Greek Producers Enjoy Another Triumphant Showing in World Competition

Despite a challenging harvest season, producers, farmers and bottlers from across Greece combined to earn a total of 79 awards at the 2022 NYIOOC.

Harvesting olives at Ootopia
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Jun. 17, 2022 14:30 UTC
Harvesting olives at Ootopia

Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Entrants from Greece rejoiced in their sec­ond-best per­for­mance in the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, win­ning an impres­sive 79 awards (45 Gold and 34 Silver) from 142 entries.

In the pre­vi­ous edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion, Greeks earned a record-high haul of 99 awards.

Our quest for a dis­tinc­tive olive oil made us recon­sider and rede­fine every­thing we knew about olive grow­ing and olive oil pro­duc­tion.- Maria Sgourou, co-owner, Skoutari

Olive oil pro­duc­ers, bot­tlers and exporters from across the coun­try exceeded expec­ta­tions in a har­vest sea­son bur­dened with weather extremes, high pro­duc­tion costs and lower than usual yields in sev­eral olive oil-pro­duc­ing ter­ri­to­ries.

The ini­tial pro­jec­tions of a reduced yield for the whole coun­try were ver­i­fied with a total of 225,000 tons of olive oil pro­duced in the 2021/22 crop year, down by 50,000 tons from the 2020/21 pro­duc­tion total.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Greece

Even more, Greece was among the Mediterranean coun­tries most severely hit by wild­fires in August, suf­fer­ing sub­stan­tial losses in for­est and agri­cul­tural cap­i­tal.

Along with the hottest sum­mer in decades which took its toll on the 2020/21 olive oil crop, the wild­fires added another layer of hard­ship for a sub­stan­tial yield to Greek pro­duc­ers.

Most impacted were those sit­u­ated in west­ern Peloponnese near Ancient Olympia and in north­ern Evia, where thou­sands of olive trees were dam­aged or turned to ashes by the blazes.

Greek pro­duc­ers mea­sured up to the require­ments win­ning mul­ti­ple awards at NYIOOC, reaf­firm­ing the stature of the country’s olive oil sec­tor, which accounts for almost 10 per­cent of the total value of the national agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion com­pared to 1 per­cent in other European olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, as of 2018.

It has been a dif­fi­cult har­vest­ing sea­son,” Konstantinos Chantzopoulos, the dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager at Olix Oil, told Olive Oil Times.


Photo: Olix Oil

The adverse weather, the pro­longed drought and the wild­fires have all left their mark on the olive oil pro­duc­tion in Greece, and the unpro­pi­tious cir­cum­stances for the sec­tor have been inten­si­fied by the pan­demic after­math and the ongo­ing war [in Ukraine],” he added.

However, a 100-per­cent suc­cess rate and three Gold Awards gave Olix Oil an excel­lent rea­son to cel­e­brate a great show­ing at NYIOOC this year.

We are grate­ful and extremely sat­is­fied with the results because each bot­tle of liq­uid gold’ we pro­duce requires a lot of effort and pas­sion for the gen­er­ous Greek land,” Chantzopoulos said. It is the per­fect reward for our hard work and a moti­va­tion to keep pro­duc­ing prod­ucts of pre­mium qual­ity, espe­cially in the hard times we live in.”

The pro­ducer from Laconia was awarded for its Nate Premium, Koroneiki Premium and Ladelia Premium mono­va­ri­etal extra vir­gin olive oils, all made from a medium Koroneiki.

Olix Oil has evolved into an inter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion always striv­ing to meet the needs of con­sumers world­wide, aspir­ing to make them know the Greek fla­vors… and be able to enjoy the ben­e­fits of the best diet in the world; the Mediterranean diet.”

Cretan pro­duc­ers, from one side of the island to the other, enjoyed another lus­trous appear­ance at the 2022 NYIOOC, account­ing for 15 awards from the country’s 79 awards.

Skoutari from Lasithi in east­ern Crete is start­ing to form a vague, for the time being, win­ning streak in the com­pe­ti­tion, earn­ing a Gold Award for its name­sake mono­va­ri­etal from Koroneiki for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.


Photo: Skoutari

We are extremely happy that our extra vir­gin olive oil was awarded for the sec­ond time in a row in the most pres­ti­gious and demand­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the world,” co-owner Maria Sgourou told Olive Oil Times.

The com­pany has been in the olive oil busi­ness since 2000 after tak­ing over the fam­ily olive groves located between the vil­lages of Kritsas and Kavousi. Its ini­tial goal was to pro­duce an olive oil unique for its fla­vor and healthy attrib­utes.


Our quest for a dis­tinc­tive olive oil made us recon­sider and rede­fine every­thing we knew about olive grow­ing and olive oil pro­duc­tion,” Sgourou said. Since 2020, when our olive oil was bot­tled for the first time, every award we receive is a ver­i­fi­ca­tion of our choices, and it pro­pels us for­ward.”

Skoutari is a high-phe­no­lic extra vir­gin olive oil bear­ing a health claim under the require­ments of the E.U. reg­u­la­tion 432/2012.

Another Gold Award went to Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling from the west­ern Cretan province of Chania, an area that has con­stantly been pro­duc­ing NYIOOC win­ners over the years.


Photo: Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling

The pro­ducer was awarded for its Pamako Mountain Organic Blend, made from the Koroneiki and Tsounati vari­eties.

An estab­lished NYIOOC com­peti­tor already in its sixth year in the com­pe­ti­tion, the com­pany has received mul­ti­ple awards for its mono­va­ri­etal and blended extra vir­gin olive oils.

We are excited to win again at NYIOOC, and it is always a joy to receive a Gold Award in such a pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion,” owner Eftychios Androulakis said. We are always improv­ing, and we are cur­rently ahead of an expan­sion of our facil­i­ties and human cap­i­tal while we remain focused on qual­ity.”

Androulakis also antic­i­pated a boun­ti­ful har­vest in the region of Chania in the next crop year. He said that the flow­er­ing of the olive trees con­tin­ues with­out sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems so far, and the rainy win­ter of 2021/22 has filled the area’s nat­ural sub­ter­ranean reser­voirs, cre­at­ing the proper under­lay for the trees to thrive.

Apart from return­ing com­peti­tors, first-time entrants from Greece were also crowned at the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity con­test.

The Peloponnesian Ootopia was suc­cess­ful in its first-ever par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­pe­ti­tion receiv­ing awards for all three of its entries.


Photo: Ootopia

The com­pany won two Gold Awards for its name­sake Manaki mono­va­ri­etal and blend from Manaki and Koroneiki and a Silver Award for the organic Single Estate Iliokastro from Koroneiki.

“[We are] so, so proud,” said John Anairousis, the sales man­ager of Ootopia, after see­ing the company’s vision to cre­ate a world-class estate able to pro­duce excep­tional olive oils get­ting on track.

It was our first time in the pres­ti­gious NYIOOC com­pe­ti­tion, and we won two Gold and one Silver Award,” Anairousis added. Ootopia leads the sta­tis­tics since it is one of the few Greek brands to win three awards with equal entries.”

Achieving excel­lence was no easy task for Ootopia this sea­son, adjust­ing to the chal­lenges the erratic weather pre­sented dur­ing har­vest.

The weather was hot and windy in our region,” Anairousis said. We decided to har­vest in two dif­fer­ent time­frames in the day, early in the morn­ing and late in the after­noon, to avoid high tem­per­a­tures. This tac­tic offered us the cru­cial advan­tage of deliv­er­ing our hand­picked olives quickly and at the right tem­per­a­ture to the mill.”

Ootopia has built its pri­vately-owned olive oil mill close to its olive groves of 3,500 olive trees in Ermioni in north­east Peloponnese, reduc­ing the time between har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing of the olives for opti­mum results.

Olive trees of Italian and Spanish vari­eties also spring up in the company’s groves among trees of the Koroneiki vari­ety, sup­port­ing the company’s motto of being extra vir­gin olive oil per­fec­tion­ists’ than extra vir­gin olive oil nation­al­ists.’

The results [at the NYIOOC] jus­ti­fied our strat­egy,” Anairousis con­cluded, burst­ing with excite­ment. We are so proud of our prod­uct, but more so of our peo­ple, our ded­i­ca­tion, our vision.”

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