SOUTH Gippsland olives oils were rated as Australia’s best at the 17th National Extra Virgin Olive Oil awards held in Hobart last week. Grassy Spur Olives, a small, boutique olive grove at Stony Creek, scooped the pool to be awarded three gold medals and the Best Oil in Show award against the biggest names in the industry.
Helen and Peter Wright from Grassy Spur Olives took home Class 1 – Single Estate (minimum 200 litres per oil) gold medals for three of their extra virgin olive oils. Their varietal oils of Picual, Coratina and Frantoio were recognised as having outstanding qualities. To add to their surprise and to thunderous applause, their Picual oil was also announced as ‘Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Show’ ahead of Cobram Estate’s entry that won Gold at the prestigious New York Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition recently.
The Grassy Spur and Cobram Estate entries were the equal highest points scoring gold medal winning oils.
Chief judge Richard Gawel was called on to split them with a blind-tasting and named Grassy Spur Olives the victor. He commented that the Grassy Spur Picual extra virgin olive oil was “world-class, and would stand up at any international competition”. It was a David and Goliath tussle with the little man coming out on top! Grassy Spur’s olive processors Andrew and Lyn Jamieson of Golden Creek Olives at Fish Creek were also successful, being awarded a gold medal and two Bronze medals.
Lyn and Andrew were delighted to attract a gold award for their estate-grown and processed Arbequina/Picual blend and bronze awards for each of their Leccino and Frantoio varieties, also in Class 1 – Single Estate. Both businesses have consistently received awards on a national level for their extra virgin olive oils. These awards confirm what South Gippsland olive growers have believed for four years now; that the soil and climate of South Gippsland consistently produces great extra virgin olive oils with aroma and taste characteristics that are amongst the best in the Australia. The Australian Olive Association hosts the annual National Olive Industry Conference and Trade Exhibition which to bring together national and international experts to discuss the latest in technology and research. Results from the 18th Annual Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Table Olives competition can be found on http://www.australianolives.com.au/blog/welcome