And Again …

Winners in New Zealand’s most prestigious competition for olive oil were announced recently at a formal dinner held in Wellington. The New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards are run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers.

Loopline Olives from Wairarapa took out the 2017 Best in Show as well as Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Single Varietal Class with their Loopline Picual. Reserve Best in Show was Robinsons Bay GB2 from Akaroa.

Juno Olives from Wairarapa won the Best in Boutique Category for growers who produce less than 250 litres of certified extra virgin olive oil, as well as Best in Class in the Boutique Medium Single Varietal Class with their Juno Picual. Reserve Best Boutique was Blue Earth Tuscan Blend, also from Wairarapa.

Best Flavoured Oil was won by The Olive Press, Wairarapa with their Pressed Gold – Lemon/Lime Infused.

Medals were spread across New Zealand’s growing regions with 44 going to Wairarapa, 12 to Canterbury, 9 to Nelson, 8 each to Hawke’s Bay and Kapiti, 6 to Northland, 4 to Auckland and 1 each to Bay of Plenty, Central Otago, Marlborough and Waiheke Island. This equated to 19 Gold Medals, 43 Silver Medals and 33 Bronze Medals, a total of 95 medals.

The judging panel of six trained and experienced international and New Zealand olive oil tasters praised both of the top winning oils. They said “Loopline Picual has a savoury complex aroma with fresh herbaceous flavours tantalising the palate. Well balanced and harmonious oil. Juno Picual has sweet ripe tomato with sweet vegetable hints. Well balanced with a lingering flavour and clean lively finish.”

Loopline Olives is owned by Mark and Kate Bunny. It is a medium sized grove of approximately 900 trees established in 2001. This is the 2nd occasion that Loopline Olives has won the supreme award, having taken out the top award also in 2014. They have been consistent medal winners at other previous Awards.

The Head Judge, Dr Giuseppe Di Lecce commented on the quality of the oils entered in New Zealand’s top olive oil awards. He said “I have been involved in the assessment of olive oils at international competitions this year, including the prestigious New York International. The oils entered in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards, in particular the Picual, are some of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oils I have tasted this season.”

For a full list of results see

2016 Olive Oil Awards NZ

The Olive Press Wins Again

500ml-oil-makers-blend-1-webThe Olive Press Ltd has once again won “Best Processor” in the annual Olives New Zealand awards. This is the third year running that TOP has achieved this result.

In another major coup, the company’s flagship oil brand, Pressed Gold, has won “Best in Category” in its first showing at the awards.

As well as these achievements, Wairarapa producers were very highly represented in the overall results, taking out a large number of the major gongs.

The full list of 2016 awards (as well as previous years) can be seen here.

Local Gold Awards Presentation

Recently South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples hosted a morning tea and presented the two South Wairarapa Gold Awards Finalists Certificates to Schoc Chocolates and The Olive Press. Both were finalists in Emerging Services, and both from Greytown – not bad for a town with population 2202 (2013 Census).

Both businesses were Finalists in the Emerging Gold – Products category, which focuses on businesses with 10 or less full time employees.

The Gold Awards are the Wellington region’s business awards and they have been celebrating inspiring Wellington businesses since 1999.  This year 1,000 business people including the Prime Minister John Key attended the black-tie dinner at TSB Bank Arena to celebrate the finalists and applaud the winners.

Adrienne commented on how both businesses further demonstrated the disproportionate wealth of entrepreneurial energy in the Wairarapa.

TOP stars in Rural Delivery TV episode

The Olive Press’ Managing Director Bruce McCallum appeared on the Rural Delivery TV programme recently telling the story of the business and how it has changed over the 15 years of its existence.

Operations Manager Bill Hey explains the process of oil extraction and the other services TOP offers.

TOP Oils Clean Up at National Awards

Wairarapa olive oils had a massive showing at this year’s national awards.

The region scored exponentially more medals than any other region with 29 medals going to Wairarapa, 8 each to Hawke’s Bay and Nelson, 7 to Kapiti, 5 each to Auckland and Northland, 3 each to Canterbury and Waiheke Island and 1 to Bay of Plenty.

TOP was also named Best Processor for the second year in a row.

The Head Judge, Peter Olson from Australia, commented on the quality of the oils entered in New Zealand’s top olive oil awards. He said “I have been involved in the assessment of olive oils from Australia, California and New Zealand this year. The oils entered in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards are some of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oils I have tasted this season.”

The full list of awards can be seen here.

Our New Retail Shop is Open!

The Olive Market at The Olive Press, Greytown, Wairarapa

Our new ‘factory shop’ is now open for business.

Named “The Olive Market @ The Olive Press”, the shop provides a specialist retail outlet for our shareholders and pressing clients. It has long been the dream of TOP MD Bruce McCallum and on Friday 9 October it became a reality.

The shop stocks branded Wairarapa extra virgin olive oil, a range of infused oils from our local producers, table olives from Hawke’s Bay, olive oil body products and some stainless steel storage containers. We will be adding to the product range regularly.

All olive oil for sale at The Olive Market has been pressed on the premises.

A feature of the new retail store is the tasting table where free oil tastings are available. A weekly roster of two or three brands will be on display and there’s a good chance our growers will be available to discuss their products from time to time.

Another Olive Market initiative is the provision of ‘fill your own’ bulk oil. Unbranded oil from some of the local groves we manage and pressed at The Olive Press will be available in 5 litre quantities – bring your own container or we have some for sale.

TOP Managing Director Bruce McCallum says “it’s another part of what the company is doing to drive the industry, to educate the public that quality olive oil should be part of our diet.”

The retail shop is part of The Olive Press complex at 14 Arbor Place, off Bidwills Cutting Road (the road to Martinborough) at the south end of Greytown.

Grand Opening for New TOP Greytown Facility

The Olive Press new facility opening May 2015

VIPs at the opening of our new facility in Greytown

Our new pressing facility and retail shop in Arbor Place, Greytown was opened by the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy, on Sunday 25 May 2015.

Other VIPs in attendance were the Minister’s family, along with MP for Wairarapa, Alastair Scott, Olives NZ President Andrew Taylor and Chair of Greytown’s Papawai Marae, Paora Ammunson.

A large turnout of local growers as well as visitors from Hawke’s Bay and the Kapiti Coast were treated to a ‘live’ demonstration of TOP’s press, from loading of freshly-picked fruit through to the finished product from the separator.

See more images from the event here.

Visit by American Professors

Olives NZ coordinated a series of visits in New Zealand by two eminent American professors who are on international sabbatical studying the chemistry and health benefits of olive oil.  Pat O’Hara is Professor of Chemistry at Amherst College, New England. Her husband Richard Blatchly is Professor of Chemistry at Keene State College in New Hampshire. Their sabbatical has involved visiting olive groves in the Mediterranean, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

While in New Zealand Pat and Richard visited The Olive Press – Wairarapa, The Village Press – Hawke’s Bay, The Olive Place – Auckland and Rangihoua Estate and The Waiheke Olive Oil Company – Waiheke Island.

Olives New Zealand wishes to acknowledge appreciation of the hosting of Pat and Richard by these processors, especially as many are already involved in processing 2015 harvests. Pat and Richard enjoyed their visits and said these have added to their knowledge of the international olive industry. While in Wairarapa and Auckland they had the chance to meet with local growers and this was also worthwhile from their perspective. Thanks to Bruce and Mary McCallum and Ross and Margaret Legh for hosting these meetings and accommodating Pat and Richard.

Pictured above are Pat and Richard with Bill Hey at The Olive Press, Wairarapa.

(Reprinted from Olives NZ newsletter – see the whole newsletter here.)

Wairarapa Olive Grower Wins Top National Award

Bunnys Loopline Olives AwardA Wairarapa olive oil company has proven it has the good oil, scooping the top prize in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards.

Kate and Mark Bunny, owners of Loopline Olives, won the Best in Show prize on Saturday with their picholine variety olive oil.

The awards, which are run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers, recognise excellence in certified extra virgin olive oil.

See the full Wairarapa Times-Age story here.

You can see the full list of awards here.