THIS country’s finest olive oil comes from Franschhoek in the Boland. Waterfall River Farm beat twenty contenders in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition with an oil made from its maiden vintage.
The results of the first SA Olive Awards were announced last month at Laborie in Paarl. Winners were awarded in three categories: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Table Olives and Achiever of the Year. According to the organisers, SA Olive, it is the first table olive competition held locally and the first time that a person or entity has been recognised for outstanding achievement.
Morgenster’s green Nocellara olives were awarded the Alfa Laval trophy for Best Table Olives entered in the competition.
The SA Olive Achiever of the Year award went to Gerrie Duvenage, who has been involved with the local industry for the past 17 years. Duvenage was recognised for playing a pivotal role in all aspects of the olive industry making significant contributions to each key segment of the value chain.
Richard and Silvana Atkinson of Waterfall River Farm walked off with the Consol trophy for Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The winning oil, made from their organic orchard, is a blend of Frantoio, Leccino and Coratina and was described as “very well-balanced with lots of olive fruitiness on the aroma”.
The Franschhoek Olive Oil Company and Hillcrest Estate near Durbanville scooped gold medals for their extra virgin olive oils, while Morgenster Estate in Somerset West, The Olive Shed at Tokara near Stellenbosch and Olyfberg-El Olivar of Eilandia in the Breede River Valley each scored silver.
Only extra virgin olive oils were allowed to be submitted and gold awards went to oils that scored more than 75% and silver to oils above 70%. Linda Costa, convenor of the tasting panel comments, “The overall quality of the entries was outstanding and therefore, to maintain this standard of excellence in these competitions, it was decided that only gold and silver awards will be considered.”
The Alfa Laval trophy for Best Table Olives entered in the competition was awarded to Morgenster for its green Nocellara olives, described as “tasty, crisp and well-processed”. Five table olive entries were judged worthy recipients of silver awards, namely Morgenster’s green olives, black olives and Kalamata olives; Olives South Africa’s Kalamata olives; and Hillcrest Estate’s flavoured olives.
Table olives were entered as green, black or flavoured and judged for their aroma, appearance, consistency of appearance and colour, flavours like saltiness and acidity, texture and overall balance.
With the Absa SA Olive Achiever of the Year award, SA Olive – the official representative body of the South African olive industry – paid tribute to individuals who have done the industry proud.
According to Peter Dall, chairman of the Achiever judging, this year’s achiever, Gerrie Duvenage, was honoured for the integral role he played with regard to the introduction of new olive cultivars better suited for the South African climate. Since he joined the Morgenster team, he has helped to establish 100 000 trees per year for distribution to other growers. He has been instrumental in developing local tasting panels and tutors courses in olive oil tasting. As an expert in the field, he has become a mentor to many aspiring olive growers.