Olive oil production method is a fundamental element influencing the quality of an extra virgin olive oil. The only method that is able to guarantee quality is by purely mechanical – physical procedures.

Olives are harvested from October to December, depending on the production area. The length of time between the picking and the processing is vital. The less time passes, the better the quality of the produced olive oil will be. If the olives are stocked for a long time, fermentation and mould are created which transmit their unpleasant taste to the olive oil. The olives should be processed within 24 hours from harvesting. Naturally, this is possible only if the olives are processed near to the area of where they were grown.

Traditional Olive Oil Production

The picked olives are carefully washed in order to eliminate earth, leaves and other foreign materials. At this point, milling begins. At the mill, an olive paste is created by crushing. The traditional method, still practised by many small mills, involves large granite millstones which crush the pulp and the olive stone. The next phase is malaxing, a slow and continuing remixing of the olive paste. It is often believed that the oil is present in the seed, but the oil is actually in the micro cells of the pulp. During the mixing, these cells are crushed, facilitating the release of oil from the vacuoles. At this point, the olive paste is distributed onto filter mats which are stacked in high columns and then considerable pressure is applied, so that the oil together with the vegetation water is extracted.

The olives are made up of 50% water, whilst the oil represents 20-25% of the total mass. After the crushing, the oil, which is lighter than the water, is separated from the vegetation water through centrifugation.

Continuous Method

With the modern, or the continuous method, the olives are crushed with the use of stainless steel rollers and after malaxation the oil is extracted by means of centrifugation.

The freshly squeezed oil is torpid due to the presence of suspended micro particles, which can be removed with filtration, rendering it perfectly transparent, but with a risk of removing also part of the aromatic qualities. Some producers, concerned about maintaining the original aromatic intensity, prefer to sell unfiltered oil.

The temperature reached by the raw materials during the production phase has a huge impact on the aromatic substances. With the procedures described above, the temperature does not exceed 25-27 degrees, guaranteeing that the typical aromas of the olives will be preserved.

Olive Oil Appraciation Tours

Olive oil mills selected by Amarone Tours are all located in D.O.P. production areas and are using traditional methods. During an extra virgin olive oil appreciation tour, it will be possible to visit all the production steps at the olive mill before the tasting. During harvest time (October – November) it wil be possible to see them operating, smelling the fresh olive oil aromas.

For futher information or to book one of our olive oil tasting tour: