12 Oct

Medals put Waipara on world olive-oil map

by Tim Cronshaw,

Waipara has established itself as an olive-growing district, after groves there won three gold medals at the Olives New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards in Wellington.

Among the gold-medal oils were a leccino, frantoio and barnea- Bevian blend and another Bevian blend from seven varieties by Olive Agencies New Zealand owners Ian and Bev Manson, and a Bellbird blend of manzanillo and nabali by Tom Porter, from Waipara Olive Grove and Vineyard.

They each received a silver medal, while Bruce and Jill Chapman, from Waipara Terraces, won two silvers, and Philipa and Edward Charlesworth, from Chetterwood Estate in Hawarden, took a silver.

Ian Manson said the award results placed Waipara on the olive- oil producing map. The medal haul was encouraging for a district still at the young stage.

“The publicity is important for the Waipara Valley, because it runs in tandem with the achievements of the wine industry in the region. It is now evident that we can produce good olive oils,” he said.

The Waipara area won its first gold medal in the competition last year. This year it gained eight medals from eight entries.

Manson said Waipara’s groves escaped the snow that hit Canterbury in June during harvesting of the olives, and the area did not suffer any heavy frosts in the lead- up to picking.

“We missed it all. The olives were in excellent condition, and produced exceptional flavours in the olive oils.”

Waipara was a naturally good growing district, with its stony, free-draining soils and hot daytime and cool evening temperatures, said Manson.

Leading supermarkets from Britain have shown interest in stocking the winning oils.

All the winning oil entries were processed by the Mansons, except for Chetterwood Estate’s silver- medal oil.

Oil production for Canterbury was about 90 tonnes for the season, up from about 30 tonnes last year.

Of the 33 gold medals awarded during the competition, Matapiro Olives, from Hawkes Bay, took six, leading the field for the second successive year.

One of the judges on the panel was Roberto Zecca, from the California Olive Oil Council.

[Source] Click here to continue

Leave a Reply