Producers Across Greece Continue to Celebrate NYIOOC Triumphs

Winners from Greece continue to share their enthusiasm for their record number of NYIOOC awards, a sign that the Greek olive oil sector is alive and well.

Photo: Kyklopas
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Jun. 29, 2021 09:20 UTC
Photo: Kyklopas

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

As the dust con­tin­ues to set­tle on the 2021 edi­tion of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, pro­duc­ers from around Greece con­tin­ued to cel­e­brate their extra­or­di­nary suc­cess.

Producers, exporters, farm­ers, bot­tlers and dis­trib­u­tors from across the coun­try com­bined to earn a record-high 99 awards and 45 Gold Awards. While many extra vir­gin olive oils from Crete and the Peloponnese were rec­og­nized, pro­duc­ers from the rest of Greece did not lack qual­ity either.

It is a great plea­sure to see so many win­ners from Greece this year, which reaf­firms the qual­ity of the Greek olive oils of the 2020/21 har­vest­ing sea­son.- Eleftheria Kasfiki , export man­ager, Olico Brokers

Greece’s olive oil sec­tor employs thou­sands of fam­i­lies and gen­er­ates an annual income of more than €700 mil­lion for the country’s grow­ers and pro­duc­ers.

Spilios Livanos, the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, high­lighted the impor­tance of the olive oil sec­tor in a recent pro­mo­tional event held in Athens.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Greece

We must empha­size and cap­i­tal­ize on the poten­tial of the Greek olive sec­tor, even more, to make Greek olive oil syn­ony­mous with qual­ity world­wide,” Livanos said dur­ing the event.

It is our duty to do every­thing pos­si­ble to pro­tect, facil­i­tate and enhance its [olive oil’s] pro­duc­tion and pro­mo­tion in inter­na­tional mar­kets,” he added.

As part of a new ini­tia­tive to pro­mote Greek food prod­ucts, the min­istry has set up two work­ing groups – one for the olive oil sec­tor and another one for the table olive sec­tor.


Photo: Pangaio Manufaktur

Livanos said the goal is to for­mu­late our national strat­egy by giv­ing solu­tions to chronic prob­lems, cor­rect­ing mis­takes and chang­ing bad men­tal­i­ties of the past,” and exhibit their nutri­tional supe­ri­or­ity and give them added value inside and out­side of the Greek bor­der.”

The minister’s words fit per­fectly with the extra­or­di­nary per­for­mance of the country’s olive oil pro­fes­sion­als at the NYIOOC, the world’s most pres­ti­gious olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion.

Both return­ing and first-time par­tic­i­pants told Olive Oil Times that they enjoyed see­ing their names fill­ing up the country’s win­ners grid on the Official Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils.

It is a great plea­sure to see so many win­ners from Greece this year, which reaf­firms the qual­ity of the Greek olive oils of the 2020/21 har­vest­ing sea­son,” Eleftheria Kasfiki, the export man­ager of Olico Brokers from Athens, said. We hope that more sim­i­lar sea­sons will come for our coun­try, that will pleas­antly sur­prise buy­ers and retail con­sumers.”

Bottler and exporter Olico Brokers left the com­pe­ti­tion with three Silver Awards for their Olico, Green Diamond Superior and Green Diamond Organic extra vir­gin olive oils.

The three awards in such an estab­lished com­pe­ti­tion is the accom­plish­ment of our hard work and effort, and the acknowl­edg­ment of the high qual­ity of our prod­ucts,” Kasfiki said. At Olico Brokers, we pledge to retain the qual­ity supe­ri­or­ity of our prod­ucts and con­stantly evolve to win more awards in the future.”

Meanwhile, Pangaio Manufaktur, a new and promis­ing grower and olive oil pro­ducer based in north­ern Greece, at the foot of Mount Pangaio, debuted in NYIOOC this year, earn­ing a Gold Award for its early-har­vested Aoron, a Megaritiki mono­va­ri­etal.


Photo: Pangaio Manufaktur

We are hon­ored and proud to receive such a recog­ni­tion already in our first year of pro­duc­tion,” the own­ers Beate and Michail Samaras said, adding that the con­di­tions of the har­vest­ing sea­son were far from ideal for their busi­ness.

Being a small arti­san fam­ily pro­ducer tran­si­tion­ing our olive grove to regen­er­a­tive farm­ing in such a hot and dry year was a great chal­lenge,” they said.


As we believe farm­ing works only together with nature, we are the only pro­ducer in our region that applies strict regen­er­a­tive farm­ing meth­ods – no use of pes­ti­cides, only regional organic com­post for fer­til­iz­ing – for the ben­e­fit of the envi­ron­ment, the health of our orchard and, of course, the qual­ity of our extra vir­gin olive oil from early har­vested olives,” the pair added.

All year long, we work hard for healthy soils and trees, deli­cious olives and a speedy yet care­ful har­vest,” they con­tin­ued. This approach has been very reward­ing to us, but it takes a lot of addi­tional man­ual labor and the need to detect any pests at a very early stage.”

The Samarases said that they were extremely thank­ful to their early cus­tomers and sup­port­ers, who encour­aged them to con­tinue on the chal­leng­ing path they have cho­sen.

This award greatly moti­vates us for the com­ing sea­son, and we are thrilled to improve our groves fur­ther,” they said.

Kyklopas, another north­ern pro­ducer with a Gold Award at the NYIOOC, har­vests its olives from the Makri olive grove, one of the old­est in the Mediterranean com­pris­ing olive trees aged thou­sands of years.


Photo: Kyklopas

The com­pany has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the NYIOOC since its early years, cel­e­brat­ing awards in each edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion.

We are thrilled to be awarded at the NYIOOC for the ninth con­sec­u­tive year,” Valia Kelidou told Olive Oil Times. The award reaf­firms the top qual­ity of our olive oil.”

Kyklopas is a fam­ily-run busi­ness, and we will con­tinue to take extra care of every small detail to be able to offer the best to over 25 coun­tries we cur­rently export,” she added.

Kelidou’s extra vir­gin olive oil has also received the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin qual­ity label.

To Alsea, a grower and pro­ducer based in Agrinio in the country’s mid­west, receiv­ing their first Gold Award at NYIOOC for its extra vir­gin from their 300-year-old olive grove was the cul­mi­na­tion of a labo­ri­ous but reward­ing sea­son, com­ple­mented by the pre­vail­ing favor­able con­di­tions.

It is true that we are very proud of our award in such an estab­lished com­pe­ti­tion as the NYIOOC,” owner Nikolaos Sigounas told Olive Oil Times. It was our first win in the con­test, and we are delighted to earn a Gold Award after work­ing so hard.”

We should say, of course, that the con­di­tions through­out the har­vest­ing sea­son were almost per­fect for a great yield of olive oil both in terms of qual­ity and quan­tity,” he added.

In the Aegean Sea, far away from the Greek main­land, sits the island of Lesbos, which is well-known for its vast olive groves of more than 11 mil­lion trees that pro­duce the island’s dis­tinc­tive yel­low­ish olive oil.

Among the island’s top pro­duc­ers is the Jordan Olivenöl com­pany, which earned three Gold Awards. The pro­ducer earned them for its Bambatsa Extra Wild, from the Kolovi vari­ety, and for two blends of the Kolovi and Adramytiani vari­eties.

We feel hon­ored and hum­bled to receive these awards,” Bastian Jordan proudly and suc­cinctly said. They acknowl­edge the nature and humans involved, includ­ing our farmer friends, our­selves and the team work­ing in our olive mill.”

Meanwhile, Rafteli Protouli, another pro­ducer from Lesbos, received a Gold Award for its Aegean Gold PGI, a blend made from Kolovi and two other local vari­eties – Adramytiani and Ladolia.


Photo: Rafteli Protouli

A Gold Award in our sec­ond par­tic­i­pa­tion in the NYIOOC is a tremen­dous dis­tinc­tion that gives us an immense sense of sat­is­fac­tion,” a spokesper­son for the com­pany told Olive Oil Times. After more than 60 years in the busi­ness, our ulti­mate goal is to pro­duce olive oil of the high­est qual­ity, and the objec­tive judg­ment of those who know shows us that we are on the right track.”

The com­pany was not immune to the spe­cial con­di­tions and require­ments of the sea­son, which was heav­ily impacted by the Covid-19 pan­demic. On the other hand, they were for­tu­nate enough to enjoy a great sea­son in terms of weather con­di­tions and suc­cess­fully tack­ling the olive tree pathogens.

It was an unprece­dented year for the whole world, affect­ing us and the oper­a­tion of our com­pany as well, ” the spokesper­son said. We respected all the restric­tions and instruc­tions pro­vided by doc­tors and sci­en­tists to con­front Covid-19, and we increased the ben­e­fits to the pro­duc­ers we col­lab­o­rate with to pro­vide incen­tives to con­tinue their har­vest.”

As far as qual­ity is con­cerned, we have to thank the per­fect weather that greatly helped the blos­som­ing of the trees and the effec­tive con­fronta­tion of the olive fruit fly and other pests,” the spokesper­son con­cluded. Judging by the result, we all together con­tributed to achiev­ing a per­fect out­come this sea­son.”


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