Hard Work Yields World-Class Quality in Brazil

Estância das Oliveiras earned seven Gold Awards at the 2023 NYIOOC, the most in a single year for any Brazilian producer.
(Photo: Estância das Oliveiras)
By Lisa Anderson
Dec. 5, 2023 16:07 UTC

Estância das Oliveiras set a new record at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, becom­ing the first Brazilian pro­ducer to win seven Gold Awards in a sin­gle edi­tion of the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity con­test.

Our objec­tive when we began par­tic­i­pat­ing in global com­pe­ti­tions was never to accu­mu­late awards, but rather to put the extra vir­gin olive oil that we pro­duce with so much care, ded­i­ca­tion and pas­sion to the test,” Rafael Goelzer, the company’s direc­tor of mar­ket rela­tions, told Olive Oil Times.

We had to dis­cover all of this with a lot of study, research and trial and error.- Rafael Goelzer, mar­ket rela­tions direc­tor, Estância das Oliveiras

“[Winning these awards] demon­strates and attests to the world-class qual­ity of our olive oils, as well as show­ing us that we are on the right path,” he added.

The com­pany enters one inter­na­tional olive oil qual­ity con­test held on each con­ti­nent annu­ally to see how it stacks up against the global com­pe­ti­tion.

See Also:Producer Profiles

As a result, vis­i­bil­ity through the media increases expo­nen­tially, and com­mer­cial demand fol­lows the same pace, adding great brand and com­mer­cial results,” Goelzer said.

Located in Rio Grande do Sol, the south­ern Brazilian state home to the vast major­ity of the country’s olive oil pro­duc­tion, Estância das Oliveiras is a fam­ily busi­ness.

Goelzer’s par­ents, Lucidio and Sonia, co-founded the com­pany. Meanwhile, his brother, André, is the mas­ter miller and his other brother, Lucas, is the company’s finan­cial direc­tor.


Lucidio Goelzer co-founded Estância das Oliveiras with his wife, Sonia.

Goelzer said Estância das Oliveiras has pro­duced extra vir­gin olive oil com­mer­cially for the past five years.

The com­pany was born from his father’s dream to pro­duce extra vir­gin olive oil for his family’s con­sump­tion.

In 2004, he started study­ing olive cul­ti­va­tion and research­ing the poten­tial of Viamão, a munic­i­pal­ity in east­ern Rio Grande do Sul, close to the Atlantic coast­line.

At the time, the region was deemed unsuit­able for olive farm­ing, but his research and the results of his ini­tial olive-grow­ing ven­ture proved the oppo­site. The region soon stood out for the com­plex­ity of its oils,” Goelzer said.

Since first plant­ing in 2004, Estância das Oliveiras has steadily increased its annual olive oil yields, inspir­ing the fam­ily to jump from hobby grow­ers to com­mer­cial pro­duc­ers.

It was­n’t easy at all,” Goelzer said. We were one of the first olive oil-pro­duc­ing resorts in Brazil.”

At that stage, no research was avail­able on grove main­te­nance, prun­ing or much else related to olive oil in Brazil. We had to dis­cover all of this with a lot of study, research and trial and error,” Goelzer said.

Our first har­vest was 11 years after the first plant­ing,” he said. We har­vested 35 kilo­grams and pro­duced 3.5 liters of olive oil. It’s work that requires a lot of resilience, inno­va­tion, learn­ing and, above all, pas­sion.”

Goelzer attrib­uted this year’s extra­or­di­nary suc­cess at the NYIOOC to the pas­sion of his fam­ily and all the other peo­ple who work in the groves and mill.


He believes the key to improv­ing the sec­tor is to kin­dle this pas­sion in Brazilian con­sumers, whose appetite for extra vir­gin olive oil is grow­ing but may not real­ize it is pro­duced locally.

We real­ized that the Brazilian con­sumer had lit­tle infor­ma­tion on choos­ing the best olive oil,” Goelzer said. So almost three years ago, we opened the estân­cia for oleo­tourism, focus­ing on train­ing con­sumers on choos­ing olive oil.”


Goelzer believes Brazilian producers can promote local olive oil culture to domestic consumers.

We cur­rently receive thou­sands of vis­i­tors every year, leav­ing a legacy of edu­ca­tion for the con­scious con­sump­tion of olive oil,” he added.

Along with con­sumer edu­ca­tion, Goelzer said Brazilian pro­duc­ers face many chal­lenges, many of which stem from the high costs of pro­duc­ing extra vir­gin olive oil.

When we are talk­ing about world-class olive oils, we can­not pro­duce them with­out high invest­ment and prac­ti­cally arti­sanal tree-by-tree work,” he said. This increases pro­duc­tion costs con­sid­er­ably.”

High taxes in Brazil also have a deci­sive impact on the pres­sure of these costs,” Goelzer added. The gov­ern­ment could give the atten­tion it deserves to this new eco­nomic seg­ment and, with incen­tives, enhance its expan­sion.”

To meet these chal­lenges, Goelzer said Brazil needs to pro­duce more olive oil domes­ti­cally and work with the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to fight fraud.


Brazil needs to produce more extra virgin olive oil at home to meet rising demand and fight fraud, according to Goelzer.

We have the expan­sion of national pro­duc­tion; today, Brazilian olive oils meet less than 5 per­cent of the national demand,” he said. In the long term, the chal­lenge is to main­tain the qual­ity of the national prod­uct.”

Despite the chal­lenges, Goelzer said Rio Grande do Sul has many advan­tages for pro­duc­ers. We have a unique ter­roir that brings com­plex­ity to our oils,” he said.

Goelzer added that the com­bi­na­tion of the team’s hard work and com­plete con­trol of the pro­duc­tion process has also played a sig­nif­i­cant role in their suc­cess.

This hard work begins with soil prepa­ra­tion before plant­ing any trees. When the time comes, the har­vest is done by hand to pre­vent the fruit from being dam­aged. The time between har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing is only two to three hours, bring­ing unpar­al­leled fresh­ness to all our oils,” Goelzer said.

He added that the entire fam­ily is obsessed with olive oil; his father and brother con­stantly research new milling and agri­cul­tural prac­tices, apply­ing every­thing they learn to the groves and mill.

Without a team of peo­ple who love what they do and are ded­i­cated to doing their best, we would never have achieved such spec­tac­u­lar results,” Goelzer said. All this allows Estância das Oliveiras to achieve so much recog­ni­tion and to pro­duce one of the best olive oils in the world.”


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