The Competition

ATHENA International Olive Oil Competition

ATHENA IOOC 2023 and its award ceremony were successfully completed!
In 2024 the competition will be held in Sparta, April 25 to 27, and the awards ceremony on June 2 at the Zappeion Hall in central Athens.

1) Purpose of the competition

  • 1.1) Description Open or Close

    The Athena International Olive Oil Competition (AΤΗENA IOOC) is an international olive oil competition that is held annually in Greece. The competition is international in terms of both judges and participants. A majority of the judges are foreign nationals, while sample entries from abroad must account for at least 40% of the total number of samples submitted. The competition’s name comes from the ancient Greek goddess Athena who bestowed the olive tree on the city οf Athens which was then named after her.

    Greece ranks 3rd in the world in olive oil production and is by far the leader in per capita consumption. It is the country with the highest percentage of extra virgin olive oil relative to its total production and the country with the highest percentage of arable land dedicated to the cultivation of the olive tree. These facts alone would suffice to justify the project of a Greece-based international olive oil competition. However, an extra dimension should be taken into consideration: Greece was the first country in the world to cultivate the wild olive tree and to produce written records and works of art about olive trees and olive oil, thus contributing to the eventual establishment of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, where olive oil plays a leading role as one of the best foods for people to eat.

    Thus, ATHENA IOOC also sponsors and initiates various innovative culinary projects aimed at creating solid brand names for competition winners and further developing the market for premium olive oils in Greece and around the world. These initiatives are announced periodically throughout the year.

    The competition is held annually at a different venue in one of Greece’s olive oil producing regions.



  • 1.2) Organization Open or Close

    ATHENA IOOC is organized by Vinetum Event Management, a company with considerable experience in the field of prestigious exhibitions, conferences, competitions and other high-profile events. The competition is chaired by Constantine Stergides, founder and CEO of Vinetum and is directed by Maria Katsouli, accredited olive oil connoisseur and the first Wine & Olive Oil Sommelier in Greece.

2) Entry procedure

  • 2.1) Participating Olive Oils Open or Close

    ATHENA IOOC is international and open to all olive oil producing countries of the world, from both the northern and southern hemispheres, provided that the participating entries are Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Flavored infused or contimented olive oils are also eligible to compete and are assessed using a dedicated evaluation sheet. Judges are informed on whether the sample they are tasting is from the north or south hemisphere.

    Entries to the competition can be submitted by individual producers, olive oil mills, producer cooperatives and cooperative associations, bottlers, export companies and any type of business enterprise that produces, bottles and trades in branded extra virgin olive oil.

    All of the following criteria must be met in order to participate in the competition:

    A) All submitted samples must contain olive oil produced in the crop year of the competition.
    B) All samples must be submitted in their normal retail packaging and brand labels.
    C) All submitted samples must bear a commercial label compliant with the laws of their country of origin or the country they were bottled in.
    D) The largest eligible sample size is 1 liter.
    E) Every sample must be from a single homogeneous batch of at least 500 kilograms.
    F) The entry form must be submitted to the organizers no later than 31/03/2023 .

  • 2.2) Entry Form Open or Close

    A fully completed entry form must be submitted through the online registration tool at ATHENA IOOC's website, or must be send to Vinetum, the event organizer by email (info@vinetum.gr). After payment has been submitted the participant will receive a receipt and an entry confirmation from the organizers.

    The entry form for each sample must be followed by the submission of a chemical analysis certificate issued by an accredited (ISO 17025 compliant) testing lab indicating free fatty acids, peroxides and absorption characteristics (Κ232nm, Κ270nm and ΔΚ) and dated no more than 120 days prior to submission. The chemical analysis certificate must be submitted to the organizers as soon as possible after the entry is submitted and no later than the time and date when the samples are submitted.

  • 2.3) Entry Fees Open or Close


    The entry fee per sample is €205 plus VAT (where applicable); however, based on the competition’s discount policy, the fee per sample can be reduced to €170 for participation of up to two samples, and more for a larger number of samples in the case of an “early bird” registration and payment (see below).


    Discount policy:



    A 15% discount is granted for the 3rd sample. From the 4th sample onwards, a 20% discount is granted per sample and the final sample is accepted free of charge (e.g. 5 samples: the 3rd has a 15% discount, the 4th a 20% discount and the 5th is free; 6 samples: the 3rd has a discount of 15%, 4th and 5th a 20% discount and 6th is for free, etc).

    Specifically, for entries submitted after 04/02/2023 (expiration date for early bird discount), the following apply:

    1 Sample: : €205,00 + 24% VAT = €254,20
    2 Samples: €410,00 + 24% VAT = €508,400
    3 Samples: €584,25 + 24% VAT = €724,47
    4 Samples: €748,25 + 24% VAT = €927,83
    5 Samples: €748,25 + 24% VAT = €927,83
    6 Samples: €891,75 + 24% VAT = €1105,77


    Β) TIME-BASED DISCOUNT POLICY (“early bird”)

    For those who register within approximately one and a half months from the beginning of the registration period, an early bird discount policy applies. The early bird entry fee per sample for entry forms and payment received by 04/02/2023 is €170.

    This discount can be combined with the above-mentioned discounts, as follows:

    Specifically, for entries submitted by 04/02/2023:
    Participation with 1 sample:€170,00 + 24% VAT = €210,80
    Participation with 2 samples: €340,00 + 24% VAT = €421,60
    Participation with 3 samples: €484,50 + 24% VAT = €600,78
    Participation with 4 samples: €620,50 + 24% VAT = €769,42
    Participation with 5 samples: €620,50 + 24% VAT = €769,42
    Participation with 6 samples: €739,50 + 24% ΦΠΑ = €916,98

    VAT charge clarification
    Companies from outside the EU are not subject to VAT payment. EU companies registered with the European Commission on the VIES VAT number validation database also are not subject to VAT payment and are issued a different kind of invoice. However, individuals who submit samples as physical entities (and not as EU-registered companies) are subject to VAT payment and must add 24% VAT to any payment, as are all companies based in Greece.


  • 2.4) Payment Methods Open or Close

    Α)  By direct bank deposit to:
    - EUROBANK (IBAN): GR0502600360000650200340705 SWIFT: ERBKGRAA
    PLEASE NOTE: If payment is submitted through a direct bank deposit or via wire transfer, the name of the depositor company must be included on the deposit slip or transfer order and a copy of the relevant document must be mailed at info@vinetum.gr.

    B)  By credit card through Paypal.

  • 2.5) Sample Submission Open or Close

    Depending on your bottle size the required number of samples for every submission is as follows:

    A) For 500ml, 750ml or 1 liter bottles: 3 samples
    B) For 350ml bottles: 4 samples
    C) For 250ml or smaller bottles: 5 samples

  • 2.6) Sample Shipping Open or Close

    Samples must be shipped “door to door” and the use of a freight forwarder or courier company is recommended. Participants are responsible for all shipping costs and any customs duties. The competition organizer cannot be held responsible for the condition of the samples or any breakage prior to their receipt. Moreover, the organizer bears no responsibility for late shipments or delays by the shipping/forwarding company. Once samples are received, the organizer guarantees their secure warehousing in a climate-controlled facility and their safe and proper transfer to the event venue.

    Very important notice:

    All sample packaging must be clearly labeled “SAMPLE WITH NO COMMERCIAL VALUE – NOT FOR SALE” and be accompanied by an invoice with a nominal value anywhere from €1 to €20 (US$22). Also, if mailing from outside the EU, it is very important to send your samples in packages that do not exceed 5-6kg, otherwise Greek customs impose duties.

    All competition participants must submit a copy of the shipping manifest of their samples to the competition organizer.

    Samples should be shipped to the following address:
    VINETUM Ltd.,
    41 Kareas Ave,
    162 33 Vyronas, Athens, Greece
    Telephone: (+30) 210 766 0560

  • 2.7) Submission Deadline Open or Close


    Samples must be received by the competition organizer no later than 05/04/2023. The organizer cannot guarantee the evaluation of samples that are received after that date. Late sample entries that are not assessed will not be returned. Entry fees are not refundable.


3) Sample Receipt

  • 3.1) Technical Committee Open or Close

    The technical committee is responsible for the reception of submitted samples, the review of all associated documents, of the legal compliance of product labels and the recording, classification and encoding of samples as well as the formation of the panel of judges.

    Upon receipt of your sample(s), the technical committee will review all submitted and accompanying documents and will notify you as to their adequacy.

4) Sample Evaluation

  • 4.1) Panel of Judges Open or Close


    The panel consists of judges with many years cumulative experience in the organoleptic assessment of olive oil; judges are accredited by the International Olive Council (IOC) or by other international or national bodies. These bodies are, in turn, accredited either by the IOC or by other recognized educational institutions offering relevant training according to IOC standards. The total number of judges depends on the number of samples submitted to the competition. In any case, two thirds (2/3) of the judges are foreign nationals. Judges are assigned to panels comprised of 5 to 7 members. Each panel has a president who is responsible for the panel’s compliance with the appropriate organoleptic assessment procedures and the competition’s rules.

    The evaluation procedure takes place in the morning only and each panel assesses a maximum of 35 samples per day. All entries are sampled in the opaque cobalt blue tasting glasses that have been certified by the IOC as the official vessels for the organoleptic assessment of olive oil. ATHENA panel leader for all committees is Mr José-Maria Penco from Spain.


  • 4.2) Sample assessment procedure Open or Close


    Samples are assessed using the blind tasting method with each entry identified only by a random code number. Sample classification –the order in which samples are assessed– is organized so that all samples are judged on a fair and equal basis. Each panel of judges clearly identifies on the assessment sheet the organoleptic qualities of olive oils as well as any negative qualities. As of 2018 the whole assessment process is done electronically through dedicated software.



5) Awards

  • 5.1) Awards – Medals Open or Close

    Olive oil entries are assessed using a scoring system with a maximum score of 100. Awards are based on the following table:

    65,0/100 to 74,9/100: Bronze medal
    75,0/100 to 84,9/100: Silver medal
    85,0/100 to 94,9/100: Gold medal
    95,0/100 to 100/100: Double Gold or Grand Gold medal

  • 5.2) Special Awards Open or Close

    To further reward specific efforts, the Athena International Olive Oil Competition presents the following special awards:

    1) Best of show (highest score).
    2) Best olive oil per country of origin (minimum of 5 entries required).
    3) Best single varietal olive oil.
    4) Best entry per varietal (minimum of 5 entries required).
    5) Best blended (multi-varietal) olive oil.
    6) Best olive oil from the Koroneiki varietal, worldwide.
    7) Best Greek olive oil from the Koroneiki varietal.
    8) Best organic extra virgin olive oil, worldwide.
    9) Best Greek organic extra virgin olive oil.
    10) Best Greek olive oil per region: Crete, the Peloponnese, Central Greece, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace, Ionian Islands, the Aegean Islands.
    11) Best flavored or infused olive oil.
    12) Best olive oil produced by winemaker.



  • 5.3) Publicity Open or Close

    Competition results will be posted on the official website, www.athenaoliveoil.gr on 19/05/2023 at 12:00 noon.

    Participants will be notified separately via direct email of the judges’ assessments and scores of their samples. Medals and diplomas certifying their awards will be shipped to the winners within 30 days of the end of the competition by registered mail, free of charge. Winners may also order adhesive labels for their awarded entries from the organizer, at extra cost.

  • 5.4) Confirmation of the validity of the samples Open or Close

    The organizers of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition trust that all participants will provide accurate declarations about their olive oil, both on the registration form and in the chemical analysis they send. However, they also retain the right to re-evaluate any award-winning olive oil through chemical analysis and cross-organoleptic testing with the appropriate procedures and means. This reassessment will compare the sample sent to the competition with the same olive oil acquired directly from the producer or from market, in order to ascertain that the products are identical. In any case, for sampling and statistical purposes, a re-evaluation of approximately 10% of the awarded samples will be carried out by comparing the sample sent to the competition with the same olive oil acquired directly from the producer or otherwise, in order to be sure their properties are identical.

  • 5.5) Awards Ceremony Open or Close


    ATHΕΝΑ IOOC includes a special awards ceremony for all competition winners, which is attended by official representatives of major organizations from the olive oil industry and the media, olive oil and food professionals, growers and olive oil aficionados. The ceremony is preceded by a day-long tasting event featuring all winning entries, for HoReCa professionals, food writers, growers and olive oil tasters. The awards ceremony date will be announced in due course.


6) Important Dates

  • 6.1) Important Dates Open or Close


    01/11/2022: Competition officially open for registration.
    04/02/2023: Last day for early bird registration
    31/03/2023: Last day for all registration
    05/04/2023: Final deadline for samples to reach Vinetum
    04-06/05/2023: Competition takes place and next year’s venue is announced
    19/05/2023: Announcement of results



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Olive Oil

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