A BOUTIQUE Tasmanian olive grove has taken out the prestigious "best oil of show" at the national awards.The awards were announced during the Australian Olive Association conference at Wangaratta last week.
There were a record number of entries with 223 oils from 101 exhibitors at the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Show.
Described by judges as an "elegant'' entry, the verdale and paragon blend was entered by Tony and Carol O'Neill, Cradle Coast Olives, Abbotsham, Tasmania.
The O'Neills 400-tree grove last won the coveted Best Oil of Show award in 2007.
Their winning entry, Cradle Coat Medley took gold in the hotly contested single estate grown (minimum volume 200 litres) class.
Among the better performing Victorian groves at this year's awards was Kyneton Olives and Boundary Bend.
Kyneton's Trovatello family were awarded best in class trophy for their Family Selection extra virgin olive oil.
They also won gold for the premium Family Selection and manzanillo extra virgin olive oil, plus silver for their Gourmet Blend.
The show drew entries from small family run operations through to Australia's biggest producers.
The oils give a snapshot of the state of the industry and are viewed as a litmus test for the year.
Show chairman Richard Gawel said gold medals were awarded across all classes, with the single estate class a stand out.
Mr Gawel said the most prominent defect was muddy sediment while some oils showed frosted and anthracnosed fruit.
He said the flavoured oil classes had continued to grow in size and quality.
Australian Olive Association president Paul Miller said there was pleasing focus on quality by producers despite the tough economic climate.
"It's hard to make money in the olive industry at the moment but people are still focused on quality and that's very gratifying,'' Mr Miller said.