Judging Underway in 8th NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, Results to Be Unveiled May 11

Expert judges begin analyzing over 850 entries in their homes and offices as the world's most prestigious olive oil competition gets underway during the coronavirus lockdown.

NYIOOC Judge Giuseppe Di Lecce (OOT Archive)
May. 1, 2020
By Olive Oil Times Staff
NYIOOC Judge Giuseppe Di Lecce (OOT Archive)

The care­ful analy­ses of more than 850 olive oils from 26 coun­tries have begun in the offices and homes of expert tasters through­out the world — all part of an inno­v­a­tive remote-judg­ing process for the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition that was set into action amid the COVID-19 cri­sis.

In nor­mal times, the 16 judges would meet this week in New York, with the assis­tance of a tech­ni­cal team and sup­port staff, to deter­mine the year’s best extra vir­gin olive oils. Then the coro­n­avirus came and orga­niz­ers began design­ing the pro­to­cols for remote judg­ing now under­way in nine coun­tries around the world, most in some form of a lock­down or restricted travel.

The experts con­fer over a pri­vate video sys­tem as they taste each sam­ple and record their obser­va­tions using a state-of-the-art appli­ca­tion devel­oped by the NYIOOC that col­lects the data securely. A world­wide team of tech­ni­cians man­ages the data in real-time.

Once the results are ver­i­fied, the win­ning brands will be pub­licly unveiled in an inter­ac­tive pre­sen­ta­tion start­ing on May 11 and con­tin­u­ing each day over the course of a week, from 9:00 AM until 12:00 noon (EDT) on the offi­cial results web­site.

Sending thou­sands of tast­ing sam­ples around the world for sen­sory analy­sis was no easy task. Each entry was trans­ferred to a set of tam­per-evi­dent, dark glass con­tain­ers with zero head­space before being packed and shipped in a tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled case for pro­tec­tion and qual­ity preser­va­tion dur­ing trans­port.

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Cord said the early results had shown the remote judg­ing sys­tem to be work­ing per­fectly.

We are com­par­ing the judges’ find­ings with sam­ples of unopened bot­tles from our tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled library and we’re find­ing no notice­able degra­da­tion, thanks to the care with which they were pre­pared and shipped,” Cord explained.

Cord said the pro­to­cols and the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of his judg­ing experts and tech­ni­cal team will ensure accu­rate results and the admin­is­tra­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion at the high­est stan­dards, even as the world con­fronts an unprece­dented cri­sis.

We wish it weren’t nec­es­sary to do it this way,” Cord said ear­lier of the pio­neer­ing pro­gram. But we are dri­ven by our mis­sion to rec­og­nize the com­mit­ment of olive oil pro­duc­ers, and this is the best way to do that under these con­di­tions. They still have prod­ucts to sell, and con­sumers still need to know which ones to buy.”

The NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, held each spring, is the world’s largest and most pres­ti­gious olive oil con­test and its annual list­ing of award win­ners is con­sid­ered the author­i­ta­tive guide to the year’s best extra vir­gin olive oils.

The com­plete results will be pre­sented on the Official Index of the World’s Best Olive Oils in a new design that will also be unveiled May 11.


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