SACRAMENTO — The fifth annual California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Judging was hosted at Cal Expo in Sacramento on February 27, 2019. The competition is solely for oils made from olives which are grown, processed and bottled right here in California.
Despite an almost tragic 2018 growing season for many California olive oil growers, those producers fortunate enough to have a crop shone bright at the California State Fair Competition. Head Judge Paul Vossen and his team of 12 Judges, swirled, sniffed and tasted 128 California olive oils. Two exceptional olive oil producers were honored with Best of Show Awards. 2018 saw some outstanding olive oil from repeat Best of Show award winners Bondolio Olive Oil and Calivirgin Olive Oil.
The 2019 Best of Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the Estate Blend from Bondolio Olive Oil of Winters, California. The oil is a very unique blend in California of Biancolilla, Cerasuola and Nocellara olives. The trees, which were specially imported from Sicily by the Bonds, produced an equally superior olive oil in 2017, when the oil also won a Best of Show Award at the California State Fair competition. Judges describe the oil as having, “a great aroma. Well balanced and well made.”
Calivirgin Olive Oil also scored their second Best of Show win at the California State Fair competition, this time for their Hot Virgin Jalapeño Flavored Oil. In 2017 Calivirgin won Best of Show for their Lusty Lemon flavored olive oil. The multi-generational, family-run Coldani Ranch produces and bottles a mouth-watering variety of flavored olive oils under the name Calivirgin, and also produces a line of single-varietal extra virgin olive oils, labeled Lodi Olive Oil. Calivirgin also won a 2019 Best of Class Award for their Guilty Garlic flavored olive oil.
“The State Fair assembled an exceptional group of very experienced judges, some with over 20 years of involvement in the industry. Four new apprentice judges also participated as potential future judges. The high-quality oils shone through, even though the total number of entries was down. Californians can be very proud of the great olive oils being produced in this state,” says Paul Vossen, Olive Oil Industry Expert and Head Judge of the 2019 California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition
This competition honors Olive Oil producers of all production levels. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Microproducer Award (less than 500 gallons annually) was awarded to Halter Ranch for their Estate Mediterranean Blend. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by an Artisan Producer Award (between 500 and 5,000 gallons produced annually) was awarded to Tres Osos for their Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Large Producer Award (more than 5,000 gallons produced annually) went to Cobram Estate, Everyday Robust Olive Oil.
The California State Fair and State Agricultural leaders will present the top olive oil winners with an iconic Golden Bear Trophy at a media event on the steps of the State Capitol on June 27. Also presented with awards will be Best of Show-winning commercial wine, beer and cheese producers. The same evening winning producers will be on hand at the Best of California Tasting event at Cal Expo, held prior to the Friends of the California State Fair Gala. Producers will show off what their hard work and great skill has yielded for California’s agricultural and cultural leaders.
During the 2019 California State Fair, July 12-28, fair guests will enjoy an exhibit featuring award-winning extra virgin olive oils, olive oil education classes, free tastings and the opportunity to purchase olive oil directly from the producer.
About the California Exposition & State Fair
Cal Expo is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. Join us for the 2019 California State Fair, July 12 – 28.
–California Exposition & State Fair
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