Fairs, Competitions

Greeks Discuss Effort and Dedication Behind NYIOOC Triumphs

In spite of poor weather and trouble with pests, Greek producers took home a total of 35 awards at the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Representatives from Liokareas accept a Gold Award at the 2019 NYIOOC
May. 16, 2019
By Lisa Radinovsky
Representatives from Liokareas accept a Gold Award at the 2019 NYIOOC

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Competing with 903 olive oils from 26 coun­tries at the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, Greek extra virgin olive oils received 18 Gold Awards and 17 Silvers.

In this chal­leng­ing har­vest year, some of the top Greek win­ners dis­cussed their meth­ods, efforts, and emo­tions with Olive Oil Times.

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

Goutis Estate was the biggest Greek winner at NYIOOC, taking home two Golds and two Silvers for their Bitter Gray, Metron, Bella Vista, and Fresh extra virgin olive oils, respec­tively.

In spite of the dif­fi­cult cli­matic con­di­tions and pests in Greece this year, Nicolas Lambropoulos told Olive Oil Times that this suc­cess came from the Goutis Estate team’s “strict cul­ti­va­tion, pro­duc­tion, extrac­tion and mar­ket­ing pro­to­cols, exhaus­tive atten­tion to qual­ity across the board, pas­sion for the finest qual­ity,” and respect for each other and for nature.

See more: NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition

“When nature chal­lenges you, you have to stay calm,” he said. “You need to deploy all avail­able resources, con­sol­i­dated expe­ri­ence, and crisis man­age­ment skills.” These deploy­ments proved effec­tive.

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Another multi-award winner from Greece was Papadopoulos Olive Oil – Mediterre, whose Mythocia Olympia PGI Organic won a Gold Award, while Mediterre Alea Organic and Omphacium claimed Silvers.

Eva Papadopoulou told Olive Oil Times that the lead­ing Greek award winner at last year’s NYIOOC, Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mill, is now tran­si­tion­ing to a col­lab­o­ra­tion “under the umbrella of Mediterre International SA.”



 



Master miller and olive oil taster Konstantinos Papadopoulos remains in charge of the extra virgin olive oils that have been win­ning mul­ti­ple awards in var­i­ous com­pe­ti­tions for sev­eral years, prov­ing “our sta­bil­ity in qual­ity and reli­a­bil­ity for our clients.”

Papadopoulou pointed out that their pre­cise cul­ti­va­tion and “care­ful pro­duc­tion method, along with the appro­pri­ate stor­age con­di­tions, lead to excel­lence” that is rec­og­nized year after year.

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Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises was yet another Greek multi-award winner, taking home both a Gold Award for ACAIA Organic and a Silver for their con­ven­tion­ally-pro­duced ACAIA extra virgin olive oils.

Ellie Tragakes told Olive Oil Times she and her team were thrilled at once again being rec­og­nized as one of the top olive oils in the world.

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“This is the fifth year in a row that ACAIA has been hon­ored at this very pres­ti­gious olive oil com­pe­ti­tion,” she said. “This is extremely reward­ing for us, moti­vat­ing us to con­tinue our hard work to pro­duce top qual­ity olive oil, and help­ing us to bring world­wide recog­ni­tion to Lesvos, our home island in the Aegean, where Kolovi olive oil orig­i­nates.”

Tragakes added that ACAIA “has an unusu­ally subtle flavor, with an excel­lent bal­ance between fruiti­ness, bit­ter­ness and pun­gency along with a very high antiox­i­dant con­tent that helps make it espe­cially healthy.”

Eftychios Androulakis received a Gold Award for his very healthy, more robust Pamako Monovarietal Mountain Bio, an organic single-estate Tsounati extra virgin olive oil from Crete.

As Androulakis empha­sized, “we are truly obsessed with cre­at­ing a gourmet organic olive oil every year, through con­stant exper­i­men­ta­tion and close obser­va­tion of how each season is going to end.”

This year, he and his part­ner, Silver Award winner Michael Marakas, intro­duced dryers after wash­ing, exper­i­mented with depit­ting before crush­ing and added the inert gas argon to the malaxer.

Delighted with their latest awards but never rest­ing on their lau­rels, they are now “prepar­ing the next season’s exper­i­ments and new ways of making a better olive oil” – their ever­last­ing goal and project.

Another winner from Crete, George Proestakis of Ziro Sitias, explained that awards also encour­age his team’s con­tin­ued “per­sis­tence and patience, and a con­stant search for improve­ment, both in cul­ti­va­tion and extrac­tion meth­ods,” as well as care­ful stor­age.

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They learn about the latest meth­ods used in Italy, then adapt them to fit the local con­di­tions in Crete. His team are also deter­mined to “pro­duce a pure prod­uct free of any­thing that would be con­sid­ered harm­ful to humans or nature,” even a baby, mean­ing “no trace of chem­i­cals at any stage of pro­duc­tion, from the field to the vessel,” includ­ing no plas­tic touch­ing their oils.

The result: his team is “delighted with the Gold Award in New York, in our eyes the peak of all inter­na­tional olive oil com­pe­ti­tions.”

Meanwhile, Diamantis Pierrakos said win­ning a Gold Award at NYIOOC, one of “the Oscars in the olive oil world,” for his family’s Laconiko extra virgin olive oil “is our con­fir­ma­tion and recog­ni­tion that we pro­duce a great olive oil.”

“This year’s award was espe­cially impor­tant for us, with all the chal­lenges we had to over­come, to prove that in our sixth con­sec­u­tive year receiv­ing an award is not an acci­dent, and that we can pro­duce a great olive oil even in the worst of con­di­tions,” Pierrakos added. “This was a year where our pas­sion­ate com­mit­ment to qual­ity and think­ing out­side the box had to come into play to over­come the many obsta­cles that were pre­sented to us.”

Gold Award winner Peter Liokareas also reflected on the extra chal­lenges of this har­vest year. He said that he felt hor­ri­ble for the pro­duc­ers who were strug­gling, but also felt a great sense of pride for Messinia and Laconia in the Peloponnese.

He was proud that the farm­ers he talked with there had not given up on the pro­duc­tion of this great prod­uct for which the region is known, but demon­strated amaz­ing deter­mi­na­tion, a ded­i­ca­tion to qual­ity and very hard work.

“It all starts with family, tra­di­tion and expe­ri­ence,” Liokareas said. “We have been doing this for more than 150 years and five gen­er­a­tions, and every year we learn some­thing new. We care­fully take part in every step of pro­duc­tion, over­see­ing that every­thing is done cor­rectly.”

Many fac­tors con­tributed to the suc­cess of NYIOOC’s top win­ners this year. Goutis Estate’s Nicolas Lambropoulos offered an expla­na­tion that may apply to a number of them.

“Perfection needs devo­tion. Devotion needs pas­sion,” he said. Rapidly evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy and sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies are more easily acces­si­ble than ever before, but “their use depends on our pas­sion for qual­ity and the com­bi­na­tion of accu­mu­lated knowl­edge, clear goal-set­ting, and strate­gic plan­ning.”