Vasilis Kokkalis, Deputy Minister of Rural Development + Food, with Ellie Tragakes, Nicholas Tragakes, Doukas Stergos of Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises

At the Terra Olivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition in Jerusalem this year, 632 olive oils from 20 different countries were evaluated by judges from 7 nations. Even in the face of tough competition among 65 different varieties from 80 producing areas, Greek extra virgin olive oils received 34 awards, including 4 Grand Prestige Golds.

Terra Olivo is “the most important international olive oil competition in the area of the eastern Mediterranean and Asia” according to its website, and the second largest olive oil competition in the world, according to Moshe Spak, founder, owner and organizer of Terra Olivo, who provided this year’s statistics.

As Greek judge Eleftheria Germanaki told Greek Liquid Gold, “this year Greek olive oil had a much better average score, an indication of a significant improvement compared to previous years” at Terra Olivo. The Greek winners were unable to attend the June 14 awards ceremony in Jerusalem, so Germanaki accepted the Best of Greece award on behalf of its winner, Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises, producers of Acaia extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which won Grand Prestige Gold and Best Packaging Design Awards, and Aeolian Olive EVOO, which captured a Prestige Gold.

Vasilis Kokkalis, the Greek Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food, later presented the Best of Greece Award to Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises (HAE) representatives Ellie Tragakes, Nicholas Tragakes, and Doukas Stergos at the deputy minister’s office in Athens (pictured).

Ellie Tragakes reported to Greek Liquid Gold that “the highly prestigious Terraolivo competition, having distinguished us this year with four awards, has confirmed that it is possible to create wonders even under adverse conditions imposed by nature’s vagaries,” such as those encountered during the 2016-17 harvest year. Tragakes added that the HAE team is especially excited by their prestigious awards “because this will support our efforts to create world wide awareness and appreciation of the distinctive taste and flavor characteristics of the relatively unknown Kolovi olive variety of Lesvos.”

Emmanouil Chnaris, Regional Vice Governor for the Primary Sector in Crete, accepted the Best of Crete award on behalf of Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. for Critida Premium Selection PDO Messara, which also won a Grand Prestige Gold Award. The company received four more awards--Prestige Golds--for their organic and flavored olive oils. Bio Cretan’s Ioannis Andreadakis informed Greek Liquid Gold that his company’s “goal is to have high quality products, and we always try to find new ways to improve them. Every year is a challenge that makes us work harder by combining organic agriculture and protection of the environment. We take advice from specialists, and we try to implement new techniques in olive farming. We have a strong belief in this unique Cretan product, and we continue our efforts to give Cretan olive oil the place it deserves in the global market.”

Kostas Kidonakis of Kidonakis Brothers, winner of a Grand Prestige Gold Award for Oleum Crete, told Greek Liquid Gold he also believes “Cretan olive oil has great potential. It is up to us, the new generation in the olive oil business, to produce it the way it deserves and to promote it all over the world, because when consumers buy an extra virgin olive oil (and pay a lot of money for that), it has to be perfect with its aromas, flavor, polyphenols, and all the antioxidants for which it is famous. High quality with good pricing has to be our goal, and that is the way we may distinguish ourselves from the big Italian companies.” His team participates in seminars about olive oil production and tasting, “and of course we love olive oil,” having been “in the olive mill since we were 8 year old kids.”

Esterra, a family business based in Messinia, Peloponnese, also won a Grand Prestige Gold Award for their Verga EVOO. According to their website, their company name comes from “the archaic ‘es’ (from)” combined with “terra (land, in Latin), and its goal is to express the connection” of their company with the “traditional cultivation” and “purity of the products of this land,” to which they add “the modern, dynamic prospects” of their company. Working with “knowledge, devotion, and originality,” their goal is “to offer the end client really exceptional products.”

Emmanouil Karpadakis of Terra Creta S.A., winner of Prestige Golds for Terra Creta Estate Koroneiki and Terra Creta Estate PDO Kolymvari, explained to Greek Liquid Gold that it “was a very positive surprise to receive two Prestige Golds in the same competition, a result mainly achieved due to the improved internal procedures we applied this year,” on top of their usual “quality classification of the olives as they are received, prompt two phase extraction, low temperatures, and very careful filtering and storage.” Karpadakis views the prizes as rewards for Terra Creta’s “commitment to quality, innovation, flexibility, close cooperation with our farmers, and deep knowledge of the markets we work with.”

As Kostas Kidonakis says, the olive oil “business field is huge, and opportunities are everywhere. We have to love what we do and have our eyes, ears, and mind open to achieve what we have dreamed of.” His company’s latest award leaves him feeling “that with vision, hard work, and good will, only good things can happen.”

Thanks to Ellie Tragakes and Eleftheria Germanaki for sharing photos, and thanks to all who responded to my questions for this article.


Terra Olivo 2017 Greek Winners: The Complete List


Special Awards

  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Premium Selection PDO Messara - Best of Crete
  • Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Acaia - Best of Greece


Grand Prestige Gold

  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Premium Selection PDO Messara
  • Esterra - Verga
  • Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Acaia
  • Kidonakis Bros. - Oleum Crete


Prestige Gold

  • Apollonia Cretan Products P.C. - Apollonia Farm Kolymvari Chanion Kritis PDO Crete
  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Delicatessen Lemon
  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Delicatessen Oregano
  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Delicatessen Rosemary
  • Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd. - Critida Premium Selection Organic Koroneiki
  • Botzakis S.A. - Botzakis Olyssos EVOO Koroneiki
  • Cretan Tree - Cretan Tree Ifigeneia Organic PDO Messara Crete
  • Ellindor Private Company - Ellindor
  • Friedrich Bläuel & Co. Ltd. - Mani Bläuel Greek Organic Koroneiki
  • Gaea Products S.A. - Gaea Estate Vranas Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Greka Icons S.A. - Navarino Icons Koroneiki
  • Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Aeolian Olive
  • Jordan Olivenoel Gmbh - Jordan Bio Olivenoel - Nativ Extra
  • Liá Cultivators - Liá Premium
  • Mfsa/Oleagroves - Olea Juice™ (Tender)
  • Sigounas Nikolaos - Alsea Selection Agriniou Olives
  • Terra Creta S.A. - Terra Creta Estate Koroneiki
  • Terra Creta S.A. - Terra Creta Estate PDO Kolymvari
  • Terra Di Sitia - Thema Koroneiki



  • Elawon - E-La-Won Green Fresh
  • Greek Pony Farm - Greek Pony Farm Kalamata PDO Premium Koroneiki
  • Ladologic E.E. – Alexandra’s Greek
  • Loutraki Oil Company - Elea Organic Collections of Sparta & Corinth
  • Mediterranean Natural Foods S.A. (Mnf) - Eleón by Mnf
  • Nature Blessed - Divine 'Mount Olympus'
  • Olympus Olive Oil - Olympus Olive Oil
  • Sparta Groves Sppcc - Sparta Groves First Green Gold - Early Harvest - Hand Picked
  • Vassilakis Emm. S.A. - My Olive Oil Koroneiki
  • Yanni’s Olive Grove - Yanni’s Family Chalkidiki Galani
  • Ziro Sitias - Ziro Eleolado Sitias


Best Packaging Design

  • Elawon - E-La-Won Green Fresh  
  • Greek Pony Farm - Greek Pony Farm Kalamata PDO Premium Koroneiki    
  • Greek Pony Farm - Greek Pony Farm Organic    
  • Greka Icons S.A. - Navarino Icons Koroneiki        
  • Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Acaia        
  • Makaros Edos - Makaros Edos  
  • Nature Blessed - Divine Mount Olympus  
  • Olympian Green International S.A. - Greek Organic Koroneiki Ktima Louiza  
  • Terra Di Sitia - Thema Koroneiki  
  • Ziro Sitias - Ziro Eleolado Sitias 

Selected Past Events