First-Time Winners Reflect on World Competition Victories

Producers from around the world said their NYIOOC awards were lifting sales and customer trust.

Photo: Mas Des Bories
Aug. 10, 2022
By Lisa Anderson
Photo: Mas Des Bories

Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Hundreds of farm­ers and pro­duc­ers have been cel­e­brat­ing their first-ever awards at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

In the 2022 edi­tion of the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion, 223 pro­duc­ers received an award in their first time enter­ing the con­test, well above the rolling five-year aver­age of 204 debut win­ners.

We have had some of our best sales weeks ever since win­ning Gold at the NYIOOC.- Tim Dugan, Cockatoo Grove

First-time win­ners told Olive Oil Times that receiv­ing awards at the com­pe­ti­tion had already improved their brand’s cred­i­bil­ity and boosted the sales of their extra vir­gin olive oils.

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We have had some of our best sales weeks ever since win­ning Gold at the NYIOOC,” said Tim Dugan, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of Cockatoo Grove, an Australian pro­ducer from Victoria who won two Gold Awards for a pair of organic medium blends.

We have had strong inter­est from a num­ber of large retail­ers who have con­grat­u­lated us on the win,” he added. It has been pow­er­ful to have an affir­ma­tion like this.”


The team at Cockatoo Grove

Dugan said he decided to enter the NYIOOC for pro­fes­sional feed­back on his oils and to see how they com­pared with the best in the world.

Any suc­cess we had would be a tes­ta­ment to the hard work and expe­ri­ence of our grove team and would raise the pro­file of our brand amongst con­sumers and retail­ers,” he said.

At times, you can either be biased or too crit­i­cal of your own oil,” Dugan added. It was a very proud moment and a real thrill to hear we had been awarded Gold with both oils we entered.”

Cockatoo Grove was one of six pro­duc­ers from Australia who com­bined to win 13 awards at the NYIOOC.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean, the owner of Luretík from the Santa Ynez Valley in Central California scooped up a Silver Award. Elise Magistro said the impact on her brand has been notice­able since win­ning the award for her Sicily brand.


Elise Magistro

It has helped us estab­lish cred­i­bil­ity and enhanced our rep­u­ta­tion as a California pro­ducer of high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” she said. We entered the NYIOOC to see how our organic extra vir­gin olive oil mea­sured up against the best European olive oils and to ele­vate the pro­file of California extra vir­gin olive oil.”

For Magistro, sup­port­ing locally-pro­duced olive oil is espe­cially impor­tant in the United States, given the vast quan­ti­ties Americans con­sume – an aver­age of 370,000 tons per annum, accord­ing to the International Olive Council, a fig­ure esti­mated to reach 401,000 tons in the cur­rent crop year.

She argues that sourc­ing olive oil domes­ti­cally sup­ports California’s econ­omy and helps reduce a consumer’s car­bon foot­print.

The award was unex­pected, and the feel­ing is won­der­ful,” Magistro added, describ­ing how it felt when she learned about the awards for Luretik’s organic medium blend of Nocellara del Belice and Cerasuola olives.

Winning a Silver Award in New York val­i­dated our efforts and strength­ened our resolve to improve our prod­uct and our cus­tomers’ expe­ri­ence,” she said.

Magistro added that although hot spring winds dimin­ished their 2021 har­vest, they were pleased with the high qual­ity of their award-win­ning oil.

Given all that Mother Nature can inflict on farm­ers, we were more than sat­is­fied with the year’s har­vest,” she said.

On the other side of the Americas, MF Agropastoril cel­e­brated a year of firsts on the back of a record year for Brazilian pro­duc­ers.


Harvesting olives in Rio Grqande do Sul at MF Agropastoril’s estate

The Rio Grande do Sol-based pro­ducer was awarded for the first time at the com­pe­ti­tion for oils pro­duced dur­ing its first com­mer­cial har­vest, earn­ing two Gold Awards for its Pedregais brand.

Co-owner Flavo Fernandes said the awards were help­ing his fledg­ling brand stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion and help­ing increase brand aware­ness among Brazilian con­sumers.

Everyone rec­og­nizes that hav­ing two olive oils awarded at the NYIOOC dur­ing their first par­tic­i­pa­tion shows ded­i­ca­tion in all stages of the process,” he said, from the man­age­ment of the plants, han­dling of fruits, man­ual har­vest and extrac­tion of the oil.”

Fernandes added that the com­pany decided to enter the NYIOOC due to its rep­u­ta­tion. It was like say­ing: We have excel­lent olive oil; why not con­firm that with a prize in an excel­lent con­test,” he explained.

News of the company’s suc­cess in June came as a wel­come relief after what Fernandes said was a rel­a­tively stress­ful process of first, mak­ing sure the olive oils had arrived safely in New York and then wait­ing, daily, for a pos­si­ble award, with­out any cer­tainty.”

Finally, a wave of relief and hap­pi­ness came for Fernandes and his fam­ily when the result was announced.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Claire de Fina Coutin, the owner of Mas des Bories from south­east­ern France, said the Gold Award her team received for their medium blend at the 2022 NYIOOC made them happy and proud.


Adding the NYIOOC award sticker to her bottles increases Claire de Fina Coutin’s credibility with her customers.

This award has also given us new energy to con­tinue, and it has improved our cred­i­bil­ity with our cus­tomers,” she said.

Since their tri­umphs were announced in May, De Fina Coutin has noticed a strength­ened trust in the brand among exist­ing cus­tomers.

She said Mas des Bories entered the World Competition because they wanted the chal­lenge of com­pet­ing pro­fes­sion­ally at an inter­na­tional level.

A sec­ond rea­son is related to the United States mar­ket, where our Mas des Bories oil has been present for sev­eral years,” she said. The U.S. is one of my pri­or­ity mar­kets, so it also seemed impor­tant to me to be a part of this com­pe­ti­tion.”

De Fina Coutin said the pre­vi­ous har­vest was slightly dis­ap­point­ing in vol­ume com­pared to their expec­ta­tions. But the drop in pro­duc­tion in 2021 was com­pen­sated by slightly above-aver­age oil yields and very high oil qual­ity,” she said.


The olive groves of Mercorural

Further south­west, in Portugal’s north­ern Trás-os-Montes region, Eduardo Casas cel­e­brated win­ning a Gold Award for a medium organic blend.

The mar­ket­ing man­ager of Mercorural said win­ning the cov­eted award, which they received with immense joy and pride,” has now given them another tool with which to pro­mote their brand.

All of our bot­tles are deliv­ered to cus­tomers with the award label,” he said.

Casas first learned about the com­pe­ti­tion after doing research online. He added that Mercorural pro­duced its award-win­ning oil after a har­vest he described as a suc­cess in terms of qual­ity and quan­tity.

We chose the right moment to start the har­vest and assure that dur­ing that time, all pro­ce­dures and logis­tics are set­tled,” he con­cluded.


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