olives in a large crate on a forklift outside the mill of Yanni's Olive Grove

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.

snowy trees and hills in Crete

“The unusual weather--snow, ice, and very low temperatures--affected almost all the major olive-oil producing areas” in Greece, according to the directors of the major Greek olive oil industry organizations, Panayiotis Karantonis (ESVITE) and George Economou (SEVITEL). Most importantly, they add, this weather hit after the olive harvest was mainly finished.

conveyor belts at Terra Creta's olive unloading area outside its olive mill

On November 24, Fotis Sousalis, General Manager of Terra Creta olive oil company in Crete, Greece, was invited to make a presentation at the European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Week celebration in Brussels. The event was hosted by the European Economic & Social Committee to highlight the key role SMEs play in Europe’s food and drink sector.

Makaria Terra's fresh olive oil at the mill

Last June, the Olympia Health and Nutrition Awards initiated a new trend in olive oil competitions: a focus on health benefits. In 2017, the Olympia Awards will continue, the Aristoleo Awards will expand, a new competition will debut in Malaga, Spain, and the London Competition will lead mainstream competitions into this new health-conscious territory.

Grecotel representatives accepting an award from the Mayor of Rethymno

On November 29, World Olive Day celebrations continued in Crete with a screening of the documentary "Cretan Olive Oil: The Secret of Longevity," remarks by local dignitaries, a lecture about the cooperation between the olive oil sector and tourism in Crete, a theatrical presentation by schoolchildren, and awards for hotels that promote Cretan olive oil.

fresh green olives held in two cupped hands

George Economou, director of SEVITEL, and Panayiotis Karantonis, director of ESVITE (the two main Greek olive oil industry organizations) expect Greece to produce about 200,000 metric tons of olive oil this year, a low amount “due to adverse weather conditions and the presence of diseases” that also caused problems with olive oil quality “in some areas.”

people sorting olives in nets under olive trees

Greek olive oil production is expected to fall to 200,000 metric tons or less for the 2016/17 crop year, with quality ranging from poor to excellent. Olive oil producers from different parts of Greece offer varying perspectives based on the situation in their area. Some are more optimistic about this crop year’s production level and quality than others.

People sitting at tables eating olive oil snacks on World Olive Day

On November 26, at an informative, celebratory event honoring World Olive Day at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in Crete, Greece, the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (ACOM or SEDIK) presented awards to Cretan olive mills for their methods of olive mill operation, olive oil extraction, bottling, and olive oil distribution.

Dr. Prokopios Magiatis & Dr. Eleni Melliou with Olea Health capsules

Made with Greek olive oil, the new Olea Health olive oil softgel capsule, “the densest polyphenol capsule in the world” according to its website, entered the Greek market in September. Its advocates believe this low-calorie product can offer a high concentration of the olive oil polyphenols that scientific studies suggest have numerous health benefits.

audience members watching an award ceremony on World Olive Day in Chania

The International Olive Council (IOC) decreed November 26 World Olive Day, for “seminars, trade fairs, or symposiums showcasing the relationship between olive products and health, olive growing and the environment, the history of olive growing, the olive economy, etc.” in IOC member countries. Various olive and olive oil events were planned in Greece.

Nutricreta olive oil tins in various sizes

Twenty-one Greek extra virgin olive oils and two Greek flavored olive oils received Great Taste Awards in the United Kingdom this year. According to its website, the Great Taste Awards have been called “the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize.’” Only 35% of the 10,000 products entered were awarded one or more stars.

Aristotelis Azariadis with small olive trees in the greenhouse

Aristotelis Azariadis is in the midst of an investigation of the effect of salinity and drought stress on four different olive cultivars, aiming to determine whether olive trees can be grown where we think they can’t survive. This is good to know in such places as Crete and North Africa, given a Cretan tradition of watering olive trees with sea water.

Emmanouil Karpadakis meeting with two Korean businesspeople

Emmanouil Karpadakis, marketing manager and olive oil exporter at Terra Creta in Crete, recently returned from his second trip to South Korea. This time, he was participating in the EU-GATEWAY mission to promote EU organic products in Korea. Terra Creta was one of five Greek enterprises selected to participate in this expedition of 50 European companies.

forklift moving bags of olives into olive mill

Even careful research yields a range of estimates, but a summary of the predictions of several individuals and organizations with substantial experience in the olive oil industry suggests that worldwide olive oil production is not expected to decrease more than 7 to 11% in comparison to last year, and major price increases are not anticipated.

Eleones olive picker in a tree

The strange combination of fewer table olives and lower prices for them in Halkidiki, northern Greece may mean more olive oil will be produced in that area, while farther south in mainland Greece there is some debate over expectations for olive oil prices based on early harvest Athinolia extra virgin olive oil sales in Lakonia, Peloponnese.

Bottle of Kyklopas olive oil resting on a tree root, with grass in the background

Seven Greek olive oil companies captured 10 of the awards at the OLIVINUS competition this year in Mendoza, Argentina. The largest international extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) competition in the southern hemisphere and one of the world’s most highly respected EVOO contests, OLIVINUS 2016 awarded 167 prizes to EVOOs from 11 countries on 6 continents.

branch with small, ripe black olives against vivid blue sky

Most Greek olive producers expect less olive oil from Greece in the crop year that runs from October 1 to September 30 of next year. Here are some predictions from several of the major olive-oil producing regions for the olive harvest that has just begun in Halkidiki and will start in the next month or two in other parts of Greece.

Cluster of ripe purple olives against bright blue sky

While most observers agree that it is too early to accurately estimate prices for the Greek extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to be produced during the upcoming olive harvest, some producers offer predictions, while business development consultant Stamatis Alamaniotis discusses the influences on olive oil pricing at both micro and macroeconomic levels.

Speakers sitting at long tables at the conference in Tunisia

The Tunisian National Office for Olive Oil organized a conference in Hammamet, Tunisia on July 13, alongside the International Olive Council’s (IOC) extraordinary session. At the conference, the representatives of associations from olive oil producing countries presented their views on the olive oil sector’s opportunities, challenges, and threats. 

Speakers at the Oleocanthal International Society conference in Ancient Olympia, Greece in a group photo on a stage

This June in Ancient Olympia, Greece, the Oleocanthal International Society (OIS) held its third conference to discuss research on the health benefits of oleocanthal and other phenols in extra virgin olive oil, a key component of the Mediterranean diet. It attracted over 400 participants, including an unusual mix of scientists and olive oil producers.

Dr. Prokopis Magiatis, Dr. Eleni Melliou, and two others at the OIS conference

This Olympic year, the Oleocanthal International Society (OIS) inaugurated a new type of international olive oil competition at Ancient Olympia, Greece: an objective competition based on a chemical analysis of the amount of health-protective polyphenols in 565 extra virgin olive oils from Greece, Spain, Italy, USA, Cyprus, Morocco and Uruguay.

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