Award-Winning Olive Oil
Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, Rio Largo Olive Oil, an award winning estate, is situated in the Scherpenheuwel valley between Worcester and Robertson on the southern banks of the Breede River.
RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE uses various cultivars; Frantoio, Leccino, FS-17 and Coratina. All cultivars originate from Italy and are known to compliment each other in making up a well balanced extra virgin Olive Oil. The cultivars ripen at different times during the harvest which determines that olives are handpicked at optimal ripeness rather than being faced with all fruit ripening simultaneously and then having to harvest some unripe and some over ripe. Frantoio is the dominant cultivar with good oil yields and a fruity flavour whilst Coratina is pungent, strong and peppery and Leccino is very smooth and mild. Such cultivars have become the preferred blend for Italian oils and were specifically developed for high quality oil.
RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE adopts biological farming methods for sustainable agriculture by “putting more back than you take out” together with overall concern for protecting the environment for future generations. Mineral deficiencies are a common feature in modern day agriculture and RIO LARGO addresses this problem by taking regular soil and leaf samples to determine replacement through annual biological fertility programmes.
The estate nursery provides superior rootstock for own replanting and expansion requirements as well as sales to the like minded public.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest quality olive oil. It is characterised by perfect flavour, odour, a maximum acidity (oleic acid) of 1g/100g – 1% with maximum peroxide value equivalent 02/kg of 20. In South Africa, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is judged by a panel of experts for taste, mouth feel, and aroma. This oil contains the most health benefits when fresh which reduces with oxidation and exposure to heat and light.
Olive Oil Production Process
The olives grown on the RIO LARGO ESTATE are hand picked, thus providing much needed employment for the people in the valley. The hand picking method guarantees that the fruit remains intact with little or no bruising and to avoid fermentation. The fruit is crushed fresh on the same day of picking. The oil is cold- extracted in a state of the art Italian Oliomio Extraction Plant which is linked into a management control system in Italy. Once processed the oil is immediately stored in stainless steel tanks by cultivar and topped with a layer of nitrogen to prevent oxidation.
The oil is filtered to remove moisture and any natural fine sediment settles by gravity in the tanks. The storage room is kept at a constant temperature of 16°C.
The entire process results in a completely natural product without additives or preservatives. Only bottled on order off the farm for absolute freshness throughout the year. All conditions are thus created for the production of the finest extra-virgin olive oil.
Certification Of The Olive Oil
Nick is personally responsible for the ensuring that every aspect of the farm is under his watchful eye and is passionate about the olive oils he produces on the estate; storing the olive oils under optimal conditions and only bottling this special product on order, ensuring quality from tree to table with every litre shared.
A current, independent chemical analysis is available for each year of harvest , should it be required.
RIO LARGO is an accredited Member of the SA Olive Association and voluntarily submit all oils to the SA OLIVE ASSOCIATION for submission to their Certificate of Compliance Scheme www.saolive.co.za
As an accredited member of the SA Olive Association, RIO LARGO complies with and operates to their prescribed international standards of excellence and displays the CTC seal on all products.
For the consumer, this Commitment to Compliance seal means the following:
- The producer confirms that the content is 100% South African.
- The year of harvest will be prominently displayed, indicating the freshness of the oil.
- The producer is committed to the standards set in the SA Olive Codes of Practice, which are based on international quality standards.
- Honest and transparent labelling – if the label states that the content is Extra Virgin, the producer verifies that the content is in fact Extra Virgin and not Virgin, or a refined olive oil.