Six virgins grab top awards at New York International Olive Oil Competition

by | May 30, 2022 | News

Once again, New Zealand olive oil makers have won recognition against top international competition

From Wairarapa, Loopline Olives have won two Gold Medals at the 2022 New York International Olive Oil Competition. Blue Earth has won one Gold medal and Dali Olives has won a Silver. From Kapiti, Totara Tunnel has won a Gold and Kapiti Olives has won a Silver.

With a record of more than 1200 entries from 28 countries, the New York competition is considered to be the most prestigious in the world. For six weeks, the results have unfolded in real-time as the judges’ findings were verified progressively. It was the largest olive oil competition ever conducted, thanks to a team of 21 expert tasters in eleven countries who adhered to a remote-judging protocol developed by the NYIOOC. A total of 543 Gold medals and 258 Silver medals were awarded, making a grand total of 801 medals.

Since 2017 Olives New Zealand has selected the top winning entries from the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards to enter in The New York Competition. Additionally, some producers chose to enter independently. Each year Gold medals have been awarded. Of particular note, Loopline Olives and Blue Earth are multiple Gold winners, Kapiti Olives and Dali Olives have also previously won Gold. For the second time a New Zealand Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil was entered, this time from Totara Tunnel Kapiti. A boutique grove of approximately 550 trees, registered as organic and committed to sustainable growing principles. Of special note is that all of the 2022 NYIOOC Gold medal winners were produced by The Olive Press, New Zealand’s top olive mill for the past eight years.

“The fact that once again the top winning oils from the New Zealand Awards have won Gold medals at the New York Competition is a huge tribute to the calibre of the New Zealand olive oil judging panel. They have been trained to international standard and most have judged internationally. Their outstanding competency is evidenced by their top winners consistently winning in competitions like New York,” said Gayle Sheridan, Executive Officer for Olives New Zealand.

Most of the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced is boutique by nature, with limited quantities available and typically not sold in supermarkets. Sheridan wants to encourage people to seek out our locally made, world-beating oils; buying directly from growers online, at speciality retail stores, or at farmers markets, where they can meet the grower and taste their superb oils.

Loop Line Olives
Situated in Opaki, in New Zealand’s Wairarapa region, Loopline Olives specializes in producing the highest quality, single variety certified extra virgin olive oil. All of our 2019 oils are award winning. Five olive varieties grow at Loopline, flourishing in the hot dry summer days, cool nights and crisp winters. Oil is produced from four of the varieties: Picual, Picholene, Leccino and Frantoio. Each is picked and pressed separately to celebrate this special fruit juice’s individual qualities.

Blue Earth Intense – By Olives New Zealand
Blue Earth Olive Oil is owned by Mike and Margaret Hanson and is located on the outskirts of Martinborough. It is a medium-sized grove of around 1,000 trees. Their Blue Earth Intense won Gold, Best in Class and Reserve Best in Show at the 2021 NZ EVOO Awards. Blue Earth has previously been awarded Gold at the NYIOOC. The judges said: “Black pepper and rocket notes on nose lovely balanced palate with a zingy chili pepper finish.”

Totara Tunnel –  Frantoio 
Totara Tunnel is a boutique grove of around 550 trees located on the Kāpiti Coast and owned by Brent Meldrum and Sally Murrey. It is one of the few olive groves in New Zealand following organic practices. Their Frantoio won Best in Class and Reserve Best Boutique in the 2021 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards. The judges said “A delightful balanced oil. With black pepper and grassy notes on the nose with a pleasant medium intensity lingering (chilli) finish on the palate.”

The Vintiner’s Grove produces Dali EVOO
In Martinborough: “We grow biologically and harvest early to capture the highest phenols and herbaceous flavors that characterize Dali oils. Picual, Frantoio and Leccino olives are produced commercially, along with Kalamata olives. The grove produces high annual yields of olives and oil.”

Kapiti Olives – Kapiti Frantoio Blend
Kapiti Olives is a commercial grove of 2,300 trees owned by David and Helen Walshaw. Their Frantoio Blend won Gold, Best in Class and Best in Show at the 2021 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards. They have previously won Gold at the NYIOOC. The judges said: “An outstanding and harmonious oil. With floral notes over black pepper and green grass. Vibrant in the mouth with a warm lingering finish.”

Sheridan says: “New Zealand has a maritime climate and a different environment from traditional olive-growing countries. Like the New Zealand wine industry, we produce distinctive and complex tasting oils that are suited to a variety of uses. Our olive oil is fresh, and fresh tastes best. We would encourage Kiwis, if they don’t buy New Zealand olive oil already, to try something new, and support our world-class local growers.People should look for the red OliveMark to ensure they are buying the authentic New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil product. Imported products are not required to meet the same stringent standards, and some New Zealand brands are imported oil that is packaged in New Zealand.”

About Olives New Zealand

Olives New Zealand provides olive growers with support and information to help them produce premium quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and olive products. You can find out more at


About the Author


Related Posts

Plastic free July: Sneaky plastics hiding in plain sight

Plastic free July: Sneaky plastics hiding in plain sight

#PlasticFreeJuly Household items that seem benign are some of the most common sources of microplastics, according to new research from the University of Canterbury. Clothing and soft furnishings, glitter, kitchen sponges, nail polish, sunscreen, mascara, and lipsticks...

7 top food trends from the latest Summer Fancy Food Show

7 top food trends from the latest Summer Fancy Food Show

Expert trend-spotters go hunting for foodie highlights and products in the booming specialty food industry.  After two-years operating remotely, New York's Summer Fancy Food Show returned in June to the city's Javits Center. During the past pandemic years, comfort has...