Fairs, Competitions

Greek Award Winners Already Looking to Repeat

With the historically poor harvest season behind them, Greek producers who managed a win in New York are setting their sights on brand building and achieving consistent quality.

Jun. 12, 2019
By Costas Vasilopoulos

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It was an evening to remem­ber in New York’s East Vil­lage, where the results of the 2019 NYIOOC were announced last month.

The press con­fer­ence was streamed live for every­body to watch, draw­ing the atten­tion of thou­sands world­wide. Among more than 900 par­tic­i­pants from vir­tu­ally every cor­ner of the olive oil world, 109 pro­duc­ers from Greece show­cased their finest extra vir­gin olive oils and won 35 awards in total, 18 Gold and 17 Sil­ver.

This was a year where our pas­sion­ate com­mit­ment to qual­ity and think­ing out­side of the box had to come into play to over­come the many obsta­cles that were pre­sented to us.- Dia­man­tis and Dino Pier­rakos, own­ers of Laconiko

After a dif­fi­cult har­vest sea­son, pro­duc­ers said the awards con­firmed their hard work and com­mit­ment to pro­duc­ing olive oil of high qual­ity no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances.

How­ever, Greek pro­duc­ers won fewer awards than last year, when they took home 55 awards, likely reflect­ing this season’s unfa­vor­able con­di­tions and small yield.

See more: NYIOOC 2019 Spe­cial Cov­er­age

Papadopou­los Olive Oil Mill, based near Ancient Olympia, returned home with three prizes, one Gold Award for their Mytho­cia Olympia PGI Organic medium blend and two Sil­ver Awards for their Mediterre Alea Organic and Mytho­cia Omphacium made from a del­i­cate Olympia vari­ety.


Our knowl­edge through edu­ca­tion, our love for the fruit and our pas­sion to pro­duce new fla­vors and rich aro­mas are the three main rea­sons for try­ing hard each year to extract high qual­ity olive oil,” Eva Papadopou­los told Olive Oil Times.

To be hon­est, NYIOOC is the best olive oil com­pe­ti­tion world­wide, bring­ing together the high­est stan­dards of integrity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism in award­ing medals to the best olive oils from around the globe,” she added.

The com­pany also dared to diver­sify and make olive oil from vari­eties other than Koroneiki, such as Kolireiki, Menoutiana and Mpot­sikoelia, which enhanced the organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of their extra vir­gins.

Papadopou­los also made clear that the sea­son was dif­fi­cult and that the pre­cise cul­ti­va­tion and the care­ful and cau­tious” pro­duc­tion method enabled them to be suc­cess­ful in the com­pe­ti­tion.

She also said that, start­ing next year, their prod­ucts will be avail­able under the Mediterre brand name, a Swiss com­pany of organic Mediter­ranean prod­ucts.

Laconiko, from south­ern Greece, stuck with tra­di­tion and tucked away another Gold Award this year for its extra vir­gin made from medium Koroneiki. Dia­man­tis and Dino Pier­rakos, the own­ers, were enthu­si­as­tic in describ­ing their win to Olive Oil Times.

It is the Oscars in the olive oil world, due to the expo­sure, the high stan­dards and qual­ity of the judges it offers,” Pier­rakos said.

They noted that this is the sixth con­sec­u­tive year in which they have been rec­og­nized and received an award in the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion, but they too had a chal­leng­ing sea­son and many obsta­cles to over­come to be able to present an extra vir­gin olive oil of really high stan­dards.

This was a year where our pas­sion­ate com­mit­ment to qual­ity and think­ing out­side of the box had to come into play to over­come the many obsta­cles that were pre­sented to us, in not mak­ing a qual­ity olive oil in only a sin­gle batch but mak­ing a qual­ity oil in our over­all pro­duc­tion,” they said.

Mer Des Oliviers De Delphes, from Cen­tral Greece, earned a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin olive oil made from a del­i­cate Amfis­sis vari­ety.

Our olive oil comes from the Del­phi area made from olives of the Amfis­sis vari­ety. It has a strong, fruity aroma with a soft taste with­out being spicy, and a spe­cial after­taste due to the Del­phi land,” they told Olive Oil Times.

Michael Dudek for Liokareas (Oilio LLC)

We were the first to pro­mote the mono­va­ri­etal olive oil of our area. Our aspi­ra­tion is to put the olive oil from Del­phi on the world map of qual­ity olive oils,” they added.

They also had some­thing to say about the NYIOOC and the impor­tance of their prize.

The last time that we par­tic­i­pated in the NYIOOC was back in 2017 when we won the Sil­ver Award,” they said. The Gold Award we got now made us very happy, because we know the poten­tial of our olive oil.”

It is widely known that NYIOOC is the best in the world, and in this sense our award is of great value and recog­ni­tion,” they added. Being on the Best Olive Oils por­tal is a con­stant pro­mo­tion of our olive oil in the inter­na­tional mar­kets, increas­ing its pres­tige.”

Another com­pany, Oilio from the south of Kala­mata, received a Gold Award for their Liokar­eas Wild extra vir­gin olive oil, a mix of oils made from wild olives and olives of the Koroneiki vari­ety.

What is inter­est­ing about our com­pany and dif­fer­ent from some of the oth­ers, is that our incred­i­bly strong deter­mi­na­tion and focus on pro­duc­ing high qual­ity olive oil never ends,” Peter Liokar­eas said.

He also acknowl­edged that this sea­son was pre­car­i­ous and more hard work was required to get olive oil of top qual­ity.

This year was a dif­fi­cult year for many coun­tries, includ­ing Greece,” Liokar­eas said. I was shocked at what I saw when I trav­eled through south­ern Greece, and more specif­i­cally in Messinia and Laco­nia first in August and then again in Octo­ber and Novem­ber.”

But at the same time, I also felt a great sense of pride for this region of Greece from where we are,” he added. To see a region that strug­gles so hard eco­nom­i­cally in dif­fi­cult times, not give up on the pro­duc­tion of this great prod­uct that we are known for.”

He then con­tin­ued, the NYIOOC is the largest com­pe­ti­tion in the world. It may be one of the most dif­fi­cult com­pe­ti­tions to win an award in. For us, it is the most pres­ti­gious.”

Com­ments and feel­ings of win­ners from Greece con­tin­ued to pour in.

For Olympian Green, win­ner of a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin made from Koroneiki olives, the sat­is­fac­tion was immense.

It is a great honor and we are extremely proud of the award,” Tammy Karam­be­las, the sales sup­port man­ager, said. Our mod­ern mill with its hi-tech machin­ery and the inno­v­a­tive solu­tions we apply have made us pio­neers in the sec­tor of qual­ity olive oil. The prize proves that our atten­tion to the whole pro­duc­tion process from the tree to the shelf is on the right track.”

Hel­lenic Agri­cul­tural Enter­prises, from Lesvos, were again on tar­get, receiv­ing a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin olive oil made from Kolovi olives, and now they have expanded their tro­phy case by also win­ning a Sil­ver Award for their organic extra vir­gin.

We are very excited that our ACAIA and ACAIA organic brands were once again dis­tin­guished at this renowned com­pe­ti­tion,” Ellie Tra­gakes, the man­ag­ing direc­tor, said. Every year we work hard to cre­ate olive oils that are of the high­est qual­ity, and this is the fifth year that NYIOOC acknowl­edges our olive oils as being among the best in the world.”

We will con­tinue to work hard to pro­duce the high­est qual­ity olive oil so that we may also bring recog­ni­tion to Lesvos, our home island in the Aegean,” she added.

Efty­chios Androulakis of Pamako spoke about their Gold Award for their mono­va­ri­etal Moun­tain Bio made from the Tsounati vari­ety.

The last four years, we have man­aged to make excel­lent olive oils through con­stant exper­i­men­ta­tion,” he said. We don’t buy olives from any­one else and we don’t put other pro­duc­ers in our line. So it’s extremely dif­fi­cult to pro­duce a great organic extra vir­gin olive oil each year.”

By exper­i­ment­ing and closely observ­ing how every sea­son is going to end, we choose our next steps and we always pre­pare for the worst-case sce­nario,” he added. Even now, we pre­pare for the next sea­son exper­i­ments and new ways of mak­ing a bet­ter olive oil.”

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