Olive Oil World Loses Moshe Spak

Moshe Spak saw possibilities where others did not, was willing to take chances and did not give up.

Moshe Spak (right) with Raul Castellani
Jul. 21, 2018
By Alexis Kerner
Moshe Spak (right) with Raul Castellani

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On Thursday, the world lost Moshe Aaron Spak, the founder of the Israeli Competitions TerraOlivo and TerraVino, to a bat­tle with can­cer.

Since the first notice, social media has been ring­ing from all cor­ners, as friends and col­leagues share their mem­o­ries of this beloved man. Words repeated them­selves in many lan­guages to describe the mark he left on both the olive oil and wine worlds: entre­pre­neur, stub­born, ambas­sador, a great help, and pas­sion­ate.

He always exper­i­mented with new ways and was able to cre­ate — almost 10 years ago — a move­ment in the Holy Land ded­i­cated to qual­ity oil.- Antonio G. Lauro

Spak was born in Argentina but uprooted and trans­planted him­self to Israel, a land that he truly loved and believed in whole­heart­edly. It is here where this savvy busi­ness­man endeav­ored to pro­mote the holy land´s wine and olive oil through­out the world.

Haim Gan, a friend and wine expert, said dur­ing their first meet­ing Moshe had said he was a char­coal importer from Argentina who had come to talk to him about wine. Gan could only won­der what this kind-eyed man wanted with him. Moshe was cer­tain that he could get Israeli wines on the inter­na­tional mar­ket with his con­tacts and by start­ing a wine com­pe­ti­tion.

It was Moshe´s grit and chutz­pah” that made him suc­cess­ful. He saw pos­si­bil­i­ties where oth­ers did not, was will­ing to take the chance and did not give up. His wine com­pe­ti­tion was first met with crit­i­cism and although he took this con­dem­na­tion to heart, he kept going. Almost two decades later, TerraVino was ranked as one of the top 10 wine com­pe­ti­tions in the world.

Moshe A. Spak with Antonio G. Lauro

He did not stop at wine. By 2010, with the help of renown, pro­fes­sion­als like Raul Castellani, Eyal Hasson, Antonio Guiseppe Lauro and Haim Gan, Spak decided to launch the Israeli olive oil com­pe­ti­tion, TerraOlivo.

Despite Moshe being ill he made sure that this past June TerraOlivo cel­e­brated its 9th edi­tion with 20 coun­tries rep­re­sented in the com­pe­ti­tion.

A friend not only mine but of the whole world of olive oil, a sec­tor which, to him, surely owes some­thing, per­haps a lot,” Antonio G. Lauro wrote on his blog. He always exper­i­mented with new ways and was able to cre­ate — almost 10 years ago — a move­ment in the Holy Land ded­i­cated to qual­ity oil. There, in the land of the fathers, where it all began, with the evoca­tive name: TerraOlivo.”

And although TerraOlivo lost Raul Castellani in 2016 and now its founder, Moshe would say the star of the show is not the pro­ducer, the taster or even him, it is the olive oil. And of course, this show will go on.

Those who knew him well and those who only spoke to him by email will miss his pas­sion and drive. However, he has planted two well-rooted, pro­duc­tive com­pe­ti­tions that will con­tinue far into the future, giv­ing his life eter­nal mean­ing.


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