On March 20-22, 2017, the 2nd Athena International Olive Oil Competition (ATHIOOC) was held in Messinia, one of the most important olive growing areas in Greece and the source of about one third of the total Greek olive oil production. More specifically, the ATHIOOC was held on the premises of Costa Navarino with the generous support of the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Konstantakopoulos Foundation. Thus, the ATHIOOC’s objective of further highlighting a Greek olive growing region by holding the competition there and the foundation’s goal of promoting the sustainable rural development of Messinia ideally served each other.
295 extra virgin olive oils participated in the ATHIOOC 2017, 156 from Greece and the rest from France, Spain, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey and Tunisia. The samples were tasted and evaluated by 23 judges from 11 countries, two thirds of them internationally prestigious foreign experts. All of this makes the ATHIOOC both the only truly international olive oil competition in Greece, and one of the most serious competitions of its kind in the world, with rapidly growing prestige.
The ATHIOOC 2017 awarded 175 medals: 17 Double Gold, 65 Gold, 55 Silver and 38 Bronze. Foreign olive oils accounted for 58% of the prizes, Greek olive oils 42%. One of the special prizes awarded by the jury was for the best olive oil in the competition (after another blind taste test of the 17 olive oils that won the Double Gold Medal). For the second consecutive year, the "Best of Show" olive oil of the ATHIOOC was the TreFórt olive oil produced by Paolo Bonomelli of Veneto, Italy.
At the ATHIOOC 2017, Greek olive oils earned 13% more medals than at the first edition of the competition, in 2016, while for the first time a Greek olive oil was awarded an ATHIOOC Double Gold medal (the 39/22 Koroneiki olive oil from Argolis produced by the Great Stories company, which was of course also the best Greek olive oil in the competition).
The ATHIOOC 2017 awards ceremony took place at the King George II Hotel in Syntagma Square in Athens on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. It was preceded by a full-day presentation of all 175 award-winning olive oils, which were all available for tasting. Such an extensive presentation of premium olive oils from Greece and abroad had occurred in Greece only on the occasion of the ATHIOOC first edition (2016)! It was a truly unique opportunity to taste award-winning extra virgin olive oils, not only from Greece, but also from the other countries participating in the competition, many of them from olive varieties unknown in Greece, such as Picual, Arbequina, Coratina, Cornicabra, and Frantoio. Next to them stood the "flagship" olive variety of our country, the Koroneiki, as well as other varieties, including Adramytini and Tsounati.
The Athena International Olive Oil Competition was founded, and continues to be organized, by the Vinetum communication and event organization company, which has extensive experience in organizing exhibitions, conferences, competitions and other special high prestige events with precise requirements. The president of the competition is Dinos Stergidis, and the competition director is Maria Katsoulis, an accredited olive oil taster and the first olive oil sommelier in Greece.