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New Zealand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards

New Zealand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards – Top Honours Announced

Winners in New Zealand’s most prestigious competition for olive oil were announced last night at a formal dinner held in Wellington. The New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards are run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers.

Kapiti Olives from Kapiti took out the 2019 Best in Show as well as Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Blend Class with their Kapiti Picual Blend. Reserve Best in Show went to Olea Estate from Wairarapa with their Olea Estate Picual which was Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Single Varietal Class.

Old French Road Olive Grove from Canterbury won the Best in Boutique Category for growers who produce less than 250 litres of certified extra virgin olive oil, as well as Best in Class in the Boutique Intense Single Varietal Class with their Old French Road Picholene. Reserve Best Boutique was awarded to Avenir Trust from Waiheke Island with their Woodside Bay Olive Oil which was Best in Class in the Boutique Medium Blends Class.

Best Flavoured Oil was won by The Olive Press, Wairarapa with their Pressed Gold – Kaffir Lime Agrumato. This is the third year running that The Olive Press have won this award. The Olive Press was also awarded Best Processor, an award they have held since 2014.

Medals were spread across New Zealand’s growing regions with 57 going to Wairarapa, ,14 to Kapiti, 12 to Nelson, 11 to Canterbury, 6 to Waiheke Island, 5 each to Auckland and Northland, 4 to Hawke’s Bay, 3 each to Bay of Plenty and Marlborough, 1 to Central Otago. This equated to 24 Gold Medals, 76 Silver Medals and 21 Bronze Medals, a total of 121 medals.

The judging panel of six trained and experienced international and New Zealand olive oil tasters praised both of the top winning oils. They said “A beautiful oil with herbaceous, salad leaves and artichoke on the nose and palate, smooth flavour transfer with lingering peppery finish. Fruity aromas which trasfer well to the palate. Well balanced bitterness and pungency. Great harmony.”

Kapiti Olives is owned by David and Helen Walshaw. It is a large sized grove of approximately 2300 trees established in 2004. This is the 2nd occasion that Kapiti Olives has won the supreme award, having taken out the top award also in 2010. They have been consistent medal winners at other previous Awards. .

The Head Judge, Dr Agusti Romero from Spain commented on the quality of the oils entered in New Zealand’s top olive oil awards. He said ”New Zealand produces very good extra virgin olive oil, comparable to the best in the world. I have visited a number of groves during my visit and I have been very impressed.”

As a condition of entry all entrants must have been formally assessed as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and carry the OliveMark. Consumers can thus be assured that New Zealand olive oil displaying the red OliveMark has met the strict standards for Olives New Zealand Certification; it is certified as extra virgin, is packaged and labelled appropriately and an authentic New Zealand product. A further mark of excellence is a medal from the Olives New Zealand Awards.

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