Following the announcement of the 2020 #SAOliveAwards & #AbsaTop10 Olive Oils Awards in South Africa, we are presenting a series of interviews with each Gold-winning producer.

Absa Top 10 Winner: Rio Largo – Gold
SA Olive Gold
Winners: Rio Largo – Gold & EVOO


Name of the oil: Rio Largo Gold
Style: Delicate

Cultivars used for this oil: Frantoio
Litres produced: 5000 lt

Tasting notes: Fresh green notes, almonds and green banana with a nuance of citrus blossom. Nutty on palate (creamy) with gentle persistency and soft bitterness. A well balanced, harmonious delicate oil.

Best paired with which food: Use with delicate dishes like fish, carpaccio and vegetables like peas, green beans, butter lettuce, mangetout and courgette. Fabulous drizzled over salads too.

Name of the oil: Rio Largo EVOO (Black label)
Style: Medium

Cultivars used for this oil: Frantoio, Coratina & Mission
Litres produced: 10000 lt

Tasting notes: Clean, fresh aroma – fresh green vegetal notes – like fresh green beans, mixed salad leaves, together with a lovely nuttiness on the palate. Good mouth feel, with very balanced polyphenols – the pepper lingers enticingly!

Best paired with which food: Medium oil for general food use – meats, casseroles, curries, soups and with fresh bread and green salads with tomatoes, Italian cooking and pastas.

Producer history: Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, Rio Largo comprises olive orchards, vines, an olive specific nursery and a state of the art Oliomio olive processing and bottling plant. The terroir, with water on demand from the Breede River and Brandvlei Irrigation System, is perfect for olive growing with high sunshine hours, cold winters and minimal disease. Summer daytime temperatures can be high, but the afternoon south-easterly breezes from Cape Agulhas, the “wind doctor” in local parlance, brings relief and cool nights. Add superior Italian cultivars, state of the art processing facilities, ideal storage facilities and owner-driven passion to continually strive for better and you have a winning recipe.

Rio Largo Olive Estate uses various cultivars: Frantoio, Leccino, Mission, FS-17 and Coratino. All cultivars originate from Italy and are known to complement each other in making up a well- balanced extra virgin olive oil. Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a blend of these cultivars grown and pressed on the estate. Each cultivar is handpicked, pressed and stored separately in nitrogen sealed stainless steel tanks to maintain freshness. Oils are then individually tasted before blending to achieve a mild, not too peppery, fruity and flavoursome oil, consistently winning local and international awards since 2010. Rio Largo Olive Estate adopts biological farming methods for sustainable agriculture by “putting more back then you take out” together with overall concern for protecting the environment for future generations. TRY IT- YOU’LL LOVE IT!

Short introduction to the oil maker & his/her comment on the 2020 harvest: Nick Wilkinson is the owner and proud producer of every litre of Rio Largo olive oil together with his trusted right hand man, Jonathan Prins. A CA(SA) by profession, who after 20 years of running international agriculture in Central Africa, where he gained a reputation for turning agricultural businesses around, turned oil maker in 2010 and completed his Master Miller’s Certification at UC DAVIS California in 2015.

Where to buy: From our online store, selected @Home stores, selected Spar stores, selected Checkers stores.
International sales: Nick


For more SA Olive Awards winners click here.
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