Despite Covid and Drought, Australian and New Zealand Producers Shine at NYIOOC

Australian producers took home a record-high 13 Gold Awards, while producers from New Zealand earned a perfect success rate.
Photo: Olive Black, New Zealand
Jun. 2, 2021
Lisa Anderson

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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.- Karen Godfrey, mar­ket­ing man­ager, Taralinga Estate

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.

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Cape Schanck Olive Estate (Photo: Sui Tham)

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.

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Leandro Ravetti

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.”

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Harvesting at the Olive Press. Photo: Gayle Sheridan

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.- Derek Johnson, owner, Sapphire Olives

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.”

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Photo: Stephen Davies Howard

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.

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Photo: Derek and Tracy Johnson

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.


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