olive oil running out of pipes and through a screen at the Kyklopas olive mill

A number of Greek extra virgin olive oils were recently recognized as some of the most highly awarded olive oils in the world, based on their success in international olive oil competitions. Greek olive oil producers consider these distinctions an affirmation of their hard work, attention to detail, and ceaseless efforts to create excellent products.

“Created to promote [the] world's best” extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs), the EVOO World Ranking, according to its website, “is part of the World Ranking of WAWWJ (World Association of Journalists and Writers of Wines, Liquors and others).” It is based on success in 31 international olive oil competitions in 2016 which the association has ranked in order of importance.

Kyklopas Olive Mill, Yanni's Olive Grove, Papadopoulos Olive Oil, and Gaea Products S.A. were distinguished by inclusion in the list of the Top 100 Societies of the World for olive oil produced in 2016. Two Kyklopas olive oils, Oliorama’s Exclusive Bio PGI Olympia, Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises’ ACAIA (Kolovi), and Liá Cultivators’ Lia Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Koroneiki) all made the top 100 list for EVOOs of the year.  

As Niki Kelidou, President of Kyklopas Olive Mill, told Greek Liquid Gold, “2016 was the best ever year for Kyklopas.” The Kyklopas team certainly had an impressive year, with Kyklopas Olive Mill Olive Oil (a Makri monovarietal) ranked 22nd in the world, Kyklopas Olive Mill Organic (also a Makri monovarietal) also ranked in the top 100, and Kyklopas Olive Mill listed as the 31st of the world’s Top 100 Societies for its 18 awards at 12 international competitions. The EVOO World Rankings listed Kyklopas Olive Mill Argyri Kelidi S.A. as the top Greek company and its olive oil as the best Greek EVOO for 2016, based on the awards they won last year.

As Kelidou explained to Greek Liquid Gold, “we feel very proud” of the results of “our strenuous efforts” to achieve high quality. She points out that “it is remarkable that a small family business in the most isolated olive oil producing region” of Greece managed to win the distinctions they did. She credits “the advantage of a unique [olive] variety, the local variety of Makri” as well as their efforts to carefully “cultivate our own olive trees” and “process olives in our own modern olive mill,” with “continuous exploration, open minds, and above all attention to details.”

Another of the Top 100 Societies of the World for 2016, Yanni´s Olive Grove, was recognized for winning 10 awards at 4 international competitions, with three of its extra virgin olive oils (all Chalkidiki monovarietals) among the EVOOs of the Year for 2016: Yanni’s Finest, Yanni’s Family, and Yanni’s Limited - PDO Chalkidiki.

Evi Psounou Prodromou told Greek Liquid Gold that the team at Yanni’s Olive Grove is “very proud and honored” by a distinction they consider “the greatest recognition for all the tiring, endless work and the effort to produce high quality EVOOs.” She explains, “with hard work and pertinacity, with an unstoppable thirst for knowledge of good olive tree farming practices, and finally the perfect application of the IOC’s [International Olive Council’s] instructions for olive oil milling and standardization, we managed in only four years to climb to the Top 100 olive oil societies of the world.”

The Top 100 Societies also include Papadopoulos Olive Oil, winner of 8 awards from 4 competitions in 2016, and Gaea Products S.A., which also won 8 awards at 4 international competitions last year.

Maria Spiliakopoulou, General Director of Oliorama & Co. GP, whose Oliorama Exclusive Bio PGI Olympia (a Koroneiki monovarietal) was ranked the 58th best olive oil in the world, told Greek Liquid Gold that she and her team are “very proud and pleased” that all their “hard work and preparation” have been “appreciated and honored.” This ranking “encourages us to remain loyal to our vision and our goals to produce high quality Greek olive oil,” as they have been doing for thirty years, striving to make “every single part of the process perfect, from olive grove to storage.” Spiliakopoulou adds, “all of our latest awards show that our vision to continue an ancient tradition is on the right path.”

These are the EVOO World Ranking’s other Greek EVOOs of the Year for 2016 (in the list of the top 222 olive oils worldwide, with company name, olive oil name, and olive variety):

  • Bianchi Giovanni Argali - Argali - Koroneiki

  • Papadopoulos Olive Oil - Mythocia Bio Olympia PGI - Nemoutiana

  • Greka Icons S.A. - Navarino Icons Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Koroneiki

  • Papadopoulos Olive Oil - Mythocia Omphacium Organic - Blend

  • Artion Greek Foods - Stories of Greek Origins Sitia, Lasithi Crete PDO - Koroneiki

  • Laconiko - Laconiko Olio Nuevo - Koroneiki

Kyklopas’s Niki Kelidou believes there is no secret to success in olive oil production; “simply follow good practices at all stages, from cultivation to oil extraction, from storage to standardization.” Yanni’s Olive Grove’s Evi Psounou Prodromou advises olive oil producers to learn from “the knowledge and advice” of professional olive oil tasters, remembering “that this path is very difficult, and it requires many years of trying, much money,” and especially strength of character. Oliorama’s Maria Spiliakopoulou encourages “passion, hard work, persistence, and dedication in order to have the best results.”

Prodromou adds, “an old Greek adage says that it does not matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you stand up.” Increasing numbers of Greek olive oil companies focused on doing what it takes to produce excellent extra virgin olive oil are standing proud and determined in a world market that should take note of their achievements.

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Thanks to Kyklopas Olive Mill for sharing the photo of olive oil made in their mill at the top of this page, and thanks to Yanni's Olive Grove for sharing the introductory photo taken outside their mill. Thanks also to the producers who provided comments used in this article.

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