`Kapiti Olives Wins Best in Show at New Zealand Competition - Olive Oil Times

Kapiti Olives Wins Best in Show at New Zealand Competition

Nov. 4, 2010
Penelope Barker

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By Penelope Barker
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Sydney

Kapiti Olives’ own­ers David and Helen Walshaw (David is pic­tured at right), and Graeme and Chris Harris are the 2010 win­ners of the Olives New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, tak­ing out Best in Show with their medium blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Picual and Koroneiki vari­eties.

The judg­ing panel’s tast­ing notes stated: A lovely oil with hints of green tea and figs with under­ly­ing spearmint. The palate has flo­ral notes.”

Situated at Te Horo on the West Coast of the North Island, David and Graeme believe that the region is ideal for pro­duc­ing excep­tional oil due to its long frost-
free sea­sons and great cli­mate.

David and Helen’s grove of 2050 trees and Graeme and Chris’ grove of 900 trees con­tain the four vari­eties used in their win­ning oil. David and Graeme main­tain their own groves, while Helen han­dles the post har­vest­ing and mar­ket­ing of the oil, backed up by Graeme’s expert skills in brand­ing and pro­mo­tion.

The groves require lit­tle chem­i­cal input, with only foliar appli­ca­tion of a sea­weed-based spray and boron to cor­rect a soil defi­ciency. Regular soil test­ing mon­i­tors soil nutri­ent sta­tus.


The olives are har­vested using Pellenc mechan­i­cal hand-held har­vesters and a trac­tor-mounted col­lec­tor and are then pressed under con­tract by The Olive Press in Masterton as sin­gle vari­etals and stored in stain­less steel con­tain­ers under argon gas,” says Graeme. Once all the vari­eties are pressed and the oils are left to set­tle for four to six weeks a tast­ing review of each oil is con­ducted.

The aroma,flavor, com­plex­ity and per­sis­tence is noted to decide whether any one vari­etal has all these qual­i­ties or if a blend would bet­ter achieve a bal­ance and har­mony between fruiti­ness, pun­gency and after­taste. Kapiti’s aim each sea­son is to pro­duce at least two styles of oil. ”

With an annual pro­duc­tion of approx­i­mately 4000 litres, Kapiti Olives is not a big pro­ducer. However, this out­put is expected to dou­ble within the next five years as Kapiti’s two groves, planted in 2000, reach matu­rity.

Rather than be a high vol­ume pro­ducer, Kapiti Olives aims to pro­duce the very best hand-crafted extra vir­gin olive oil,” asserts Graeme.

Since 2005, Kapiti Olives has won four gold medals in the Olives New Zealand awards and a gold medal at the Olive Oils of the World com­pe­ti­tion in Los Angeles. This year has been the pin­na­cle year for us,” says Graeme. Winning awards is impor­tant to Kapiti Olives. It con­firms that our olive oil is con­sis­tently world class and gives reas­sur­ance to our cus­tomers that they are get­ting a truly pre­mium prod­uct.”

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