`Three Veterans of the Croatian War of Independence Craft Award-Winning Olive Oils - Olive Oil Times

Three Veterans of the Croatian War of Independence Craft Award-Winning Olive Oils

By Nedjeljko Jusup
May. 6, 2024 14:20 UTC

As the old say­ing goes, noth­ing suc­ceeds like suc­cess,” and the pro­duc­ers behind Oleum Maris have achieved this by win­ning four Gold Awards at the 2024 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

With olive groves on the Istrian penin­sula in north­west­ern Croatia, the pro­duc­ers have won 16 World Competition awards since 2019. Yes, and all Gold,” said Velimir Jurić, one of Oleum Maris’s three founders.

Indigenous vari­eties, inte­grated cul­ti­va­tion, timely har­vest­ing, fast pro­cess­ing and care­ful stor­age are the keys to the first-class qual­ity of our extra vir­gin olive oil.- Velimir Jurić, co-founder, Oleum Maris

The com­pany won its first Gold Award for an Istrian Bjelica, fol­lowed by three more awards for mono­va­ri­etals in 2020 and four awards in 2022, 2023 and now 2024 for autochtho­nous Istrian vari­eties: Istrian Bjelica, Rozinjola, Vodnjanska buža and Žižolera.


Oleum Maris’ six monovarietals

The NYIOOC awards are the Oscars for olive grow­ing,” Jurić said. They mean a lot to us because they are the best con­fir­ma­tion of our ded­i­ca­tion to the qual­ity of our olive oil.”

See Also:Producer Profiles

Oleum Maris was founded in 2009 by Jurić, Martin Milas and Mladen Kocijančić, all vet­er­ans of the Croatian War of Independence from Vodnjan. They started from scratch after receiv­ing a state con­ces­sion for 80 hectares of burned land.

Pines grew there, and fires broke out almost every year,” Jurić said, who, along with his part­ners, land­scaped the area and planted 15,000 olive trees on 55 hectares, mainly indige­nous vari­eties of Buža, Istrian Bjelica, Rosignola, Žižolera and Buža.


Velimir Jurić, one of the founders of Oleum Maris

They also have planted Leccino and Pendolino olive trees, native to Italy, which are excel­lent pol­li­na­tors for the afore­men­tioned Istrian vari­eties.

Maslinik is located on the main road between Pula, the largest city of Istria, and Vodnjan, an almost ideal loca­tion for grow­ing olives.

The ter­rain is rugged, south-fac­ing and sunny at an alti­tude of about 85 meters,” Jurić said. Our olive groves offer a unique view of the Brijuna Islands, the dis­tinc­tive Vodnjan bell tower and the ancient, 3,000-year-old city of Pula.”

In the mean­time, the well-known entre­pre­neur Vlado Ćorluka from Zagreb, the Croatian cap­i­tal, joined the founders.

With invest­ment in new equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy, they achieved high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­tion and cre­ated the Oio Vivo brand, which trans­lates to liv­ing oil” or oil of life.”

Indigenous vari­eties, inte­grated cul­ti­va­tion, timely har­vest­ing, fast pro­cess­ing and care­ful stor­age are the keys to the first-class qual­ity of our extra vir­gin olive oil,” Jurić said.

They have no prob­lem sell­ing the olive oil at a mod­ern shop and tast­ing room nearby Galižana. The oil is also sold at a shop and bar in the cen­ter of Zagreb and to buy­ers across Europe online. The founders also took advan­tage of Istria’s rapidly grow­ing olive oil tourism.

We have guests from all over the world, includ­ing the United States,” Jurić said with­out hid­ing his sat­is­fac­tion.


Oleum Maris is one of the most successful olive growing companies in Istria.

In addi­tion to olive grove tours, they offer three types of tast­ings: oil tast­ing with bread, cheese and pro­sciutto or with other Istrian del­i­ca­cies. Ice cream with Istrian bjel­ica is served for dessert.

Visits to the olive grove, from which there is a view of the sea and Brijuni National Park, also include rides in an old, but for this occa­sion mod­i­fied, Land Rover Defender jeep, which is espe­cially attrac­tive to guests.


In the 2023/24 crop year, Oleum Maris pro­duced 50,000 liters of extra vir­gin olive oil, which is in line with its pro­duc­tion in most years. The har­vest was suc­cess­ful in every respect; the fruits were healthy, and the oil was excel­lent,” Jurić said.

Unlike most Istrian and Dalmatian pro­duc­ers, their work was not spoiled by bad weather or pests like the olive fruit fly.

We have 13 employ­ees who imple­ment all agrotech­ni­cal mea­sures in a timely man­ner,” Jurić said.

When the olive fruit fly appeared, the company’s agron­o­mists reacted quickly and neu­tral­ized the most seri­ous olive pest with min­i­mal and selec­tive insec­ti­cide use.


Groves of Oleum Maris

In addi­tion to timely pre­ven­tion, Oleum Marisa employ­ees started har­vest­ing olives at the right time.

We have the most mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, shak­ers and plat­forms that col­lect the fruit and remove the leaves so that it goes straight to the mill undam­aged and clean,” said Jurić, opti­mistic that the busi­ness can only go for­ward.

Along with tra­di­tion, ideal ter­roir and exten­sive knowl­edge of olive grow­ing, har­vest­ing, milling and olive oil stor­age, Jurić con­cluded that the NYIOOC awards are the best mar­ket­ing tool and serve as a rec­om­men­da­tion to cur­rent and future fans of Oio Vivo.


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