Willow Creek Estate extra virgin olive oil has again been highlighted for its superior quality following its recent assessment by expert judges in no less than two prestigious international challenges. Not only did Willow Creek Estate receive a star-studded showing at L’Orciolo D’Oro this year, it was also the only South African producer to win medals at the Terra Olivo Mediterranean International Extra Virgin Olive Oil competition.

At the latter, Willow Creek received the Grand Prestige Gold medal for its Directors’ Reserve and Prestige Gold for its Privé – the estate’s private reserve.

The Willow Creek Estate Blend was declared overall winner of the medium category at L’Orciolo D’Oro, where its Privé and Directors’ Reserve also received distinctions.

“These competitions offer a platform to showcase the high standard of South African extra virgin olive oils. Being able to display the winner’s trophy in our tasting room is a gratifying reward to everyone on our team who consistently works towards delivering the best quality possible,” says Willow Creek Estate brand manager Louise Rabie. “L’Orciolo D’Oro is significant as it is the longest running event of its kind and one of the few competitions that singles out an overall winner per category.”

L’Orciolo d’Oro started out as a competition for Italian producers in 1991 and extended to an international event in 1998. Its name is derived from the container traditionally used to store olive oil and translated, means amphora of gold. The Terra Olivio competition is based in Israel. Its renown for the quality of participating international judges is reflected in numbers – this year the event saw the entry of over 629 olive oil samples from more than 60 production areas.

Willow Creek Estate’s most recent achievements follow its inclusion earlier this year in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil World Rankings (EVOOWR) of top 100 producers – the only South African producer to have achieved this and an achievement it has maintained for the third consecutive year. The rankings are determined in large part by the performance of producers and EVOOs in international competitions during a particular harvest vintage. Multiple awards in a variety of competitions are required to make the grade and is therefore an indicator of consistent excellence.

The Estate lies in the Nuy Valley, near Worcester in the Western Cape. Andries Rabie commenced with olive tree plantings in 1999 and produced the estate’s first olive oil three years later.

Today, some 250ha of olive trees thrive at the foot of Rabie Mountain – part of the Langeberg Mountain range – and a track record of awards and accolades, both local and international, attests to the quality, consistency and widespread appeal of Willow Creek’s products.

The character of the various olive oils are derived, as with top wine vineyards, from unique terroir and the Nuy Valley is perfectly suited to the cultivation of premium quality olives. The region’s lime-rich soils, availability of irrigation water and Mediterranean climate, with dry summers, cold winters and low average rainfall of 200mm per year, make it ideal for producing olives with a complex, appealing flavour profile.

Having a wide array of cultivars, Willow Creek is able to produce all three styles of extra virgin olive oil, namely: the delicate Nuy Valley, medium Estate Blend, and intense Directors’ Reserve. They also offer a variety of flavoured olive oils with favourites like Lemon, Basil, Garlic and Jalapeño, to the more exotic Persian Lime, Blood Orange and Truffle options. In addition to the olive oils, their product range includes balsamic vinegar, flavoured olives, tapenade and pestos.

They are available countrywide at delis and retailers including Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Food Lover’s Market, Spar, Makro, Game and Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts. Willow Creek Estate also has a tasting room and shop on the estate that are open to the public, as well as a nursery that sells olive trees.

For more information, visit www.willowcreek.co.za or contact Willow Creek on tel: 023 342 5793 or email: info@willowcreek.co.za. Willow Creek Olive Estate is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WillowCreekOliveEstate/) and Twitter @willow_creeksa.

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