Part of our continuing special coverage of the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for Australian producers who combined to earn nine Gold Awards and four Silver Awards at the tenth edition of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
The victories came after the country’s producers celebrated a fruitful harvest in 2022, with many producers enjoying better climatic conditions than in previous years, but still facing challenges related to labor.
This is vindication for 30 years in the industry… We will be shouting from the rooftop about this, and I am sure it will help confirm our place as a premium producer of world-class extra virgin olive oil.
“The AOOA is pleased to see an increase in the number of locally-produced oils entered in the competition and being recognized internationally,” Jan Jacklin, the general manager of the Australian Olive Oil Association, told Olive Oil Times. “The AOOA is heartened to see consumption of olive oil increasing in Australia and the category growing overall.”
“The Australian Olive Oil Association (AOA) is excited that from 20 Australian entries into the NYIOOC, 13 Awards — nine Golds and four Silvers — were awarded,” added Michael Southan, the chief executive director at the Australian Olive Association (AOA).See Also:The Best Olive Oils From Australia
“We congratulate the Australian olive oil producers who entered the competition and those who came away with awards,” Southan added. “It was also pleasing to see Cobram Estate Olives win Gold and Silver Awards for olive oils from their Australian and U.S. groves.”
Boundary Bend, Australia’s largest olive oil producer, was among the country’s biggest winners. The Victoria-based producer of Cobram Estate olive oils earned four awards for their medium-intensity oils, including three Golds.
The Gold Awards were earned for the company’s Coratina and Picual monovarietals and its Koroneiki blend. In addition, the company won a Silver Award for its Frantoio blend.
“We are thrilled with the results and incredibly proud that the quality and consistency of our extra virgin olive oils are recognized as some of the best in the world,” Leandro Ravetti, Cobram Estate’s co-CEO and chief oil maker, told Olive Oil Times. “To receive recognition on an international stage at the NYIOOC is the greatest honor.”
“It puts a spotlight on all the hard work, experience, precision and passion we put into creating every bottle of extra virgin olive oil,” he added. “At Cobram Estate, we are passionate about every single olive, and this inspires everything we do.”
Ravetti said the company’s harvest was quite a unique one. “We experienced a very favorable wet winter, followed by a moderate summer with above-average rainfall during the oil accumulation process,” he said.
Ravetti added that these conditions resulted in excellent flesh-to-pit ratios that boosted the balance and fruity flavors of their oils.
“We combined these environmental conditions with our horticultural and milling expertise to make beautiful and harmonious oils,” he said.
Another big winner at this year’s competition was fellow-Victorian producer Cape Schanck Olive Estate. Situated on the southern Mornington Peninsula, the company took home three Gold Awards for their delicate Picholine, medium Frantoio and medium Leccino.
“We are ecstatic with the result as we did not expect the oils to once again stand up to the scrutiny of the judges,” Sui Tham, who co-owns the estate with her husband, Stephen, told Olive Oil Times.
“We are also relieved that we have managed to maintain a consistent quality with the oils,” she added. “For us personally, it’s also knowing that our customers can trust that they are buying some of the best oils produced that year.”
Tham said they were quite fortunate as the terroir of Cape Schanck Estate’s grove allowed their harvest to proceed irrespective of the weather.
“Our challenge was maximizing the harvest without damaging the trees using the mechanical harvester, as the wet weather softened the trunks and increased the risk of damage,” she said.
Tham added that the awards recognize Cape Schanck extra virgin olive oils as among the best available and that some of the best palates have enjoyed their oil.
“We don’t see other olive oil producers as competition, as there are many wonderful producers around in Australia,” she said.
Another Victorian producer, Mount Zero Olives, was another Gold Award recipient at this year’s competition, earning the accolade for its medium-intensity Frantoio.
The company’s general manager, Richard Seymour, said he is very excited about winning the award.
“This is vindication for 30 years in the industry and the benefit of working with some great partners,” he told Olive Oil Times.
Seymour added that the award sets their brand apart. He said being prepared to harvest early, processing at lower temperatures and focusing on quality rather than quantity are factors that make Mount Zero’s olives stand out.
However, he added that having the oils ready for the May 1 judging deadline was a challenge.
“We only started harvesting fruit in late April, and the season is still going here,” he said. “We will be shouting from the rooftop about this, and I am sure it will help confirm our place as a premium producer of world-class extra virgin olive oil.”
“In terms of sales, we hope that this will lead to some great export inquiries,” Seymour added.
“We are thrilled that the efforts of our whole grove team throughout the annual growing and harvesting cycle have been rewarded with these high honors, which put us amongst the best extra virgin olive oils in the world,” Tim Dugan, the company’s managing director, told Olive Oil Times.
“These awards are validation of the hard work, dedication and expertise we have put into producing our world-class oils and will help build an increased awareness amongst retailers and consumers,” he added.
Dugan said he is proud theirs is the only Australian extra virgin olive oil available in the country’s major supermarkets grown with certified organic, regenerative farming practices.
“We are delighted to offer an oil that is truly good for the health of people, our soil and our environment,” he said. “Our harvest was thankfully spared of any bad weather events. We had good spring rains and mild weather during flowering. Our trees had good coverage, and we enjoyed a frost-free harvest.”