A Higher Calling for Award-Winning Producers in Italy

Committed to innovation and the environment, first-time NYIOCC winners know the future depends on the choices made today.

Fattoria di Triboli team
Jul. 9, 2021
By Ylenia Granitto
Fattoria di Triboli team

Recent News

Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers from 28 coun­tries won a record-high 790 awards at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

While many were repeat win­ners, plenty of first-time entrants were also rec­og­nized at the world’s most pres­ti­gious olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion.

Our goal is to obtain a good prod­uct but also make sure that the gen­er­a­tions of our chil­dren can ben­e­fit from our work and enjoy a healthy planet,- Carmen Bonafante, co-founder, Evo Sicily

For the new­com­ers to the NYIOOC, pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity olive oils is not sim­ply an end in itself. These award-win­ning farm­ers are com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment by pro­mot­ing bio­di­ver­sity and the care of the land.

They are socio-cul­tur­ally engaged and cre­ate net­works, look­ing into the future with­out los­ing sight of their roots and using tech­nol­ogy as a means to make the world a health­ier place.


More than just an agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, ours is a cul­tural and eth­i­cal project,” said Pietro Barachini, the co-founder of iOlive with Dario Gronchi, which earned a Silver Award at the NYIOOC. This recog­ni­tion con­firms we are head­ing in the right direc­tion.”

Barachini and Gronchi founded iOlive as a dig­i­tal trace­abil­ity project based on blockchain tech­nol­ogy that aims to guar­an­tee the ori­gin and qual­ity of extra vir­gin olive oil.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Italy

Italy is the coun­try with the largest num­ber of olive vari­eties, and we aim to pre­serve and expand this incred­i­ble bio­di­ver­sity,” added Barachini, who runs a his­toric nurs­ery in Pescia, in the province of Pistoia.

For years, the pro­duc­ers behind iOlive have been com­mit­ted to rais­ing aware­ness of the impor­tance of agri­cul­tural sus­tain­abil­ity and its cen­tral role in high-qual­ity olive oil pro­duc­tion. When Barachini met his future asso­ciate, the two imme­di­ately found com­mon ground.


Photo: Dario Gronchi and Pietro Barachini

We believe in the poten­tial of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to facil­i­tate the work of qual­ity pro­duc­ers,” said Gronchi, who comes from the renew­able energy sec­tor. And we think that qual­ity can­not be sep­a­rated from the envi­ron­ment care.”

His par­ents, Marcello and Brunella, sup­port the two entre­pre­neurs in tak­ing care of more than 1,500 olive trees in Bolgheri and another 500 in Gabbro, in the province of Livorno.

Recently, we added three hectares of land includ­ing an old mill, and there is a plan to plant another 1,200 olive trees,” Gronchi said.

As their trace­abil­ity project devel­oped, the cre­ators of iOlive started pro­duc­ing extra vir­gin olive oil with typ­i­cal Tuscan vari­eties – Moraiolo, Leccino, Razzo, Pendolino and Maurino – and their main goal is to expand pro­duc­tion with many oth­ers.

The preser­va­tion of bio­di­ver­sity is not only about the vari­eties we use to pro­duce extra vir­gin olive oils,” Barachini said. It implies the con­ser­va­tion of land­scape and the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the his­tory and tra­di­tions of a ter­ri­tory. Thus, pro­mot­ing bio­di­ver­sity involves our eth­i­cal and cul­tural pat­ri­mony.”

Slightly more than 700 kilo­me­ters south of Tuscany, the founders of Evo Sicily share a sim­i­lar view about the role of sus­tain­abil­ity and cul­tural preser­va­tion in olive oil pro­duc­tion.


Photo: Carmen Bonfante and Giusy Gambini

We are very happy for this recog­ni­tion from the panel of the NYIOOC,” Carmen Bonfante said after receiv­ing a Silver Award for Embrace. We have cho­sen our brand name for his uni­ver­sal sig­nif­i­cance, and, with this clear mes­sage of open­ness, we are ready to cross the Italian bor­ders.”

In Campobello di Mazara, in west­ern Sicily, about 1,000 olive trees, sev­eral of which are a cen­tury old, are spread over five hectares of land in the Archaeological Park of Selinunte.

The grove is located in the area of the Cave di Cusa – an ancient stone quarry that pro­vided mate­r­ial for the con­struc­tion of the Acropolis of the vil­lage – where Nocellara del Belice trees, flanked by some Biancolilla used as pol­li­na­tors, thrive and give life to the Sicilia PGI mono­va­ri­etal.

The award has been a won­der­ful sur­prise,” co-founder Giusy Gambini said. Our com­pany was formed recently, in 2019, and we imme­di­ately had to deal with the Covid-19 pan­demic, but we did not lose courage, and indeed, we gave our best to obtain a good prod­uct.”

Last year, the two entre­pre­neurs donated part of the pro­ceeds from sales of Embrace to the Civil Protection in sup­port of the national health struc­tures.

Along with hav­ing a pos­i­tive impact on the com­mu­nity, the pro­duc­ers behind Evo Sicily also do their best to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment.

We are aware that our work can have an impact on the envi­ron­ment,” Bonfante said. So it was nat­ural for us to focus on sus­tain­abil­ity, and recently we obtained the Friends of the Earth cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for the sus­tain­able method we apply through­out the entire pro­duc­tion chain, from har­vest­ing to pack­ag­ing.”

Our goal is to obtain a good prod­uct but also make sure that the gen­er­a­tions of our chil­dren can ben­e­fit from our work and enjoy a healthy planet,” she added.

Located just south of Tuscany in the region of Lazio, envi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion is also the focus of Alessandra Nicolai, who earned a Gold Award for her A1980.


Photo: Alessandra Nicolai

It was a great emo­tion to receive this recog­ni­tion, which allows us to com­mu­ni­cate our qual­ity at an inter­na­tional level,” said Nicolai, who just a few years ago took the reins of the fam­ily farm.

In Montefiascone, on the south­east­ern banks of Lake Bolsena, she man­ages an organic com­pany with the help of her hus­band, Marco Crisostomi.

My father, Valerio, who now sup­ports us in the man­age­ment of the grove, decided to con­vert to organic farm­ing 20 years ago,” she said. He had a far-sighted approach, and now I shared his vision of good agri­cul­tural prac­tices as well as respect for our land.”

Before becom­ing a farmer, Nicolai worked in an office, but one day felt the desire to go back to nature and ded­i­cate her­self to the olive trees planted by her grand­par­ents.

It was the best choice I could make,” she said. I live on the land where my crops grow, and I am the first con­sumer of my prod­ucts. So every day, I live the expe­ri­ence that healthy prod­ucts can only come from healthy land.”

Composed of 900 Leccino, Moraiolo, Frantoio, Caninese, and Pendolino trees, Nicolai’s grove is spread over five hectares, which retained the orig­i­nal exten­sive plant­ing pat­tern.

After the his­tor­i­cal frosts of the last cen­tury, this setup made it pos­si­ble to plant new trees, while main­tain­ing a dis­tance of six meters by six meters and eight meters by 10 meters between them.

At the heart of the orchard, a panoramic ter­race over­look­ing the lake is ded­i­cated to tast­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity.

Indeed, our goal is to spread the cul­ture of high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” Nicolai con­cluded.

In Impruneta, near Florence, Fattoria di Triboli was founded in 2018 by a group of pro­fes­sion­als with dif­fer­ent skills who have teamed up with the pur­pose is to con­tribute to a more respon­si­ble soci­ety.”


Photo: Fattoria di Triboli

The 15-hectare organ­i­cally-man­aged olive grove is the core of their 100-hectare prop­erty, which also includes a large wooded area and a lake.

This is a won­der­ful recog­ni­tion that pushes us to do even bet­ter,” Luigi Viscardi, the company’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, said after receiv­ing a Gold Award for a blend of Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino olives.

We wish to con­stantly improve our­selves and reach excel­lence in every aspect of our activ­ity,” he added.

This far-reach­ing approach is based on a strong com­mit­ment to research and sci­en­tific stud­ies and col­lab­o­ra­tions with insti­tu­tions.

Alongside the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, we have devel­oped a strate­gic plan to achieve envi­ron­men­tal, social and eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity for our farm,” Viscardi said.

He and his team pay atten­tion to the envi­ron­men­tal com­pat­i­bil­ity of the entire pro­duc­tion chain, start­ing from the adop­tion of regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture prac­tices, which are aimed at improv­ing the health and vital­ity of the soil, to the use of stain­less steel bot­tles which are com­pletely recy­clable.

We feel a great respon­si­bil­ity for our land, and we are focused on improv­ing its bio­di­ver­sity,” Viscardi said, empha­siz­ing that they are rein­tro­duc­ing autochtho­nous and rarely cul­ti­vated olives, such as the Madonna dell’Impruneta vari­ety.

The clay soils in the hilly Tuscan region allow for the ideal devel­op­ment of 4,800 olive trees, of which 1,100 were planted over the past two years.

With the goal to make high qual­ity, we are aim­ing to add land and expand our pro­duc­tion with native Tuscan olive vari­eties,” Viscardi said. This is a demand­ing job, but it gives us great sat­is­fac­tion that pushes us to con­tinue with a con­stant focus on our sus­tain­abil­ity goals.”


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