Part of our continuing special coverage of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Extra virgin olive oil producers from Australia and New Zealand have combined to win more than 20 awards for the first time at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
By several metrics, producers from both countries enjoyed their best performances at the world’s most prestigious olive oil quality competition.
We honestly never dreamt we could top last year’s result of two Gold Awards, and to win three awards this year is incredible.
Australian producers earned 15 awards from 16 entries at the competition, tied for the second-highest in their history. However, Australian producers did earn a record-high 13 Gold Awards.
The accolades come after Australian growers had to brave a myriad of obstacles impacting last year’s harvest, from the long-running drought and unrelenting wildfires to bird damage and Covid-19 workplace restrictions.See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Australia
David Valmorbida, the president of the Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOOA), told Olive Oil Times they were confident his country’s “entries to the NYIOOC represent just a taste of the many wonderful olive oils being produced around Australia.”
“This result demonstrates that Australian olive growers are producing some fantastic oils at a global level of excellence,” he said.
Cape Schanck Olive Estate on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula was among the biggest winners from Australia, winning five Gold Awards, up from the four awards the Victorian producers scooped up last year.
“Our first response was ‘wow, amazing,’” Cape Schanck co-owner Sui Tham told Olive Oil Times. “It is a huge reward for those that helped with our harvesting and processing.”
Tham, who co-owns the olive estate with her husband, Stephen, attributed this year’s success to a “lovely growing environment” and “lovely fruit.”
The couple earned the Gold Awards for their robust Picual, medium Picholine, medium Coratina, medium Frantoio and medium Leccino.
Tham said they were “so happy for everyone that managed to keep producing extra virgin olive oil in such trying circumstances” and they were “delighted for the other Aussies and Kiwis too.”
Boundary Bend was the other big winner from Australia, earning five Gold Awards for their Cobram Estate brand. They were awarded for their medium and robust blends, and for their medium Hojiblanca blend, medium Picual and medium Coratina monovarietals.
“We combine the best environmental conditions that Australia or California can offer to grow olives with our horticultural and milling expertise, making the quality and consistency of our products our top priority,” Leandro Ravetti, the company’s master miller, told Olive Oil Times.
Taralinga Estate was also among the multi-award-winning Australian producers at the NYIOOC. The Victoria-based company earned two Gold Awards for their medium blends and a Silver for their medium Picual.
“We honestly never dreamt we could top last year’s result of two Gold Awards, and to win three awards this year is incredible,” Karen Godfrey, the company’s marketing manager, told Olive Oil Times.
“Our olive grove is located on the Mornington Peninsula — an ideal microclimate for olives — and we have the best processing plant on the peninsula,” she added. “In addition, our production methods are authentic. We are dedicated to picking early harvest, and processing within hours to lock in vital health-giving antioxidants and deliver the freshest, highest-quality extra virgin olive oil possible.”
On the other side of the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s 2020 olive harvest was also impacted by pandemic-related challenges, with the country going into lockdown as growers started harvesting.
However, producers persevered and managed to win six awards with six entries, including five Gold Awards and one Silver.
When you start out, you can never imagine that an achievement like this is possible. But with hard work and support of family and friends, and excellent processing, anything is possible.
“Once again, New Zealand has won Gold Awards in New York, reflecting the passion and commitment of our growers in producing quality extra virgin olive oil that competes particularly well in a global environment,” Gayle Sheridan, the company’s CEO, said.
“The 2020 harvest year in New Zealand was challenging,” she added. “A promising flowering did not translate into a good fruit set for some, followed by drought conditions in many regions resulting in small fruit and/or fruit drop, and then slow ripening.”See Also: The Best Olive Oils from New Zealand
Stephen Davies Howard, owner of Loopline Olives was among New Zealand’s biggest winners at the 2021 NYIOOC.
Based in the Wairarapa region on the southern tip of North Island, Davies Howard earned two Golds earlier this week and said he was “very proud to have won Gold Awards for a third successive year at the NYIOOC.”
“For both the Loopline Picual and Picholine to win Gold adds to that sense of achievement, particularly as the competition received record entries,” he told Olive Oil Times. “The harvest that led to this year’s achievement was conducted under New Zealand’s strict Covid restrictions, and can only be described as a totally local effort with no overseas input.”
“I regard the NYIOOC as a way to benchmark Loopline on the international stage, and to ensure that we are doing right by the trees, and in the way we produce the extra virgin olive oil whilst we are the custodians of the grove.”
Another Wairarapa-based producer, Olive Black, was awarded a Gold for its medium blend. The company manager, Mark Bunny, said he believed the Wairarapa region’s climate had a lot to do with their brand’s success.
Meanwhile, Derek and Tracy Johnson, owners of Sapphire Olives on the Rangitāiki Plains, located farther north on North Island, took home a Silver for their medium blend.
“We are very proud and humble that we have achieved such an award,” Derek Johnson said. “When you start out, you can never imagine that an achievement like this is possible. But with hard work and support of family and friends, and excellent processing, anything is possible.”
Andrew Liley, director of Juno Olives in the Wairarapa region, said they were “delighted to have achieved such a high accolade at such a prestigious competition,” after bagging a Gold Award for their medium Picual.
He attributed Juno’s success to “a lot of hard work from many people associated with the production of our olive oils, including those helping with soil and tree management,” amongst others.