Portuguese Producers Reap Benefits of Record Harvest at World Competition

After entering their highest number of brands to the 2022 NYIOOC, Portuguese producers earned 35 of the industry's most coveted quality awards.

Photo: Viveiros Monterosa
By Lisa Anderson
Jun. 28, 2022 14:22 UTC
Photo: Viveiros Monterosa

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

Portuguese pro­duc­ers won 17 Gold and 18 Silver Awards at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition after pro­duc­ing a record-high yield of around 200 mil­lion liters of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year.

Mariana Matos, the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of Casa do Azeite, the Portuguese Olive Oil Association, said she was not sur­prised by the stel­lar results.

In recent years, Portuguese pro­duc­tion has increased by around 500 per­cent due to huge pub­lic and pri­vate invest­ment,” she told Olive Oil Times. More impor­tant than the increase in the quan­tity is the excel­lent qual­ity, with around 95 per­cent extra vir­gin olive oil cur­rently being pro­duced in the coun­try.”

Trás-os-Montes Prime from north­ern Portugal was awarded a Gold for its medium blend and two Silver Awards for its medium Cobrancosa blends.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Portugal

These awards are a recog­ni­tion for our work and a huge moti­va­tion to keep try­ing in each har­vest to pro­duce the best pos­si­ble extra vir­gin olive oils,” co-owner António Pavão said.

Pavão listed his family’s pas­sion, their native olive tree cul­ti­vars, the region’s ter­roir, the ded­i­ca­tion of their col­lab­o­ra­tors and the exper­tise of his brother — who makes the final blends — as fac­tors that set their prod­uct apart.

He said it was a chal­lenge dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest to main­tain the qual­ity lev­els of the pre­ced­ing ones. Most wor­ry­ing is the huge increase in pro­duc­tion and mate­r­ial costs,” Pavão said.


Photo: Trás-os-Montes Prime

Also, from Trás-os-Montes, Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira earned a Gold and Silver Award for its organic del­i­cate blends.

The company’s com­mer­cial direc­tor, Miguel Azevedo Remédio, said the awards were a great honor. It means that we’re on the right path in terms of what we want for our olive oils: always the best qual­ity,” he said.

We’re in the unique Douro Superior region tak­ing advan­tage of tak­ing good care of very old olive groves,” Remédio added.

The com­pany blends its oils, as they do with their wines, until they achieve the desired pro­files.

He said labor short­ages were a prob­lem dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest, and they expect the lack of rain­fall to impact the next crop, but they will be focus­ing on their milling process to main­tain their qual­ity.

Mercorural, another pro­ducer from Trás-os-Montes, took home a Gold Award for its medium organic blend.

The company’s mar­ket­ing man­ager, Eduardo Casas, said the award afforded its brand pres­tige and global vis­i­bil­ity. In addi­tion, he said the region’s ter­roir and unique cul­ti­vars set their oils apart.


For Mercorural, the 2021/22 har­vest was a suc­cess in terms of qual­ity and quan­tity, but they expect a lower yield this year.

Family-owned Quinta dos Olmais in the north of the coun­try earned a Silver Award for its organic medium-inten­sity Cobrancosa.


Photo: Quinta dos Olmais

The com­pa­ny’s co-owner, Julio Alves, said the only chal­lenge dur­ing their pre­vi­ous, record-break­ing har­vest was the usual lack of labor­ers. He also expressed con­cerns about the upcom­ing har­vest due to high tem­per­a­tures dur­ing the flow­er­ing sea­son and dry win­ter.

Segredos Do Côa from the country’s north­ern Duoro region earned a Silver for its organic medium blend.


Photo: Segredos Do Côa

Anibal Soares, the company’s chief exec­u­tive and pro­ducer, said the olives for their unfil­tered field blend are hand-picked from their cen­te­nary trees that grow in clay soils on high slopes, and their olives are har­vested early, before they fully ripen.

He added it was chal­leng­ing to find qual­i­fied work­ers dur­ing the har­vest sea­son. Winds and low rain­fall might pre­vent a high yield this fall, but that remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Esporão, in the country’s south­ern Alentejo region, received a Gold Award for its del­i­cate Cordovil and a Silver Award for its medium Cobrancosa blend.

Ana Carrilho, the company’s chief ole­ol­o­gist, said it was a tremen­dous honor” to receive the awards that ver­i­fied the qual­ity of their oils pro­duced from native Portuguese cul­ti­vars.

Our mis­sion is to make the finest prod­ucts that nature pro­vides in a respon­si­ble and inspir­ing way,” she said.

Carrilho said Esporão’s sus­tain­able extra vir­gin olive oils express the Alentejo region.

The 2021/22 har­vest was Esporão’s best, but Carrilho said she also fore­sees a dif­fi­cult har­vest ahead due to cur­rent weather con­di­tions.

From the Eastern Algarve region in the south, pro­ducer Viveiros Monterosa was awarded a Gold for its medium Cobrancosa and two Silvers for its del­i­cate Macanilha de Tavira and its del­i­cate blend.


Photo: Viveiros Monterosa

Viveiros Monterosa sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive António Duarte said he was delighted with the results and that the NYIOOC awards are impor­tant to pro­mote the brand.

The sus­tain­able com­pany uses tra­di­tional processes com­bined with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. We still work with a gran­ite stone press in con­junc­tion with more mod­ern machin­ery,” Duarte said.

He added that the company’s main chal­lenge dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest was to adapt their process to har­vest and process their large yield. He said they expect a lower yield but a high-qual­ity result next time.

Back in the Alentejo region, Monte Vale de Baio won a Silver Award for its del­i­cate organic Galega.


Photo: Monte Vale de Baio

It was a great honor for us to receive a Silver Award at the NYIOOC,” said Alan Andrew, the co-owner of Monte Vale de Baio. We have worked hard to use regen­er­a­tive organic prac­tices in our non-irri­gated Galega olive groves to pro­duce a high-qual­ity olive oil that is deli­cious and sus­tain­able.”

Andrew said the com­pany hopes to pro­mote the prac­tice of small-scale organic pro­duc­tion in Portugal.

We hope that the award will give us expo­sure to help con­sumers know we are in the mar­ket and invite them to visit our farm,” he said.

Andrew said the olive fly was a chal­lenge dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest, as always, and added that the com­pany expects a lower yield this year. It seems that after a very abun­dant year last year, this year the trees will take a lit­tle break,” he said.

Monte do Camelo, also from Portugal’s south, earned a Silver Award for its Tratturo de Fronteira brand, a del­i­cate Galega.


Photo: Monte do Camelo

It is a recog­ni­tion of our work,” said Ana Cardoso, the company’s co-owner, but above all, a suc­cess for our first olive oil, which makes us believe that we are on the right track.”

Cardoso said the small busi­ness focuses on qual­ity rather than quan­tity, being sure to extract oil within six hours of har­vest­ing the fuits.

Cardosa described the pre­vi­ous har­vest — Monte do Camelo’s first — as a new expe­ri­ence, with plenty of trial and error.

Nonetheless, we are focused on improv­ing our qual­ity regard­less of the quan­tity,” she said.


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