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EVOO Competitions - Why We Enter

by Greg Traynor

Competitions may seem like the ultimate way to satisfy a grower/miller olive oil ego. However, more important reasons to justify entering. Extra Virgin Olive Oil competitions provide valuable feedback from professionals trained to taste even slight differences and defects in a vast array of olive oil varieties. Feedback from professional tasters provides knowledge to improve harvest timing, irrigation management and milling variables. We welcome the feedback. Competition also keeps premium producers honest. If you aren’t producing consistently high quality EVOO, how can you justify a premium price for your oil? I’m not saying that competitions are an exact science or a perfect determination of value every year. Taste panel members have a difficult job. Their palates are diverse. They can be forced to overwork their sensory ability under the short timeline scheduled for the competition. Depending on the panel and their workload, results for the same oil may vary from competition to competition. Overall though, I am glad to enter competitions. The feedback and comparisons are useful, and the awards give appreciation to a job well done.