Willow Creek Olive Estate has become South Africa’s only olive oil producer to secure a foothold in the Top 100 list compiled by World Ranking Extra Virgin Olive Oils . A ranking of #33 on the Top 100 Producers list establishes the estate as a world player; while a #95 for their 2014 Directors’ Reserve allows them to use the ranking’s prestigious title of Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year awarded to theTop 100 olive oils achieving a score of 160 or more.
World Ranking Extra Virgin Olive Oils determines the Top 100 Extra Virgin Olive Oils and the Top 100 Olive Oil Producers according to the number of awards received at 32 international competitionsduring a particular year. The competitions considered are weighted according to global importance, the number of entries received, the number of countries participating and the impact of the relevant competition’s outcome in major consuming areas of the world.
After officially acquiring a position for South Africa on the world olive oil map, Willow Creek is already garnering points in order to maintain their position in 2015.Both extra virgin olive oils they entered in the 17thL’Orciolod’Oro competition in Italy, was awarded Gran Menzione (Grand Mention): their Directors’ Reserve in the category for Intensely Fruity olive oils, and their Estate Blend in the Lightly Fruity category. Being the first international olive oil competition - held annually since 1999 –L’Orciolod’Oro is regarded as one of the most prestigious platforms from which to receive an accolade – or two.
Almost simultaneously the Directors’ Reserve was granted a Gran Prestige Gold from amongst 500 competing olive oils at the Terra Olivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition. Seventeen countries vied for the attention of the 20 international judges but the Directors’ Reserve must have amply impressed the panel to be awarded between 86 and 100 points (out of a total of 100) needed to achieve a Gran Prestige Gold. This competition is weighted as the 3rd globally important competition in terms of the EVOO World Ranking.
On another continent the Directors’ Reserve also staked its claim at the 2015 New York International Olive Oil Competition by winning a Gold Medal. Competing against a record number of 671 olive oils from 25 countries, Willow Creek proudly flew South Africa’s flag by becoming SA’s only producer to earn their inclusion in the list of ‘The World’s Best Olive Oils 2015’ (www.bestoliveoils.com). This highly coveted distinction is bestowed on the various winners of the world’s largest and most publicized olive oil quality competition.
Willow Creek Olive Estate was also graced with no less than 94% in FlosOlei 2015, an Italian-based competition run by the well-known olive oil taster Marco Oreggia. During this competition expert and officially enrolled tasters representing the main olive growing regions in Italy, annually put hundreds of olive oils from around the world through their paces during rigid tastings to rate them according to quality.
“The panels of judges for these international heavyweight competitions include the best olive oil connoisseurs the world over,” says Andries Rabie, MD of Willow Creek. “South Africa does not stand back when it comes to delivering quality olive oils – not even when contending with such olive oil giants as Italy and Spain. And while awards prove the quality of our products, for us the best prize of all is sharing our passion with olive oil lovers around the world.”
The Directors’ Reserve is Willow Creek’s flagship product – an ultra-premium robust olive oil where the dominant cultivars of Coratina and Frantoio are carefully fused to create this powerful composition. Expect complex aromas of tomato vines and artichokes, followed by nuances of rocket, salad herbs and a lingering nuttiness. Experts agree that the satisfying bitterness associated with a robust olive oil and the tingling pungency provide the prefect structure in balance with the distinct flavour.
Willow Creek’s range of products are available at delis and retailers including Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Food Lover’s Market, Spar, Makro and Montague Dried Fruit & Nuts. They also have a tasting room and shop on the estate that are open to the public, as well as a nursery that sells olive trees.
Willow Creek Olive Estate is situated in the Nuy Valley, between Worcester and Robertson in the Western Cape. The region’s lime-rich soils, availability of irrigation water and Mediterranean climate, with dry summers, cold winters and low average rainfall of 200mm per year, make it ideal for producing olives with a complex, appealing flavour profile.