Producers from Australia earned 15 awards and achieved their second-highest success rate of 88 percent at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition. The positive result came after a harvest marked by cool temperatures and labor issues.
To receive this recognition at a prestigious international competition such as the NYIOOC is incredibly valuable for our brand.
Cooler weather benefited the country’s producers, yielding high-quality oils from slowly ripening fruit.See Also:The best olive oils from Australia
“Congratulations to the Australian growers who continue to produce high-quality extra virgin olive oil year-on-year,” Australian Olive Oil Association general manager Jan Jacklin told Olive Oil Times. “It was a mixed year for growers in terms of yield, but the slower ripening of fruit contributed to the quality of the oil,” she added.
Australia’s largest producer, Cobram Estate, earned two Gold Awards for its Coratina and Koroneiki brands and three Silver Awards for Hojiblanca, Frantoio and Picual extra virgin olive oils.
“We are incredibly happy with the five awards this year and proud that the quality and consistency of our extra virgin olive oils continue to be recognized as some of the best in the world,” Leandro Ravetti, Cobram Estate’s co-chief executive and chief oil maker, told Olive Oil Times.
“To receive this recognition at a prestigious international competition such as the NYIOOC is incredibly valuable for our brand. It highlights all the hard work, experience, technical knowledge and passion that goes into crafting every bottle of Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil,” he added.See Also:Quality and Investment Are Key to Olive Oil’s Future, Boundary Bend Co-Founder Says
Ravetti said a wet and cold winter and spring delayed flowering and shortened the fruit development period.
“This situation, combined with an above average crop load, led to smaller flesh-to-pit ratios and greener than normal fruit that provided our oils with firm and balanced bitterness and pungency, matching overarching green, grassy and herbal notes,” he said.
Cape Schanck Olive Estate from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, also in Victoria, earned two Gold Awards for its medium-intensity Picholine and Picual oils.
Stephen Tham, who co-owns the estate with his wife Sui, told Olive Oil Times he was elated that their oils are still meeting the standards and palates of the judges.
“We have had a great run so far with the medal count since we entered our first NYIOOC competition in 2016, and the pressure is on trying to maintain this momentum,” Tham said. “Personally, it’s a gentle pat on the proverbial back that we are doing okay from the care of the trees to the processing of the olives,” he added. “Commercially, it does help us with brand recognition. It gives us ‘street cred’ as a credible olive oil producer and validates the quality of our oils.”See Also:At Cape Schanck Olive Estate, Weekend Getaway Grows Into Lauded Brand
Cape Schanck’s recent harvest that yielded their award-winning oils was chilly and damp, Tham said.
“In the five-week period prior to harvest, we thought our olives would never mature,” he said. “We had to hold on from the harvest as long as we could and thought our oils would be too ‘green,’ But surprisingly, it has turned out quite balanced, with a nice mid-palate and finish,” he said.
“As they say, a long ripening period may give better quality oils,” he said. “But I hope we never encounter such inclement weather again.”
Meanwhile, another producer from Victoria, Grassy Spur Olives, earned two Gold Awards for its Frantoio and Picual monovarietals.
“It is satisfying to know that our olive oil is recognized as being of a high quality and appreciated by the judges,” Peter Wright, the co-owner of Grassy Spur Olives, told Olive Oil Times.
“The recognition of these awards is an acknowledgment of the quality of produce that we grow in South Gippsland and how it can attract all sorts of foodies to the evergreen rolling hills of our region,” Peter Wright, the co-owner of Grassy Spur Olives, told Olive Oil Times.
“In our region, many of the groves produce high-quality extra virgin olive oil, so we feel we are part of a privileged group of growers who help each other rather than stand out,” he added.
Across the Tasman Sea, another producer from Oceania, Loopline Olives from the Wairarapa region on the North Island of New Zealand, won a Silver Award for its medium-intensity Picual.
“We are delighted to have achieved a standard this year worthy of international recognition, particularly as the 2023 harvest was such a poor one,” owner Stephen Howard Davies told Olive Oil Times. “New Zealand has had an exceptionally wet summer and autumn, which gave us trees laden with fruit but a very poor yield and very mild oil compared to Loopline’s usual intense oil.”See Also:Former Fighter Pilot Steers Loopline Olives to the World Stage
“Despite the low yield, we stuck to our principles of striving for quality over quantity,” Davies said. “A significant factor in that quality is pressing the fruit within six hours of harvesting.”
Emma Glover, Olives New Zealand’s executive officer, extended her congratulations. “After a challenging wet season, it is exciting to see Loopline Olives pick up a well-deserved award in the Southern Hemisphere edition of the NYIOOC,” she said.