The nation’s best olive and olive oil producers have been acknowledged this week at the inaugural Australian International Olive Awards.
The winners were announced at the Australian International Olive Awards Dinner on Tuesday, held in conjunction with the 2017 AOA National Olive Conference & Trade Exhibition in Adelaide, South Australia.
The coveted Best extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) of Show Award went to New South Wales producer Rylestone Olive Press & Bentivoglio Olives for its Cudgegong II Frantoio varietal.
The Cudgegong II also took Best EVOO - Southern Hemisphere, while Best EVOO – Northern Hemisphere went to China’s Longnan Xiangyu Olives Development Co. Ltd’s Picholine.
Best Table Olive of Show was awarded to South Australian producer The Australian Olive Company Pty Ltd.
Chief steward Trudie Michels described this year’s event as “a very successful show indeed”, with medals awarded to 87 per cent of the 222 oils – a record for the 21 years of the Australian competition.
“The judges gave 49 gold, 85 silver and 60 bronze medals to well-deserving olive producers, in what they deemed an outstanding year in terms of quality,” Ms Michels said.
BEST OLIVES: Australian Olive Association CEO, Greg Seymour with Best Table Olives of Show winner, Karl Chehade, Australian Olive Company, SA and Australian Olive Association president, Peter O’Meara.
“Significantly, a new benchmark of high silver was set, where in the past it has been a bronze. It’s proof that the Australian industry is continually lifting its game and striving for excellence, and a great reward for those all those efforts.
“Great extra virgin olive oil – what we call EVOO – doesn’t just happen: it takes care and best practice from the grove to the bottle.
“This year, with delayed ripening experienced across many regions, it also took a lot of patience.
“Many producers only just had their oils ready in time for judging but some of those entries were among our winners.”
For the first time, this year’s competition gained international status, welcoming extra virgin olive oil, flavoured oils and table olive entries from both northern and southern hemisphere producers.
New classes were also created to celebrate oil varietals from key olive growing countries.
“Considering the late harvest this year, we were delighted to receive 222 oil entries from 98 exhibitors, a 10.4pc increase from last year. These included entries from Argentina, Chile, China, New Zealand and North America,” she said.
“The 194 medals awarded in total saw gold increase from 16 in 2016 to 49 this year, silver from 47 to 85, and bronze down from 77 to 60 – no doubt reflecting the overall upward move in quality.
“Judging took place in Adelaide in late September, with a team of more than 30 experts from across the globe meeting for three days of training and judging.
“Competition was strong and the judges had a tough job, particularly given the number of high-scoring entries competing for the major awards. We were lucky to have this level of combined international knowledge and experience in such an outstandingly competitive year.
“And Australian EVOO lovers are just as lucky, with award-winning 2017 oils now available.”
Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Show – RYLESTONE OLIVE PRESS (Jayne Bentivoglio)
Best Table Olive of show – AUSTRALIAN OLIVE COMPANY PTY LTD – (Karl Chehade)
Best Southern Hemisphere EVOO – RYLESTONE OLIVE PRESS (Jayne Bentivoglio)
Best Northern Hemisphere EVOO – LONGMAN XIANGYU OLIVES DEVT. CO. LTD
Best Southern Hemisphere Table Olives – THE AUSTRALIAN OLIVE CO. PL (Karl Chehade)
Champion EVOO – Mild Class 1 – RUSTY GATE ESTATE (Velvet Heater)
Champion EVOO – Robust Class 3 – TARRALEA GROVE JARRAHDALE (Barry Sander)
Champion EVOO – Non packaged – PREMA BROS PTY LTD (The Catanzariti Family)
Champion EVOO – Varietal (Spanish) – LISADURNE HILL (Russ & Tina Knight)
Champion EVOO – Varietal (Italian) – RYLESTONE OLIVE PRESS (Jayne Bentivoglio)
Champion EVOO Champion EVOO – Varietal (Greek) – RIO VISTA OLIVES (Bettio Family)
Champion EVOO – Varietal (Other) – OLIOZITO (Peta Zito)
Champion EVOO Flavoured (Citrus) – OLIVE TWIST (George Bakogiannis)
Champion EVOO Flavoured (Other) – THE SATHYA OLIVE COMPANY (Tanuja & Keith Sanders)
Champion Table Olive – Kalamata – CICADA PTY LTD (Ed & Emma Vercoe)
Champion Table Olives (Wild) – THE AUSTRALIAN OLIVE CO. PTY LTD (Karl Chehade)
Champion Table Olives – Flavoured – THE SATHYA OLIVE COMPANY (Tanuja & Keith Sanders)
Full judges’ comments and results can be found in the online results book.