Bountiful Harvest Yields Wins for South African Producers at World Competition

South African producers earned a record-tying nine awards at this year’s NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, more than twice the number they earned in 2020.
Photo: De Rustica
Jun. 22, 2021
Lisa Anderson

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

South African extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers won a total of nine awards at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, tying the pre­vi­ous total set in 2017.

Overall, five South African pro­duc­ers com­bined to earn four Gold and five Silver Awards from 10 entries at the world’s most pres­ti­gious olive oil qual­ity con­test.

As we are not tra­di­tion­ally known for pro­duc­ing olive oil out here on the south­ern tip of Africa, this award gives us expo­sure to the world of olive oil.- Nick Wilkinson, co-owner, Rio Largo

Their impres­sive per­for­mances are a wel­come moment for South African pro­duc­ers after their bumper har­vest last year, which came despite water short­ages and hav­ing to nav­i­gate their way through unfa­mil­iar Covid-19 restric­tions.

These acco­lades are tes­ta­ment to the qual­ity of South African extra vir­gin olive oil and a well-deserved recog­ni­tion of the efforts of those involved in mak­ing the suc­cess hap­pen,” Vittoria Jooste, man­ager of the South African Olive Industry Association (SA Olive), told Olive Oil Times.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from South Africa

We are extremely proud of our pro­duc­ers who fly the South African extra vir­gin olive oil flag on the global scene and hope that more pro­duc­ers will be able to par­tic­i­pate in future edi­tions,” she added.

Rio Largo Olive Estate in the south­west­ern Scherpenheuwel Valley was among the win­ning pro­duc­ers, earn­ing a Gold Award for a robust blend.


Nick Wilkinson, who co-owns Rio Largo with his wife, Brenda, told Olive Oil Times they were delighted to win a Gold Award at the NYIOOC.”

As we are not tra­di­tion­ally known for pro­duc­ing olive oil out here on the south­ern tip of Africa, this award gives us expo­sure to the world of olive oil,” Wilkinson said.


Photo: Mardouw Olive Estate

He added that this award proves South African pro­duc­ers can com­pete with the best extra vir­gin olive oils made any­where else in the world.

We take great pride in our qual­ity pro­file with rel­a­tively new groves and mod­ern pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy, and this truly inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion is our barom­e­ter to judge our­selves against the world’s best,” Wilkinson said.

He attrib­uted his ongo­ing suc­cess – Rio Largo’s robust blend has now won four awards at the NYIOOC – to the estate’s Mediterranean cli­mate and ter­roir.

Additionally, Wilkinson said the noto­ri­ous Cape Doctor, a strong and con­tin­u­ous south-east­erly wind endemic to the country’s Western Cape coastal region, ensured they had very lit­tle dis­ease and insect pres­sure.”

With atten­tion to detail, we can manip­u­late the olives for pro­cess­ing at the right mois­ture con­tent, and with hand har­vest­ing, we ensure olives are picked early, fore­go­ing oil yield but max­i­miz­ing qual­ity with a high polyphe­nol count,” he said.

Olives are processed within 12 hours of har­vest, and I run the pro­cess­ing plant myself where absolute hygiene is non-nego­tiable,” Wilkinson added. Practice also makes per­fect.”

Mardouw Olive Estate, located in the Breede River Valley in the Western Cape province, was another pro­ducer to tri­umph at the NYIOOC, receiv­ing a Silver Award for its Oil of the Olive brand.

Philip King, the estate’s gen­eral man­ager, told Olive Oil Times they were delighted to win another award at a pres­ti­gious event such as NYIOOC” after enter­ing a sin­gle-cul­ti­var Favolosa, as we were still in an early har­vest.”

By this achieve­ment, we have also proved the con­sis­tency of our extra vir­gin olive oils, win­ning three out of three years we have entered,” he added.

Outside of the Western Cape, in the Klein Karoo region, De Rustica Olive was awarded a Silver for its medium Coratina.


Photo: De Rustica Olive

It’s been a priv­i­lege to be part of the NYIOOC for the last few years,” De Rustica’s mar­ket­ing man­ager, Precilla Steenkamp, told Olive Oil Times. Receiving an award on this plat­form is once again a reminder of the high qual­ity we adhere to.”

Steenkamp ascribed De Rustica’s vic­tory to team­work, com­mit­ment and pas­sion, from main­tain­ing the orchards to pick­ing, press­ing, stor­ing and bot­tling.”

Back in the Western Cape, Porterville Olives was arguably the most suc­cess­ful South African pro­ducer at this year’s edi­tion of the NYIOOC, earn­ing two Gold Awards and a Silver Award.

We are very pleased and proud of the excel­lent work done by the whole team at Porterville Olives and our olive estate in South Africa,” owner Willie Duminy told Olive Oil Times. The NYIOOC is very impor­tant to us, and we are very pleased to have achieved two Gold and one Silver Award at this most pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.”

For the pro­duc­ers behind Porterville Olives, this year’s suc­cess came as the result of a boun­ti­ful har­vest.

We had a good crop, with excel­lent qual­ity fruit,” Duminy said. Fortunately, we had favor­able weather, and the har­vest activ­i­ties were not dis­rupted by any Covid-19 issues.”

Producers across South Africa will be hop­ing for sim­i­lar con­di­tions to pre­vail as they fin­ish the 2021 har­vest in the com­ing weeks.


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