U.S. Wins 50 Awards at International Olive Oil Competition

American olive oil producers had their best showing yet at the 2016 New York International Olive Oil Competition.
The best American extra virgin olive oils were unveiled at the New York International Olive Oil Competition, where 50 American producers took home the coveted Silver, Gold and Best in Class Awards (Photo: NYIOOC).
Apr. 28, 2016
Hannah Howard

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At the fourth annual New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC), where a panel of 15 renowned judges spent four days tast­ing and assess­ing the largest col­lec­tion of inter­na­tional olive oils ever assem­bled, 50 American olive oils were named among the World’s Best. On April 14, the results were

Sierra, an olive oil har­vested from cen­tury-old trees in California’s Sierra foothills by Apollo Olive Oil, has won four gold awards in four years, a truly extra­or­di­nary show­ing. It’s rich and robust yet ele­gant, based on California’s clas­sic Mission, with Tuscan vari­eties Frantoio and Leccino.

Steve McCulley, a part­ner at Apollo, said it means a lot to be judged as a Gold Award win­ner by the inter­na­tional panel in New York. It means our oils are equal to Europe’s best oils.” America’s suc­cess helps make the case to buy­ers and con­sumers that the coun­try is indeed craft­ing world-class extra-vir­gin. Our sin­gle focus is on qual­ity rather than quan­tity,” said McCulley.

Bill Sanders, the man behind First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil, was over­joyed at hear­ing the news that First Fresh received a Gold, its third NYIOOC award. Consumers are seek­ing trust with their olive oil. The NYIOOC award equates to trust,” Sanders said. First Fresh is an exclu­sive blend of Arbequina, Ascolano, Arbosana and Manzanillo olive vari­eties from trees span­ning three cen­turies in Corning, California by Lucero Olive Oil, which also pro­duced four award win­ners under its own brand.

Sanders and McCulley agreed that edu­ca­tion is para­mount to a robust American olive oil indus­try. The biggest chal­lenge is edu­cat­ing the cus­tomer as to what real extra vir­gin olive oil really is and why it costs more than super­mar­ket olive oil,” McCulley said. According to Sanders, the con­tin­ued glut of cheap, defec­tive olive oil in the U.S. mar­ket” is proof that ongo­ing edu­ca­tion effort with con­sumers and retail­ers is vital to our growth and suc­cess.”

Frantoio Grove, another four-time win­ner, was one of two U.S. oils to win a cov­eted Best in Class Award. Frantoio Grove is redo­lent of green grass, almond, and pear, with excep­tional har­mony and com­plex­ity. The other Best in Class went to Pacific Sun for its Tuscan Blend, in addi­tion to three Gold Awards for its Eva’s Blend, Organic Blend and Proprietor’s Select.

American pro­duc­ers are cre­at­ing seri­ously great olive oils, which for Sanders take on an even greater mean­ing: Life is about col­lect­ing moments,” he said. Olive oil brings us all closer together in small ways.”

For the full list of win­ners, head to bestoliveoils.org.


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