After bumper harvests in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, producers demonstrated their quality with a combined 14 awards at the world’s largest olive oil quality contest.
Producers from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay beat the odds to produce some of the world’s best extra virgin olive oils this year, combining to win 21 awards from 32 entries at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Despite prolonged drought and high summer temperatures, farmers in the three countries comprising South America’s Southern Cone enjoyed bumper harvests.
These awards mean a lot to our team and confirm that our commitment to producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil is being appreciated.
Chilean producers set a new record in the competition, winning 14 awards (eight Gold and six Silver Awards) with a 70 percent success rate, surpassing their previous highest tally of ten medals in 2019.
The harvest in Chile started in April and ran through June. Despite a significant drought that dominated much of the country’s fertile central valley, home to most of its olive groves, Chilean producers enjoyed a robust crop this year, similar to their 2022 yield.See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Chile
“According to our statistics, Chile’s olive oil production reached 21,000 tons in 2023,” Gabriela Moglia, the general manager of ChileOliva, a producer association, told Olive Oil Times.
“We are happy that Chilean olive oils were awarded in the contest that supports the quality of our product worldwide,” Moglia added. “The olive oil of Chile is more than 90 percent extra virgin as the country specializes in quality.”
Among the biggest Chilean winners at the 2023 NYIOOC was Agricola Pobeña, which earned four Gold Awards.
“We are very proud to win four golds at the NYIOOC this year,” José Manuel Reyes, the commercial manager at Agricola Pobeña, told Olive Oil Times. “These awards mean a lot to our team and confirm that our commitment to producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil is being appreciated.”
For the fourth consecutive year, the company won with its Alonso brand of olive oils, including Hojiblanca, Coratina, and Cuartel 64 monovarietals and the Obsession blend.
The producers behind Olivos Ruta del Sol, another award-winning company from Chile, acknowledged the importance of participating and winning in the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest.
“To win accolades at the NYIOOC is extraordinary, especially because our markets are 100 percent overseas and New York is a great showroom,” Fernando Carrasco Spano, the company’s chief executive, told Olive Oil Times.
The company received Gold and Silver Awards for two blends at the 2023 NYIOOC, the Deleyda Fine Selection and the Deleyda Premium. This year’s recognition extends the company’s winning streak at the World Competition to five consecutive years.
Based in Valparaíso, Olivos Ruta del Sol cultivates 143,000 olive trees of various olive varieties, including Coratina, Koroneiki, Frantoio and Arbequina, taking advantage of the area’s location and geomorphology.
“Our location in a unique valley in the Valparaíso region in central Chile offers a strong barrier against [olive] pathogens because of the Andes,” Spano said.
Located 90 kilometers west of the capital, Santiago, Hacienda Chorombo had to cope with the area’s water shortage to celebrate its first award in the competition, a Gold for its Trattoria blend from Coratina and Arbequina olives.
“This award is a source of pride and great satisfaction because it reflects all the effort and teamwork,” said Alfonso Acevedo, the company’s chief executive. “It is also a very good indicator that validates our conviction to obtain extra virgin olive oils of the best quality.”
“This year, we had a major challenge with water availability,” he added. “The key was to use the resource with maximum efficiency to reach the harvest point in optimal conditions.”
Acevedo also said that the company relies on state-of-the-art technology and constantly looks for new ways to use water efficiently in its olive groves.
In neighboring Argentina, farmers also enjoyed a bumper harvest. While official data has not been published, officials anticipate this year’s harvest to exceed those of the previous three.
At the 2023 NYIOOC, two Argentine producers combined to earn four awards (one Gold and three Silver Awards) with a 50 percent success rate.
Establecimiento Olivum received two Silver Awards for its medium-intensity Changlot Reial monovarietal and medium blend. It was the fifth year that the producer triumphed at the competition.
The producer grows around 1,000 hectares of olive trees at the foothills of the Andes in the province of San Juan.
Another producer from San Juan, Agropecuaria El Mistol, won a Gold and a Silver Award in the competition for two of its blends: El Mistol Premium and El Mistol Clasico.
Argentina is the largest olive oil producer in the Americas, boasting more than 90,000 hectares of olive groves mainly situated in the northwestern provinces of San Juan, Mendoza, La Rioja and Catamarca.
On the eastern coast of the Southern Cone, Uruguay’s two largest olive oil brands concluded a record-setting harvest with three awards at the NYIOOC.
Agroland, based in Maldonado and producing the Colinas de Garzón brand, earned two Gold Awards for two medium-intensity blends. Maldonado is the largest olive oil-producing region in Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Nuevo Manantial, which produces the Olivares de Rocha brand in the neighboring province, earned a Silver Award for its medium-intensity blend.
“For us, who are in a very small country, having this international recognition is very good,” Victor Rodriguez, who supervises the production of both brands, told Olive Oil Times. “It fills us with pride and opens a path for us to any market we may want to enter.”
“These awards also help us to make ourselves known on the global stage as a company, not from a traditional olive oil market,” he concluded.
Daniel Dawson contributed to this report.