Olive Oil Times is pleased to announce a content collaboration with Olivarama, the glossy monthly magazine from Spain on olive oil culture. We will be publishing select features from Olivarama, and some Olive Oil Times articles will appear in Olivarama each month.
MADRID – For years olive oil has merely followed in the footsteps of wine in areas as diverse as cultivation, production or sales. However, now it is up to the fruit of the vine to hang on to the prestige that recent medical research has conferred on the composition of the extra virgins.
Both products now travel hand in hand, taking advantage of the numerous advantages the one offers to the other.
At least in Spain, the obsession with quality began to take over bodegas far earlier than in the company policy applied to mills. The precursors of this trend were the French who, towards the XVIII century, exported their ambitious vision of wine to this side of the Pyrenees, sending all of their knowledge and resources to achieve this end.
From then on, oenologists have spared no effort in applying the very latest avant-garde techniques to their cultivation methods, harvesting, production and distribution. This is the only way to guarantee the continuity of their product in a market defined by ferocious competition.
At present, the number of brands competing for new clients or, at least, fighting to keep the ones they have, is so high that it is essential to find other added values apart from the aforementioned quality.
In this sense, more and more winery owners are beginning to consider olive oil attractive enough to form part of their catalogue.
The truth is that up to now, the majority of these companies only work with a bare representation of extra virgins, which are usually produced by or bought from third parties. Nonetheless, they all appear to be willing to give more protagonism to the olive juice. Why is that?
A question of prestige
For decades, or even centuries now, many small cooperatives have received and processed the fruit of the vine and the olive tree in their installations. The wines and oils obtained have traditionally been sold in local areas, meaning they have rarely achieved major distribution, whether due to a lack of resources and training, or because of product insufficiency.
This area has traditionally been reserved for consolidated firms with a will to expand, which in reality are the companies able to afford the investment necessary to jointly sell the oil and the wine they produce.
Among the latter we are also seeing more and more medium and large cooperatives adopting this trend and deciding to focus their main activity on these two crops.
In our constant forays to trade fairs, congresses, technical days and other events, we have never missed out on an opportunity to interview bodega owners who also work with olive oil and to ask them why they do so.