Another Record Year Suggests a Trend in Brazil, Producers Say

Fourteen producers from Brazil’s largest producing regions combined to earn a record-high tally at the 2022 World Olive Oil Competition.

Photo: Azeite Pedregais
By Daniel Dawson
Jun. 27, 2022 15:50 UTC
Photo: Azeite Pedregais

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

For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, Brazilian pro­duc­ers enjoyed a record year at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Nine pro­duc­ers from the south­east­ern state of Rio Grande do Sol, four from the moun­tain­ous south-cen­tral state of Minas Gerais and one from neigh­bor­ing São Paulo com­bined to win 30 awards at the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion.

Olive oil pro­duc­tion in Brazil is some­thing new and win­ning these awards shows our poten­tial to pro­duce qual­ity olive oil.- Paula Trevisan, owner, Origen Trevisan

The 14 pro­duc­ers set records for the num­ber of Gold Awards (26), total awards and entries (35) at the world com­pe­ti­tion.

The amount of Brazilians send­ing their oils to the con­test just shows how impor­tant it is as a mar­ket­ing tool for cus­tomers,” Rafael Marchetti, the chief exec­u­tive of Prosperato, which earned four Gold Awards, told Olive Oil Times. They strongly believe in these results as a sign of the real qual­ity of the olive oil.”

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Brazil

Sandro Marques, the author of a com­pre­hen­sive guide­book to Brazilian olive oils, cited three rea­sons to explain the country’s accel­er­at­ing suc­cess in the World Competition.

He believes an increas­ing knowl­edge of grove man­age­ment, a higher level of exper­tise among millers and more pro­fes­sional olive grow­ers (as opposed to farm­ers who grow olives as a side crop) have fueled Brazil’s rise in New York.

Indeed, since Prosperato won the country’s first NYIOOC acco­lade in 2017, the num­ber of awards earned by Brazilian pro­duc­ers has increased each year, with the excep­tion of 2020, when a mas­sive drought in Rio Grande do Sul severely impacted the har­vest.


Rafael Marchetti

The dri­ving force behind Brazil’s largest olive oil pro­ducer, Marchetti, attrib­uted Prosperato’s sus­tained suc­cess at the NYIOOC to his decade of expe­ri­ence pro­duc­ing olive oil and con­sis­tently under­tak­ing an early har­vest.

If we did­n’t do it this way, we could­n’t com­pete with the olive oils at the super­mar­kets because they are much cheaper, and we know that our prod­ucts are much more expen­sive,” he said. So we had to do it dif­fer­ently, espe­cially because our pro­duc­tion is so small and we could­n’t com­pete in quan­tity.”

As a result, qual­ity is every­thing for Marchetti, who pushes his employ­ees to har­vest as quickly as pos­si­ble while only select­ing the best olives to trans­form.

I am the miller, so I always try to push peo­ple in our har­vest to get the best fruit pos­si­ble, as fast as they can,” Marchetti added.

Situated almost evenly between Prosperato’s two olive groves, the pro­duc­ers behind Azeite Pedregais cel­e­brated win­ning two Gold Awards in their first com­mer­cial har­vest.


Photo: Azeite Pedregais

Despite the drought that we had in our state and region, we saw that the qual­ity of the fruit was very good,” co-owner Flavo Fernandes told Olive Oil Times. On the first day of har­vest­ing the Arbequina and extract­ing it, we tasted very dis­tinct olive oil, which was con­firmed in the fol­low­ing weeks with the Picual.”

After Fernandes and his team tasted the two mono­va­ri­etals, they knew they had some­thing spe­cial and wanted to know how they com­pared to the world’s best.

It seemed a bit illog­i­cal to some peo­ple, and we were told that we did­n’t stand a chance as we were just start­ing in this world of extra vir­gin olive oil,” he said. But to the joy of our fam­ily, we won two Gold Awards: a joy and recog­ni­tion of the work.”


Fernandes attrib­uted his suc­cess to focus­ing on grow­ing and har­vest­ing high-qual­ity olives at the pre­cise right moment to trans­form into oil instead of pro­duc­ing large quan­ti­ties of the fruit.

The fruits were picked at their best time to bal­ance the fruiti­ness, spici­ness and bit­ter­ness,” he said. We waited for this moment for a few weeks – patience is also part of olive oil pro­duc­tion.”


Photo: Azeite Pedregais

Despite this ini­tial suc­cess, Fernandes wor­ries that Rio Grande do Sol is becom­ing increas­ingly dry and irri­gat­ing his olive groves will be nec­es­sary.

We had a pro­longed drought, which started in the spring of 2021, around September, and lasted until early March,” he said. We had to irri­gate the plan­ta­tion, and we suf­fered from the risk of loss of pro­duc­tion due to pro­longed excess heat.”

Longer peri­ods of drought are rou­tine, and we need to pre­pare bet­ter for that,” Fernandes added. Accumulating water from the rainy sea­son is the way to go. Irrigation should also be part of our rou­tine, as we have seen in the last two years.”

With groves in Rio Grande do Sol and 1,100 kilo­me­ters north­east in Santo Antônio do Pinhal, São Paulo, Bia Pereira, the co-owner of Azeite Sabia, agreed that cli­mate change was also a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for her com­pany.


Bia Pereira and Bob Vieira da Costa

It’s a big chal­lenge. During the year, we face many cli­mate prob­lems: wind, rain and the dry sea­son,” she told Olive Oil Times. The dif­fi­cul­ties [in both] are at dif­fer­ent but sim­i­lar lev­els. In São Paulo, we have humid­ity. In the south, the dry sea­son is good for the olives but also comes with storms.”

Despite these chal­lenges, Azeite Sabia earned a Gold Award for a medium blend at the 2022 NYIOOC. Perreira said the care they take dur­ing each har­vest and how they mill the olives is part of what sets them apart from oth­ers.

During the har­vest, the chal­lenge is to be quick and not let the olives ripen too much,” she said. Then, we use all our knowl­edge in the mill to extract a fruity oil with bal­anced bit­ter­ness and spici­ness.”

Perreira added that win­ning awards at two con­sec­u­tive World Competitions assures con­sumers that their prod­uct is on par with the best.

We are very proud of our oil. The prize is a con­fir­ma­tion that we are mak­ing an excel­lent prod­uct,” she said. Consumers are very impressed with prizes, and we sell more.”

Situated just over the bor­der of São Paulo, in Minas Gerais, the pro­duc­ers behind Origen Trevisan cel­e­brated their first NYIOOC suc­cess in the first year of pro­duc­tion.


Photo: Origen Trevisan

As it was our first pro­duc­tion, we had the chal­lenge of enter­ing the mar­ket. Winning the award opens new doors for our brand,” owner Paula Trevisan told Olive Oil Times. We have gained spe­cial atten­tion for our olive oil and the trust of our con­sumer mar­ket.”

The com­pany earned a Gold Award for a medium blend at the com­pe­ti­tion.

Trevisan attrib­uted her suc­cess to the alti­tude and vol­canic soils of the Serra da Mantiqueira and her team’s care­ful atten­tion to detail in the groves and milling process.

This was our first har­vest of olives since plant­ing, so the whole process was new. In addi­tion, it was the first extrac­tion of our oil,” she said.

One of the chal­lenges we faced was to be able to extract on the same day of har­vest, so we had to have good logis­tics so that the har­vest up to that day could be taken in the short­est time pos­si­ble to the farm where the extrac­tion was car­ried out,” Trevisan added.

She con­cluded that win­ning these awards will con­tinue to spur the fledg­ling Brazilian olive oil pro­duc­tion sec­tor to increase the quan­tity and improve qual­ity.

Olive oil pro­duc­tion in Brazil is some­thing new and win­ning these awards shows our poten­tial to pro­duce qual­ity olive oil,” Trevisan said. This is an incen­tive for pro­duc­ers to increase pro­duc­tion and new ones to enter the olive grow­ing busi­ness.”

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