Winning in New York Opens Doors, Encourages Innovation Say Producers

Award winners from the 2019 World Olive Oil Competition shared their thoughts on what it means for their brands.

A representative from Nutrasol (Photo: NYIOOC 2019)
By Daniel Dawson
Jun. 6, 2019 08:52 UTC
A representative from Nutrasol (Photo: NYIOOC 2019)

The dust may have already set­tled on the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, but many pro­duc­ers are still cel­e­brat­ing their wins and expe­ri­enc­ing how an award at the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity con­test is impact­ing their brands.

In response to a sur­vey sent out by Olive Oil Times, dozens of pro­duc­ers said their awards val­i­dated their cul­ti­va­tion and pro­duc­tion tech­niques; improved their brand’s stand­ing in the eyes of prospec­tive and exist­ing cus­tomers; and moti­vated them to con­tinue improv­ing their processes.

It shows me that we are on the right path to keep on pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil.- Arianna de Marco, Cantasole

For some pro­duc­ers, the award is also a proud reminder of how a fam­ily tra­di­tion has per­se­vered and flour­ished over the course of gen­er­a­tions.

It is a proud moment for a small fam­ily com­pany to win an award of this cat­e­gory, it is a great recog­ni­tion of our tra­di­tion and our land,” Victor Fortis Uceda said of his family’s Silver Award for their Uno Picual.

See Also:Official Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils

While some of these fam­ily farms have been mak­ing olive oil for cen­turies, oth­ers were just get­ting started. Regardless of how long they have been mak­ing olive oil, pro­duc­ers saw the award as not just as a val­i­da­tion of their tra­di­tions, but as a chal­lenge to keep improv­ing their prod­uct.

Winning two Gold Awards at this year’s NYIOOC is a huge moti­va­tion for the Cantasole team, who work with ded­i­ca­tion and care all year round,” Arianna de Marco said. Her fam­ily won two Gold Awards for a robust Coratina and medium blend.

For de Marco, this year’s award was espe­cially impor­tant as it val­i­dated her pro­duc­tion tech­niques. She recently took over as the fourth gen­er­a­tion olive oil pro­ducer on her fam­ily farm and the award proves that she is off to a good start.

It shows me that we are on the right path to keep on pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” she said. The NYIOOC is the most impor­tant win­dow into the extra vir­gin olive oil mar­ket. Being awarded allows us to get into con­tact with new cus­tomers every­where look­ing to pur­chase high-qual­ity prod­ucts.”

The poten­tial to expand cus­tomer bases was another com­mon theme among pro­duc­ers. Many said that awards from NYIOOC serve as impres­sive cre­den­tials when try­ing to expand exist­ing cus­tomer bases and nego­ti­ate with retail­ers, espe­cially in the United States.

For me and for my col­leagues at Il Molino farm, [these awards are] very impor­tant because through them we can present our extra vir­gin olive oil to American con­sumers and cus­tomers, let­ting our prod­uct be known,” Annalisa Torzilli said of Il Molino’s Gold Award for its organic del­i­cate Caninese.

A representative from Nutrasol (Photo: NYIOOC 2019)

However, with its inter­na­tional panel and media cov­er­age as well as atten­dees from all over the world, the NYIOOC also works in reverse, allow­ing American pro­duc­ers to show­case their own high qual­ity oils to the rest of the world.

We are very excited to once again have a win­ning California-grown olive oil.” Denise Reinhold of Capay Valley Ranches, said. This year, the com­pany took home a Silver Award for its medium Arbequina.

The NYIOOC has brought recog­ni­tion to our brand and world­wide oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth,” she added.

Winning at the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion not only has the poten­tial to boost indi­vid­ual brands but in the case of non-tra­di­tional olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries, can also boost the image of entire regions.

It means to me that hard work pays off and it puts my com­pany among the best in the world.- Karim Fitouru, Olivko

Being judged a World’s Best Olive Oil is a game changer for Dali and New Zealand olive oil,” Ross Vintiner, whose Dali Frantoio earned a Silver Award, said. Being judged with the world’s best means local con­sumers have con­fi­dence that local is world class and a great prod­uct. For us as pro­duc­ers, with this award, we can bench­mark our­selves against the world and aim to do even bet­ter.”

Richard and Myrna Meisler, San Miguel Olive Farm with NYIOOC president, Curtis Cord

Along with pro­mot­ing their respec­tive brands on the world stage, the NYIOOC also serves as a lev­eler between huge multi-nation­als and much smaller olive oil pro­duc­ing oper­a­tions. It is an oppor­tu­nity for small pro­duc­ers to go toe-to-toe with larger com­peti­tors and demon­strate their qual­ity.

It is really great to receive the recog­ni­tion of one of the most respected tast­ing pan­els,” Eddy Plasquy, of Del Cetino, said. As a small pro­ducer, it gives you the pos­si­bil­ity to com­pete at the high­est qual­ity level. More than any­thing else it con­firms our con­vic­tion that small pro­duc­ers are capa­ble of pro­duc­ing a won­der­ful olive oil.”


Del Cetino was among the awarded brands for the third year in a row, bring­ing home two Gold Awards for a robust Picual and medium Arbequina.

Respondents told Olive Oil Times that a win at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition serves as a con­fir­ma­tion from the high­est level that their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion paid off.

As a result, numer­ous pro­duc­ers expressed sat­is­fac­tion and joy about receiv­ing their awards but also said it serves as moti­va­tion to con­tinue improv­ing upon their prod­ucts.

The Olmais team con­sid­ers the NYIOOC the most impor­tant award for our brand as it is one of the rea­sons for its very exis­tence.- Julio Alves, Olmais

The Olmais team con­sid­ers the NYIOOC the most impor­tant award for our brand as it is one of the rea­sons for its very exis­tence,” Julio Alves said. Back in 2016, when we entered the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time, we were in the very begin­ning of our brand. We had cre­ated the brand just two months before and had just a cou­ple of local shops as clients.”

Peter Liokareas and Michael Dudek for Liokareas (Oilio LLC)

We knew our prod­uct was spe­cial and win­ning that first Gold medal back then gave us the recog­ni­tion we needed and encour­aged us to work even harder, improve pack­ag­ing and take this project to where it is today,” he added. Now you can find Olmais from Canada to Brazil, and from Europe to Asia.”

At this year’s edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion, the Portuguese pro­ducer took home a Gold Award for its Cobrancosa.

For many pro­duc­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the NYIOOC, the com­pe­ti­tion rep­re­sents the pin­na­cle of the olive oil qual­ity world, with a Best in Class Award serv­ing as the ulti­mate prize.

Winning the Best in Class in New York is like win­ning the World Cup in [asso­ci­a­tion] foot­ball,” Karim Fitouri, of Olivko, said. The Tunisian pro­ducer was among the most suc­cess­ful at this year’s NYIOOC, bring­ing home two Gold Awards and one Best in Class.

It means to me that hard work pays off and it puts my com­pany among the best in the world,” Fitouri added.


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