groves in Kolymvari.

This is the sec­ond time we have par­tic­i­pated in the com­pe­ti­tion and we are hon­ored that our hard work and our com­mit­ment to pro­duc­ing the best olive oil is rec­og­nized,” Panagiotis Tsiriotakis told Olive Oil Times.

The per­fect weather on the island of Crete helped max­i­mize the qual­ity of the har­vest this year,” he added. All stages of pro­duc­tion are mon­i­tored very care­fully by our fam­ily mem­bers. This is a team effort. Using the best from nature, we get per­fect results.”

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Panagiotis Tsiriotakis harvests olives in Crete. Photo: Acropolis Organics

On the east­ern part of the island, pro­duc­ers also enjoyed a great finale of the har­vest­ing sea­son with big wins at the World Olive Oil Competition.

Maria Sgourou from Skoutari, a com­pany based near Lasithi, was delighted to dis­cuss their suc­cess in their first-ever par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­pe­ti­tion.

We are very proud that our organic extra vir­gin olive oil found its place among the best olive oils of the world after par­tic­i­pat­ing in such a demand­ing and highly-respected com­pe­ti­tion,” Sgourou told Olive Oil Times.

In the 17th-cen­tury, Cretan romance Erotokritos, Skoutari is the shield that pro­tects the infat­u­ated youth when he fights for his beloved Aretousa,” she said. Having adopted the phi­los­o­phy of Hippocrates that our food is our med­i­cine, we grow our olive trees with respect to nature and bio­di­ver­sity to pro­duce pure olive oil of high qual­ity. So, in 2000 we cre­ated Skoutari olive oil, a shield to our health.”

Skoutari picked up a Gold Award for its medium extra vir­gin mono­va­ri­etal from Koroneiki, which bears a health claim for its high load of polyphe­nols.

Sgourou also acknowl­edged the fact that great dis­tinc­tions bring great respon­si­bil­ity, finally not­ing that they have to con­tinue the hard work to ful­fill the expec­ta­tions.

The greater the joy for the award, the greater the sense of respon­si­bil­ity towards all those who trust our prod­ucts,” she said. We want to be able to always offer the best olive oil to our cus­tomers, the same one we use to raise our chil­dren.”


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