green olives growing on a branch

At the 13th edition of the Olive Japan International Olive Oil Competition, the largest olive oil contest in Asia and Oceania, Greek olive oils took home 7 Gold awards and 17 Silvers. With 766 entries from 28 countries competing, 20 judges from 11 countries determined that over 63% of Greek entries deserved awards, even in this very challenging crop year.

Goutis Estate was the top Greek winner this year with three Gold awards and five Silvers for their extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) from Ilia (Elis), Peloponnese. Their Golds were awarded for two Koroneiki extra virgin olive oils and one Koroneiki-Manaki EVOO blend, while they claimed Silvers for one Koroneiki EVOO and four different extra virgin olive oil blends containing Koroneiki and Manaki olive oils, with Makri and Lianolia olive oils added to the blends in two cases.

Another big winner from Greece was Melissa Kikizas SA’s Terra Creta from the island of Crete, with three Gold awards, one for their Terra Creta Grand Cru Koroneiki EVOO, and two more for their Terra Creta Infusions, one infused with garlic and another with basil. Emmanouil Karpadakis emphasizes that for Melissa Kikizas both quality and consistency are very important, “along with our commitment to producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil in a significant volume so more and more consumers can enjoy and appreciate flavorful Terra Creta EVOO.”

Karpadakis explains that Terra Creta’s many international awards reflect 12 months of attentive hard work from their whole team, from the olive grove to the mill, from quality control to bottling and storage, since every detail at every step makes a difference in their olive oil’s flavor and aroma. The people on Terra Creta’s team share an openness to learning new things and applying what they have learned about the best ways to proceed, often incorporating beneficial innovations, always with a strong commitment to high quality.

Coming from another island, Jordan Olive Oil’s organic and conventionally grown blends of Kolovi and Adramitiani olive oils from Lesvos captured one Gold award and two Silvers. As Bastian Jordan explained to Greek Liquid Gold, his team’s cultivation practices emphasize biodiversity and sustainability. “We do not water the olives, allowing the trees' deep roots to thrive in fertile soil.” Moreover, he said, “our commitment to quality and sustainability extends to our partnerships with other farming families, providing stability and ensuring the best cultivation practices over generations. We are families who cherish life on Lesvos and are proud to be part of the island's millennia-old olive tradition.” This began with Bastian Jordan’s grandparents, who immigrated to Lesvos from Germany in the late 1980s and began cultivating olives there, eventually collaborating with the Protoulis family.

Jordan believes “our success stems from a blend of traditional methods, cutting-edge technology, and a constant drive to improve every day.” Feeling “a profound connection to the land and our craft,” they are creative in their drive for greater sustainability: their olive byproducts are used to make knife handles, stools, and benches. As Jordan adds, “in a time when the world faces expensive olive oil and violent conflicts, our focus remains on supporting sustainable agriculture, fair trade, and community resilience. These efforts are what truly matter, as they contribute to a more equitable and peaceful world.”  

Three Silver awards went to EVOOs from another environmentally-conscious company in Lesvos, Falcon SA. Three of their Ol’eve Organic monovarietal extra virgin olive oils won prizes. Nana Kanakaki told Greek Liquid Gold her company’s team is “dedicated to redefining the production and perception of extra virgin olive oil” with “a state-of-the-art olive mill and an innovative approach to agriculture, including the use of seaweed compost to nourish our olive trees” and improve olive oil quality. Kanakaki explained that their “estate, once a desertified, barren land, now thrives as a sustainable olive grove with 50,000 olive trees alongside a diverse mix of 20,000 other trees, birds, and animals, creating a bustling biodiversity hub. This transformation supports the production of premium quality extra virgin olive oil and showcases our commitment to environmental recovery.”

Kanakaki feels that their awards from international competitions “highlight our ability to produce exceptional EVOO under challenging conditions by respecting and leveraging nature's gifts. This achievement holds particular significance in today’s context, where the price of olive oil reflects both the labor-intensive nature of sustainable agriculture and the complexities of global supply chains affected by economic and geopolitical tensions.” Kanakaki considers the cost and the effort truly worthwhile, since they “contribute to the planet's restoration.” In fact, she believes “our olive oil is not just a product, but also a testament to what can be achieved when nature is treated as a partner in production.”

Once nature’s work and producers’ work have been completed, companies turn to marketing and distribution, and Olive Japan offers winners support with these activities. Japanese consumers and buyers can read judges’ comments about the award winning oils’ flavors and aromas and find out where to buy them in an official Olive Japan e-book. The Olive Oil Marche fair for Olive Japan winners, which thousands of consumers visit each year, also helps olive oil companies “become more visible in Japan,” suggested Tunisian judge Naziha Grati Kammoun. This is particularly useful since Japan is the fourth largest market for olive oil imports worldwide, according to the International Olive Council, and consumption is continuing to increase there.  

“The oldest and most prestigious” olive oil competition in the country, according to Spanish judge Agusti Romero, Olive Japan is organized by Mr. Toshiya Tada and the Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan (OSAJ), Japan’s only professional organization for training and certifying olive oil experts. OSAJ is independent from all olive and olive oil companies.

GREEK WINNERS AT OLIVE JAPAN, 2024

Notes on flavor and aroma are available on an Excel document on Olive Japan’s website.

Gold Awards

Company – Olive Oil Name – Style – Cultivars

AMACS - Goutis Estate – Sea Breeze – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki   
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Balanced – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Breeze – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki   
Jordan Olivenöl Gmbh – Jordan Olivenöl - Nativ Extra – Delicate Blend – Kolovi, Adramitiani
Melissa-Kikizas SA – Terra Creta Grand Cru Koroneiki EVOO – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki   
Melissa-Kikizas SA – Terra Creta Infusions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Natural Infused Garlic – Flavored Monovarietal – Koroneiki   
Melissa-Kikizas SA – Terra Creta Infusions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Natural Infused Basil – Flavored Monovarietal – Koroneiki  

Silver Awards

Company – Olive Oil Name – Style – Cultivars

8k Greek Olive Oils – 8k Greek Olive Oils - Koroneiki – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki           
Agriston Trade Ltd – Argilos I Early – Robust Monovarietal – Chalkidikis   
Falcon SA – Oleve Organic Early Harvest – Robust Monovarietal – Kalamon   
Falcon SA – Oleve Organic Early Harvest Kolovi Variety – Robust Monovarietal – Kolovi           
Falcon SA – Oleve Organic Faros Sigri – Medium Monovarietal – Adramytini   
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Bella Vista – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki   
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Premium – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Blossom – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki, Makri, Lianolia
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Miller's Blend – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki   
AMACS - Goutis Estate – Sakura – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki, Makri,  Lianolia
Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises – L&Ko Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Delicate Monovarietal – Kolovi           
Hellenic Fields Ltd – Ena Ena Organic PGI Olympia – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki           
Hellenic Fields Ltd – Ena Ena Three Roots Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Medium Blend – Koroneiki, Manaki, Athinolia   
Jordan Olivenöl Gmbh – Jordan Bio Olivenöl - Nativ Extra – Delicate Blend – Kolovi, Adramitiani       
Jordan Olivenöl Gmbh – Jordan Olivenöl - Bambatsa - Nativ Extra – Medium Blend – Kolovi, Adramitiani       
Ktima Lymperis IKE – Askra the Valley of Muses – Medium Monovarietal – Megaritiki           
Sparta Gourmet – Sparta Gourmet – Medium Monovarietal – Koroneiki       


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