Estate Report: 2016 Olive Harvest
Mark Griffin, Estate Manager
Following the monster crop of 2015 with 19.7 tons, the 2016 olive crop was surprising larger than we had predicted. Our 2015 Estate Blend earned the Gold Medal at the California State Fair, which was much appreciated recognition that resulted in us selling out of it within a week of release. This latest crop came in at 11.5 tons, yielding 376 gallons of beautiful oil. The quality was fantastic and paralleled this year’s awesome grape harvest. Prior to and during the olive harvest, we received a little rain, but clearly the quality was not impacted—partly due to the relatively good growing conditions this year. 
The 2016 oil came off the mill with amazing green fruit characteristics of straw, nettle, artichoke, and green tea. There is a hint of cinnamon that is married to some subtle bitterness. Pungency—he term we use for the nice burn felt at the back of the throat—is robust to mild from barrel to barrel. Over the course of the two-week span of the olive harvest, the fruit begins to ripen and the flavor nuances shift from green fruit to ripe fruit, at the same time, bitterness declines and pungency becomes mild. This brief window of time allows us to capture all the wonderful aromas as “snapshots” into each barrel that’s harvested, which gives us the opportunity to create an Estate Blend for our annual release. 
Our annual Olive Harvest event was a big hit. This year, Chef Anthony Florian of Seven Hills Restaurant in San Francisco created four amazing courses to pair with our fresh and beautifully green 2016 Olio Nuovo. Thomas Curry owner of The Temecula Olive Oil Com­pany and tasting panelist for the California Olive Oil Council gave a presentation about the quality and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. It was an educational and inspiring lunch, in addition to being delicious.
Researchers continue to unveil the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and a diet low in saturated fats. The fact that our oils are fresh and extracted without the use of any heat or chemicals is what makes them so special and rich in antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few oils in the world that is extracted and purveyed without the use of chemicals. The antioxidants found in olive oil are known as polyphenols. These compounds are integral to protecting our cells from inflammation, cancer, and promoting muscle recovery. Polyphenols like these are also the basis of other healthy fruits such as acai berries and blueberries. Oleocanthal is the phenolic compound in olive oil that causes the burning sensation in the back of the throat and acts much like ibuprofen by reducing inflammation. Olive oil has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol reducing the risk of heart disease.
One of the best ways to feel how beneficial olive oil is to your body is to use it on your skin. Set a little jar aside and apply it daily after bathing or showering. You will be amazed at how soft your hands and skin are after the first application and it doesn’t take much to get the job done! 
It appears that whether you ingest it, or apply it topically, extra virgin olive oil is truly a smart way to support and promote a healthy lifestyle.