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8 Waiheke Weekender
The most prestigious international competition for
extra virgin olive oil has awarded Waiheke's Azzuro
Groves the Best of Class and a gold medal for its
Azzuro Blend 2012 extra virgin olive oil.
Azzuro was the only New Zealand olive oil
producer to win Best of Class as well as a gold
medal at the LA County Fair in the United States,
which places it amongst the top thirty producers in
The Te Whau grove, owned by Kerry
and Berni Hart, also won a bronze medal
for its Tuscan Blend 2012.
"This is a substantial win that shows
that Azzuro Groves can produce a world
class product that holds its own amongst
the best in the world," says Kerry, who
puts the win down to several factors.
"We spend time during the grow-
ing seasons to ensure that our olive trees
are properly nurtured to produce quality
olives that yield good percentages of oil
during processing. This year the autumn
was great on Waiheke, with plenty of sun,
high enough temperatures to ripen the fruit
and low humidity."
He says they managed their picking
to ensure that the fruit was harvested at a
time when the polyphenols were high so
the fruitiness would come through in the
"We wanted to produce the robust oil
that we believe our customers like. We
have had hundreds of people from all over
the world coming through our shop over
the last fve years and we know their tastes.”
The Alfa Laval olive mill installed at the Azzuro
Mill starts off by washing the olives and then crush-
es them using a unique disc crusher that doesn't heat
the paste. The crushed paste is then kneaded in dual
malaxer tanks, which are temperature-controlled to
ensure the temperature of the paste is kept below
26ºCelsius and oxygen is also prevented from sitting
on the paste to keep the peroxide values
(PV) low. Low PV gives a longer shelf
life. The decanter and separator centrifuges
eliminate water and suspensions to deliver
clean oil that is stored in the Azzuro cellar
Kerry says the yields achieved this
season were much higher than last year,
with some batches well over 20 percent.
He believes the presentation of extra
virgin olive oil is key to Azzuro's success
in selling out each season's production by
the time the next season's oil is ready to go
"Finishing the oil is a critical process
because we need to ensure that we expose
it to oxygen as little as possible by apply-
ing Argon gas when we are racking, flter-
ing and bottling. This stage of the process is
where we could make the oil a winner or an
By winning Best of Class, Azzuro Groves
can claim that they have produced one of
the world's best extra virgin olive oils.
"I think the 'Waiheke factor' looms large
in this accomplishment, as other regions in
New Zealand haven’t had the beneft of the
climatic conditions at the time they were
harvesting that Azzuro has, " says Kerry.
"Other regions have ended up with poor
fruiting, a lack of ripening, low oil yields or
no fruit at all, therefore no oil this season.
It seems that Waiheke is the place to grow
Hay Paddock winemaker Chris
Canning: "We are very pleased to have
chosen this variety as our speciality."
“Other regions in New Zealand haven’t had the beneft of the
climatic conditions at the time of harvesting that Azzuro has.”
Azzuro owners Berni and Kerry Hart.
Sky's the limit for
Azzuro olive oil
Australian Gold for Hay Paddock syrah
Onetangi vineyard The Hay Paddock's Silk Syrah 2010 has been award-
ed the gold medal in the Shiraz category at the Boutique Wine
Awards, announced recently by the Association of Australian Boutique
Restricted to specialist producers in Australia and New Zealand with
a production of 250 tonnes maximum per annum, the awards attract
entries from some of the iconic wine producers of the region and are
keenly followed by collectors and connoisseurs.
And the shiraz (syrah) category attracts the highest level of entries
and keenest competition.
Chris Canning, winemaker at The Hay Paddock, says the challenge
of entering New Zealand syrah in an international competition is to trust
that the "spice and minerality of our cool climate wines will be judged
positively by palates used to traditional shiraz styles.
“This confrmation from Australian judges is very reassuring as it
backs up the feedback we have been receiving from European judges
and critics. Waiheke can consistently deliver phenolic ripeness without
excess heat and we are very pleased to have chosen this variety as our
In previous competition with Australian shiraz, The Hay Paddock
won the trophy for Best Shiraz/Syrah at the International Wine and Spirit
Competition in Hong Kong in 2010.
The Hay Paddock Silk Syrah is the company's second tier label,
produced at its single vineyard estate in the Onetangi valley.
0800 372 100
new builds and renovations
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