All the winners of the Kotinos competition awards on stage together

The Filaios Olive Oil Society, organizers of the third Kotinos Quality Competition for packed, branded extra virgin olive oils, presented awards and honorable mentions to 39 Greek olive oils at the Food Expo on March 11 at the Metropolitan Expo Center near the Athens airport. A number of olive oil varieties from several different Greek regions were awarded.

This year, the Kotinos Competition awarded prizes to three categories of extra virgin olive oils--PDO/PGI, Organic, and Conventional—with gold, silver, and bronze awards for robust and medium intensity extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) in each category, plus honorable mentions in four of the categories. Two olive oils tied for the gold award in two categories.

Yiannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister for Rural Development and Food, presented some of the awards, congratulating this year’s top winner, Konstantinos Papadopoulos of Papadopoulos Olive Oil, as well as others. Papadopoulos’s Mythocia Olympia PGI (a Kolireiki/Koroneiki blend) won a gold award for robust EVOO in the PDO/PGI category, while their Mythocia Omphacium earned an honorable mention in the robust organic category, and Mythocia Classic captured a bronze for conventionally produced, robust EVOOs.

Papadopoulos told Greek Liquid Gold that their repeated success in competitions demonstrates the consistency of their good work. “We want to show our customers our olive oil is a premium product, so they know when they open the bottle, they will get the quality they need. It’s not the award, but the quality that is important.” Papadopoulos is also proud to bring distinction to the Ancient Olympia area in Peloponnese, where both his olive oil and a silver award winner are produced and bottled.

The silver award for robust EVOOs in the PDO/PGI category went to Oliorama Exclusive Bio PGI Olympia, whose milling is done at the Papadopoulos olive mill. Oliorama’s Maria Spiliakopoulou explained that she decided to work with Papadopoulos because she “trusted his ideas and quality, and he had the same perspective” about the importance of aiming for consistently excellent organoleptic characteristics (aroma and flavor) in EVOO.  

Another region making a strong showing at the Kotinos awards was northeastern Greece, not far from the border with Turkey. Argyris Kelidis’s Kyklopas won a gold award for their conventionally produced medium intensity Kyklopas Ktimata (Estates) Early Harvest EVOO, a Makri monovarietal from the area expected to be approved as Greece’s newest PDO. This is one of 59 awards in ten years for the Kelidis family business, and the third this year. Niki Kelidi feels “lucky because we have a unique variety in a unique place” that includes many olive trees thousands of years old, as well as the Cyclops cave that inspired the name of their olive oil.  

With very close scores, Maria Micheli’s Konos EVOO just missed a gold award, capturing a silver for another Makri olive oil from the same area, this one a conventionally produced robust EVOO. Dimitris Adamidis considers their Makri olive trees “something special. We are lucky enough to have nature's blessing and the ability to comprehend it. Year by year, we are trying to learn, ‘unlock’ more secrets from our trees, and offer the end product to the public: our olive oil with unique characteristics which reveal the greatness of the area.”

Papadellis Olive Oil, a family business from the island of Lesvos focused on health benefits, high quality, and reducing their carbon footprint, shared the gold award for robust intensity for their conventionally produced Sapfo EVOO with a third company from northeastern mainland Greece, Vasilis Delivasilis. Alex Delivasilis informed Greek Liquid Gold that his father comes from Maronia, which is slightly west of Makri. He and his father have “the same virus—a deep passion” for olive products. The Delivasilis family’s goal is not to attain awards or money, but to provide their customers with something useful—a really good EVOO—and to finance the sustenance of 300 to 400 year old olive trees in Maronia that were being lost to goats, weeds, disease, or fireplaces.

A bit southwest of Maronia, in Chalkidiki, Yanni’s Olive Grove added to the impressive showing of northern Greece at the Kotinos awards ceremony with a gold award for medium fruitiness for Yanni’s Finest and an honorable mention for their robust Yanni’s Family, both conventionally produced Chalkidiki EVOOs. Evi Psounou Prodromou admits that while they knew their olive oils were excellent this year, these awards were “a surprise,” given that the judges are “very, very demanding.” Yanni’s Olive Grove succeeds both because they educate themselves and “follow the quality rules,” and since they “do things differently, like the salmon that swim against the stream.” 

Hailing from the semi-mountainous area of Fthiotida in Central Greece, Efthymia Kavalieratou and Christos Kavalieratos’s Sacrum Donum won a gold award for medium intensity organic EVOOs on this Manaki olive oil’s maiden voyage into both the marketplace and the competition arena. Kavalieratou and Kavalieratos told Greek Liquid Gold that they go beyond organic guidelines, avoiding irrigation and even organic fertilizers, since they have beehives in their olive groves. With “everything under strict personal control, up to the very last detail,” they “harvest very early” and take olives to the mill immediately—except, perhaps, when participating in the 1st World Olive Picking Championship that was held on Brac Island in Croatia last October.

A second olive oil from Lesvos took home a gold award, this time in the organic category: Michael Tzortzis’s Olvia, a robust blend of Adramytini and Kolovi olive oils. Tzortzis was very happy with his prize, especially since it follows a gold Kotinos award last year. So “for one more year we are on top. This clearly shows that we manage to have very stable progress with production of very high quality olive oil.” With the same successful processes as in the past, “this year was tremendous in productivity and quality.”

Nikolaos Ailamakis brought the southern island of Crete a gold award in the PDO/PGI category for their medium intensity Terra Zakros, PDO Sitia Lasithi Crete. Agata Szczurek Ailamaki told Greek Liquid Gold their small family business produces early harvest Koroneiki EVOO, mostly using olives from their own family groves, with family involved in every step of the process, striving to improve all the time.

Filaios organizes their annual Kotinos Competition in cooperation with other olive sector organizations, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food. The competition aims to promote high quality packaged extra virgin olive oils, support those involved in their production and distribution, and disseminate information about the distinctive organoleptic characteristics (aroma and taste) of Greek EVOOs.

The Kotinos is noteworthy for being a non-commercial competition that is governed by rules of an equivalent standard to the strict criteria applied by the International Olive Council in the Mario Solinas Quality Awards, and for the head of its jury, Effie Christopoulou. One of the pioneers of the organoleptic method for evaluating olive oil starting in the early 1980s, Christopoulou has worked with the Greek government, the European Commission, and the International Olive Council (IOC) as well as teaching, writing, and speaking about olive oil evaluation and judging national and international competitions.

Filaios vice president Panayiotis Karantonis is “confident that Kotinos has great potential. Slowly but steadily, people in the olive oil sector believe in it and trust it as an objective competition.”

 

Complete List of Winners at the Kotinos Competition 2018

 

PDO/PGI Category -- Robust Intensity

  • Papadopoulos Olive Oil -- Mythocia, PGI Olympia -- Gold
  • Oliorama -- Oliorama Exclusive Bio, PGI Olympia – Silver
  • Agrovim – Elaionion, PDO Kalamata – Bronze

 

PDO/PGI Category -- Medium Intensity

  • Nikolaos Ailamakis -- Terra Zakros, PDO Sitia Lasithi Crete – Gold
  • Dimas Marakis – Laas, PGI Lakonia – Silver
  • Kasell – Filaios, PGI Lakonia – Bronze
  • Fanourgakis Family – Fanourgakis Family, PDO Messara Crete – Honorable Mention

 

Organic Category -- Robust Intensity

  • Tzortzis Family – Olvia – Gold
  • Aeons – Aeons – Silver
  • Nileas – Bio Nileas – Bronze
  • Papadopoulos Olive Oil -- Mythocia Omphacium – Honorable Mention
  • Apostolos Voliotis – Voliotis Family -- Honorable Mention
  • AGP Niki Sklavounou – A-Plomari -- Honorable Mention

 

Organic Category -- Medium Intensity

  • Efthymia Kavalieratou -- Sacrum Donum – Gold
  • H. K. Agrilitsa Ltd. – Iklena – Silver
  • Nik. Priftis Sons Ο.Ε. – Mesi Gaia -- Bronze

 

Conventional Category -- Robust Intensity

  • Vasilis Delivasilis -- Vasilis Delivasilis – Gold
  • Papadellis Olive Oil -- Sapfo – Gold
  • Maria Micheli -- Konos -- Silver
  • Papadopoulos Olive Oil -- Mythocia Classic -- Bronze
  • Alexandros Voukoureslis Nik. AE – Alexandros – Honorable Mention
  • Nikolaos Maroulakos – Malva – Honorable Mention
  • Apostolos Voliotis – Voliotis Family -- Honorable Mention
  • Dimitris Giannakis – Riza -- Honorable Mention
  • Noos Trade – Aegle -- Honorable Mention
  • Dimitrios Katsanos – Alpha Pi -- Honorable Mention
  • Yanni’s Olive Grove -- Yanni’s Family -- Honorable Mention
  • Elais AE – Altis Agourelaio -- Honorable Mention
  • Evlogia Ike – Monochilitis -- Honorable Mention

 

Conventional Category -- Medium Intensity

  • Argyris Kelidis’s Kyklopas -- Kyklopas Ktimata (Estates) Early Harvest -- Gold
  • Yanni’s Olive Grove -- Yanni’s Finest – Gold
  • Nik Priftis Sons Ο.Ε. – Verus HPM – Silver
  • Nikolaos Konstas – Konstas – Bronze
  • Fylaktou Aik Hellenic Nature – Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- Honorable Mention
  • Agrovim – Single Estate -- Honorable Mention
  • Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Lakonia – Doriko Lakonias -- Honorable Mention
  • Nutria AE – Ionia -- Honorable Mention
  • Nikolaos Meris – Elainon -- Honorable Mention
  • Ioannis Sellas – Sellas -- Honorable Mention

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Thanks to Filaios for the photos.

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