SA Olive Awards Judging – Behind the Scenes

This year, for the first time, only professionals who had not entered an oil themselves, formed part of the adjudication team.  The panel consisted of Reni Hildenbrand, Benedetta Lami and Linda Costa, local olive oil experts who regularly serve on international judging panels, and SA Olive tasting members, Birgitta Hofmeyr and Hazel Henman. International panel leader Sue Langstaff is also the leader of the UC Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel and co-editor of the book Olive Oil Sensory Science and creator of The Defects Wheel for Olive Oil.

Over a three-day judging process, olive oils were individually blind tasted and rated. “We do not have access to the bottles to eliminate the chance of recognising the labelling or specific shape of a bottle,” explains Reni Hildenbrand.  “SA Olive has executed yet another adjudication process according to the strict regulations of the International Olive Council (Madrid).”

Some of the international directives also include that the judging venue must be kept at a steady 28°C for optimum olive oil consistency, while blue-hued specially shaped tasting glasses ensure that the oil is not judged by its colour and that the maximum concentration of aromas are captured during the tasting. Entries must also be 100% South African and made by SA producers registered with SA Olive.

Absa Top 10: Consumers can look forward to the announcement of the crème de la crème when the Absa Top 10 Extra Virgin Olive Oils are announced on 27 September.

SA Olive would like to thank Mori-Tem Oliomio and Pieralisi for their contribution in furthering the local olive oil industry through their sponsorship of the SA Olive Awards.

For more information visit or contact Karien Bezuidenhout at 021 870 2900 or .

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