Australian producers took home five Gold and six Silver Awards at the 2020 edition of the world's most prestigious olive oil quality contest.
Part of our continuing coverage of the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Despite a persistent drought and after a particularly brutal fire season, Australian producers were rewarded for their tenacity at the eighth edition of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
In 2019, Australia produced 21,000 tons of olive oil, according to the International Olive Council. From that record-equalling harvest, producers picked up a total of 11 awards from 16 entries.
For both of our oils to win Gold is a momentous occasion for us. We were absolutely thrilled with the result and are feeling very proud to be amongst only a few Australian groves to have won Gold this year.
The 69 percent success rate is the highest the country has seen at the NYIOOC and testament to the perseverance of the country’s producers.
Sui Tham, who co-owns Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula with her husband, Stephen, told Olive Times they were thrilled with how their oils have fared after winning four awards, the same amount they earned at the 2019 NYIOOC.
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“We’re thrilled with how our oils have fared in such a prestigious extra virgin olive oil competition, and proud to be an Australian representative amongst some of the best producers in the world,” Tham said.
She added that various factors played a role in the company’s success, including their attention to detail when caring for their grove, adopting sustainable agricultural practices and controlling the whole production process – from growing and harvesting the olives to their transformation.
“For both of our oils to win Gold is a momentous occasion for us,” Karen Godfrey, the company’s sales and marketing manager, said. “We were absolutely thrilled with the result and are feeling very proud to be amongst only a few Australian groves to have won Gold this year.”
In addition to their awards this year, Taralinga succeeded at the 2019 NYIOOC, also receiving two awards.
“We attribute our success to a number of things,” Godfrey said, “including the precise nature of our process, from picking at just the right time to making sure the olives are pressed within hours of being picked.”
“Because we own our plant,” she added, “we have the ability to process our olives right here on the estate – a unique ability for Australian olive groves – which ensures the freshest possible extra virgin olive oil.”
Godfrey said other factors that determined their success were their sophisticated two-phased oil processing plant that she said is the best of its kind and that their location on the Mornington Peninsula, which has an ideal microclimate for olive groves.
“This result is testament to our mission of producing quality extra virgin olive oil to the highest possible standard — not just here on the Mornington Peninsula or in Australia, but in the world,” Sam Tarascio, the owner of Taralinga, said. “It is not only our goal, it is our passion.”
David Valmorbida, president of the Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA), congratulated the winning brands on behalf of the association.
“While there are many wonderful olive oil producers in Australia, and globally, that do not enter NYIOOC,” Valmorbida said, “seeing 11 Australian entries achieve awards amongst the other 573 awarded oils – and for Australian entries to achieve an award rate of 69 percent, sitting just above the 67 percent total competition award rate – demonstrates that Australia is a serious competitor on the global stage, producing some fantastic products.”