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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.

With the fourth highest number of awards at OLIVINUS this year, Greece came out ahead of Italy, which took home six awards from this competition, according to the OLIVINUS website, the source of all statistics reported here. This year, 441 samples were submitted to OLIVINUS by 196 companies from 17 countries, with only 37% of the EVOOs winning awards.

The OLIVINUS site indicates that this competition is considered one of the most important, prestigious international contests for EVOOs, second only to the International Olive Council’s Mario Solinas awards. It is so well respected because of the large number of samples received from at least 16 countries each year, because “all the EVOOs come directly from … producers, not importers or distributors,” and since it “is the only one in the world” judging more olive oils from outside the host country than from within it.

The EVOO World Ranking considers OLIVINUS on the same level as the Terraolivo (Israel), Los Angeles (USA), New York (USA), Domina (Italy), BIOL (Italy), and EVOOLEUM (Spain) International Olive Oil Competitions. 

Argyri Kelidi’s Kyklopas Olive Mill Organic EVOO captured a Top 20 award at OLIVINUS as well as a Gran Prestige Gold Award and another prize from OLIVINUS KIDS. In addition, Kyklopas Olive Mill EVOO took home another Gran Prestige Gold. (OLIVINUS KIDS is “the only contest in the world where judges are children between 8 and 14 years” who have already had years of training in sensory analysis of EVOOs.)  

Kelidi, president of Kyklopas, commented that her company is “very proud of our successes,” which “vindicate the choices we made,” including their “insistence on quality…at all stages of production.” This is part of their “constant search for perfection.” Some of the secrets of their success? The organoleptic characteristics of their olive variety, Makri, and their family’s privately owned olive mill, which they use as a “space for experimentation and continuous improvement” of their EVOO’s quality.

Oliorama Exclusive Bio PGI Olympia and Oliorama PGI Olympia both won Gran Prestige Gold Awards, while Oliorama Exclusive Bio was also awarded a prize at OLIVINUS KIDS and a Premio Presentación Global Award at OLIVINUS DESIGN 2016, which focuses on “the great advances” in “the design and presentation of the bottle, label design, overall design and final presentation to the consumer” (OLIVINUS). 

Oliorama owner Maria Spiliakopoulou says her company is “very proud and delighted” that their “hard work and preparation is verified and honored” by these awards in four different categories. The awards show that their “vision to continue an ancient tradition is on the right path” and motivate them to continue their effort to focus on high quality “from the very beginning to the very end” (from olive grove to storage) for “excellent quality products and service.”

Olympian Green won Gran Prestige Gold Awards for both their Extra Virgin Olive Oil Oly Oil Traditional and their Greek Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Ktima Louiza. Business development manager Catherine Papaioannou explains that her company is very “proud that our continuous efforts to offer the international market a variety of high quality and healthy products have been recognized by esteemed organizations who perform blind tests.” Their “so called secret is very simple: hard work,” no shortcuts on quality, “state of the art technology and honest, transparent, prompt” service for their clients.

Artion Greek Foods won a Gran Prestige Gold Award for their Stories of Greek Origins EVOO from the Sitia, Lasithi, Crete PDO, and also received a Premio Botella Etiqueta Award at OLIVINUS DESIGN 2016. Stories of Greek Origins co-founder Anastasia Astypaliotou is “very honored that people with knowledge and expertise appreciate our efforts” as they strive “to produce the highest quality olive oils and promote our country’s treasures.” Their secret? Don’t take the easy way out; do things right. In addition, they are “fortunate to produce olive oil from a blessed place, the tiny village of Dafni in the Sitia Region in Crete, 800 meters altitude, from olive groves where all nature’s gifts and secrets” lead to “an ideal environment.”

Greka Icons won Prestige Gold Awards for both Navarino Icons Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Navarino Icons Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Navarino Icons team is pleased to be honored with these awards, which recognize their efforts to provide the best possible Koroneiki olive oils to their customers by taking good care of their olive fruits and carefully controlling their production process in Messinia, Southern Peloponnese, where olive oil has been important since Mycenaean times.

Papadopoulos Olive Oil won both a Gran Prestige Gold Award and a Premio Botella Etiqueta at OLIVINUS DESIGN 2016 for Mythocia Omphacium Organic, plus a Prestige Gold for Mythocia Bio Olympia PGI. Liá Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil won a Gran Prestige Gold Award, an award from OLIVINUS KIDS, and a Premio Botella Etiqueta Award at OLIVINUS DESIGN 2016.

Winemaker Leonardo Castellani was the Director General of samples for OLIVINUS, while Dr. Antonio Lauro was Director of the International Expert Panel, and sensory analysis expert Raul Cesar Castellani was the competition’s General Director. This year, the publication of the full competition results seems to have been delayed due to the unexpected death of Castellani, which Indra Galbo called “a huge loss for the world [of] wine and olive oil.”
In a tribute to “a life spent in defense of quality wine and extra virgin olive oil,” Indra Galbo wrote, “the world has lost one of the world’s most solid experts in sensorial analysis,” an “organizer of olive oil and wine competitions.” As Galbo added, Castellani  was a “judge in 674 wine competitions worldwide since 1978. He then became President and CEO of 149 international wine competitions and 22 olive oil contests.” Moreover, “it is thanks to Castellani that [the] EVOO World Ranking exists. He is also behind the organization of … extra virgin olive oil events the likes of Olivinus, TerraOlivo-Jerusalem, Olivinus Niños.” The olive oil and wine worlds will miss him.

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