Spanish Producers Among the Early Winners at 2020 NYIOOC

With 25 awards so far, Spain and Italy lead this year's ranking at the world's most prestigious olive oil quality contest, which is unveiling the results throughout the week.

Vincente Morillas, La Olivilla
May. 13, 2020
By Pablo Esparza
Vincente Morillas, La Olivilla

Spain, along with Italy, leads the early rank­ing of award-win­ning olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries at the 2020 edi­tion of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, which is rolling out the results this week on its offi­cial web­site.

So far, the European coun­try has won a total amount of 25 awards: 22 Gold and three Silver. The results will con­tinue to be unveiled every day this week, the orga­niz­ers said.

We are very happy, espe­cially for our dis­trib­u­tor in the United States, who was really excited about it and who is mak­ing a big effort in these dif­fi­cult times- Javier Márquez, Agropecuaria Ecología Sierra de Alcaraz

This year, the NYIOOC adapted to the spe­cial cir­cum­stances imposed by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic by devel­op­ing a plan to judge remotely amid the lock­downs.

An inter­na­tional panel of experts was able to judge the qual­ity of the 881 entries from 26 coun­tries that were sub­mit­ted in the eighth edi­tion of the con­test before reg­is­tra­tion closed.

See Also: More From the 2020 NYIOOC

Spain par­tic­i­pated with 141 entries, sec­ond only to Italy, with 195, and ahead of Greece, with 125.

In an envi­ron­ment of eco­nomic uncer­tainty, award-win­ning Spanish pro­duc­ers pointed out that this recog­ni­tion of qual­ity is more impor­tant than ever.

We’ve been par­tic­i­pat­ing at the NYIOOC for many years, I guess since its first edi­tion, and we have been intro­duc­ing more vari­eties of olive oil every year,” said Marco Molinari, com­mer­cial direc­tor of Sucesores de Hermanos López, the pro­ducer of Morellana olive oil.

This is very impor­tant for us because the American mar­ket is a key one and win­ning an award in New York is very pos­i­tive,” he added. Prizes are the best way to show to the wider pub­lic that not all olive oils are the same. They are an impor­tant tool.”

Sucesores de Hermanos López is a small pro­ducer based in Luque, a vil­lage in the Córdoba province.

Their brand, Morellana, won three Gold Awards at this year’s edi­tion of the NYIOOC, one for its Picual, one for its Hojiblanca and one for its Picuda, a local cul­ti­var mainly pro­duced in the area.

Javier Márquez, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Agropecuaria Ecología Sierra de Alcaraz, agreed that the recog­ni­tion at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition is impor­tant under the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, espe­cially, for the American mar­ket.

We are very happy, espe­cially for our dis­trib­u­tor in the United States, who was really excited about it and who is mak­ing a big effort in these dif­fi­cult times,” Márquez told Olive Oil Times.

This award may help in the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion we have due to the increase in taxes and the coro­n­avirus cri­sis,” he added.

Agropecuaria Ecología Sierra de Alcaraz is the pro­ducer of the organic Almazara de Alcaraz, whose blend won a Gold Award at the 2020 NYIOOC.

Based in Alcaraz, a vil­lage in the province of Albacete, in Castilla-La Mancha, their pro­duc­tion comes from the asso­ci­a­tion of more than 100 organic small pro­duc­ers from the area.

Márquez said that this award is impor­tant for cus­tomers and importers, but he also pointed out its impor­tance for the farm­ers.

This mat­ters for our asso­ci­ated farm­ers, for those who are sweat­ing in the olive groves, because they see that at the olive mill we are mak­ing a good oil thanks to the great prod­uct they har­vest,” he said. That’s a big sat­is­fac­tion.”

José Gálvez, man­ager of Oro Bailén, one of the most well-estab­lished pro­duc­ers in Jaén, Spain’s main pro­duc­ing province, said con­sis­tency and hard work are impor­tant when it comes to qual­ity.

You have to believe in what you do and try to obtain the high­est qual­ity every year,” he told Olive Oil Times. That’s our con­stant objec­tive. Each har­vest has its own par­tic­u­lar­i­ties, but we try to make the most out of it in order to make one of the best olive oils in the world.”

Oro Bailén’s olive oil won four Gold Awards at this year’s NYIOOC. This suc­cess builds on suc­cesses achieved by the com­pany at pre­vi­ous edi­tions of the com­pe­ti­tion. In 2019, they won a Best in Class Award, two Gold Awards and one Silver at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

We are happy that our Frantoio and Hojiblanca oils, which we have added to our Picual and Arbequina, have also been awarded,” Gálvez said.

Spain is the largest olive oil pro­ducer in the world. Although the last cam­paign was sig­nif­i­cantly smaller than the pre­vi­ous one, the coun­try pro­duced more than one-third of the world’s total pro­duc­tion with some 1.1 mil­lion tons.

When asked about Spain’s per­for­mance at the NYIOOC, pro­duc­ers high­lighted the remark­able amount of awards the coun­try won and how this suc­cess con­firms the increas­ing qual­ity of the Spanish olive oil.

Spain is doing very well,” Molinari, of Sucesores de Hermanos López, said. In the last 15 to 20 years it has improved the qual­ity of its oils in an impres­sive way. That is reflected in the prizes Spain wins at inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions. Spain has improved a lot.”

The chal­lenge now is to keep increas­ing that qual­ity,” he added. Small pro­duc­ers such as our­selves need to spe­cial­ize and to con­stantly improve our qual­ity. We can­not com­pete with large pro­duc­ers who use dif­fer­ent grow­ing tech­niques, such as super-inten­sive plan­ta­tions, which are more prof­itable.”

Gálvez, of Oro Bailén, agreed that bet­ting on qual­ity is key for the future and shared a mes­sage of opti­mism in the face of the present dif­fi­cul­ties.

I think all this sit­u­a­tion will surely pass and we will be back on track,” he said. The Covid-19 pan­demic has led peo­ple to pay atten­tion mostly to bad news. Let’s hope that good news such as this won’t be over­looked.”

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