Sicilian and Sardinian Producers Attribute Award-Winning Quality to Innovation, Sustainability

Producers on Sicily and Sardinia overcame drought and macroeconomic challenges to craft some of this year's best extra virgin olive oils.

The drought that affected all of Italy did not spare the two regions, which, due to the effects of an ‘off-year’ suffered a slight decrease in production volumes.

Yet the insular farmers maintained high-quality standards, recognized by the panel of judges at the world’s largest olive oil quality competition.

Pasquale Manca and his San Giuliano extra virgin olive oil brands Fruttato and L’Originale, which won two Gold prizes, and Monocultivar Bosana, Organic, and Primér, which won Silver Awards, earned Sardinia five prizes.

"We are glad to receive these recognitions, especially since they pay off our recent mill investments," he told Olive Oil Times. "We installed an ultrasound system on two of our four production lines in November after the last harvest."

New areas, especially abandoned pastures, are being invested in."Since sheep grazed on these plots for centuries, they are rich in nitrogen," Manca explained. "We are acquiring new properties of this kind, where we will plant new olive trees in the coming years."

Now, Domenico Manca manages about 150,000 trees and plans to double this total in three or four years and double it again in 10 years, with the goal to reach 1,000 hectares.

Located in northwestern Sardinia, in the vast plain of Nurra, his groves are arranged according to different planting patterns, from traditional to super-high-density, including the mainly native Sardinian varieties of Bosana, Nera di Oliena and Semidana.