For the 4th edition of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition, which took place in mid-March 2019, the organizers chose the small but famous city of Nafplio in the Peloponnese. Nafplion was the first capital of the modern Greek state, from 1828 tο 1833. Indeed, the competition took place in the «Vouleftiko» building, an old mosque that was Greece’s first modern parliament. Nafplion is the capital city of the Argolis region, home to one of the most historic olive groves in Greece and to the famous archaeological site of Mycenae.
The number of olive oil samples that entered ATHENA IOOC 2019 reached 364 (a small increase compared to 2018, especially from Greece: +8,5%). The ratio between foreign and Greek olive oils was almost completely balanced: 49%-51% respectively, confirming the international aspect of the competition and its growing prestige in the world of olive oil.
Judges awarded 8 double gold medals, 76 gold, 71 silver and 46 bronze medals. Overall, the twenty-member jury (2/3 foreign judges, 1/3 Greek judges) awarded a total of 201 medals to olive oils from 14 olive oil producing countries (Argentina, France, Chile, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and Greece). Best of show went to the Spanish olive oil “Conde de Mirasol” from Andalusia.
The 2018/2019 harvest was fraught with difficulties both in Greece and in many other countries and this was reflected in the 17% decline in medals relative to the previous year. The reduction was even greater (-40%) in the number of medals attributed to Greek olive oils: 1 double gold and best Greek EVOO (“One & Olive” from Messinia), 5 golds, 32 silvers and 27 bronze medals.
A remarkable innovation took place in the 2019 edition of Athena: printed evaluation forms were replaced by tablets with Athena’s proprietary software, designed specifically for this competition. Thus, the whole assessment process was carried out digitally, giving our judges more time on each sample and enhancing the transparency and accuracy of the competition.
The curtain fell on the 2019 edition on Saturday, April 20 at the luxurious Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens with an all-day tasting of all award-winning EVOOs and a beautiful awards ceremony attended by Greek and foreign producers, followed by a reception.