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Australia and New Zealand Shine at International Olive Oil Competition

Apr 26, 2013 9:23 AM EDT
Julie Butler

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Australia and New Zealand punched above their weight at the 2013 New York International Olive Oil Competition last week. Though their pro­duc­tion is small com­pared with other coun­tries they together claimed four Best of Class, five Gold and two Silver awards.

From four entries, Cobram Estate, Australia’s largest olive oil pro­ducer, won two Best of Class Awards, the only pro­ducer to do so apart from Italy’s Frantoio Franci, as well as two Gold.

And Rylstone Australian Olive Oil tied with the same Italian com­pany with a score of 9.60 out of 10 in the robust blend cat­e­gory — the sec­ond high­est score in the whole com­pe­ti­tion — net­ting it a Best of Class to add to its two Gold awards.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s Mill Bay took Best in Class with its robust J5 olive oil, a cul­ti­var found only in the far north of that coun­try.

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Australia’s Forest Edge Farm received a Gold award for its fran­toio extra vir­gin, and Alto Olives won sil­ver with its Alto Vividus mono­va­ri­etal, as did Camilo Enterprises with Max’s Blend.

Australia’s medal share impres­sive”

From a final field of more than 650 extra vir­gin olive oils from 22 coun­tries, a total of 261 awards were made in the com­pe­ti­tion, of which Italy won the most Best of Class prizes, eight, but Australia was next with three, a result com­pe­ti­tion orga­nizer and Olive Oil Times pub­lisher Curtis Cord described as a remark­able accom­plish­ment.”


Rylstone Olive Oil

According to IOC fig­ures, Australia pro­duced just 19,000 tons of olive oil in the 2010/11 sea­son, com­pared to 450,000 tons for Italy and 1.6 mil­lion tons for world leader Spain.

Consumers now link­ing qual­ity to health ben­e­fits

Cobram Estate, based in the Australian state of Victoria, accounts for about half of the country’s annual pro­duc­tion and exec­u­tive chair­man Rob McGavin told Olive Oil Times the awards reflected absolute focus on the busi­ness of pro­duc­ing great qual­ity extra vir­gin.”

It’s not a fluke that we’re pro­duc­ing first class olive oil here,” he said. We’re pro­duc­ing great qual­ity extra vir­gin nat­u­rally because high labor costs have forced us into mech­a­niza­tion.”

We’ve got a focus on really clean fruit and pro­cess­ing it in a very short period of time so that you’re giv­ing it every chance to shine.” About 95 per­cent of the company’s pro­duc­tion is extra vir­gin grade, he said.

We’re doing it in vol­ume so some of the blends that we’ve won gold medals on, we’ve got mil­lions of liters of, not just a tiny amount.”

After two chal­leng­ing years due to unsea­sonal wet sum­mers, the olive fruit had loved the return to a tra­di­tional hot, dry one, he said.

People are start­ing to real­ize the link between olive oil qual­ity and health ben­e­fits, which works in our favor,” McGavin said. We’ve got a very strong domes­tic mar­ket and Australian con­sumers are enjoy­ing the very high qual­ity.”

The win­ning olive oils from New Zealand and Australia are below. The full list of win­ners can be found at the Best Olive Oils web­site.



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