Africa / Middle East
Part of our continuing coverage of the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
The results of the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition were received enthusiastically by South African olive oil producers, who yet again saw their brands on the Official Index of the World’s Best Olive Oils.
It gives us the ability to measure ourselves against other quality producers and reaffirms that South Africa can compete on the world stage.
“We are delighted to win a Gold Award at NYIOOC,” said Brenda Wilkinson, who co-owns Rio Largo in the Scherpenheuwel Valley with her husband, Nick. The pair earned a Gold Award for their medium blend.
Overall, South Africa received four awards at this year’s NYIOOC, two Golds and two Silvers.See more: The Best South African Olive Oils
“It also gives us the ability to measure ourselves against other quality producers and reaffirms that South Africa can compete on the world stage.”
“We really needed it this year,” she added. “It is such fabulous exposure, but also more than that. It is a pat on the back for Nick for his passion and hard work. It has been tough going after the drought.”
Wilkinson said the key factors in Rio Largo’s success were paying attention to detail in both the groves and the mill; handpicking all of the olives and processing them on the same day; selecting the olives at their optimal ripeness, and allowing no leeway regarding hygiene.
Additional factors in the pair’s success were their dedicated staff members and irrigation system, which was critical to sustaining their grove in its semi-desert microclimate.
Philip King, general manager of Mardouw Olive Estate, which is situated at the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains in the country’s Western Cape, said they were very happy with winning a Silver Award for their medium blend.
“It once again shows that Mardouw is consistent in producing world-class extra virgin olive oils,” King said.
He attributed the win to the fact that their olives are handpicked and that the oil was extracted from the best cultivars on the same day. King added that the region’s Mediterranean climate also helped, providing the perfect conditions for olive cultivation.
SA Olive manager Karien Bezuidenhout said the high quality of South African olive oil is a reflection of the industry’s resilience and ability to adapt and innovate.