ONE of Wagga's olive oil producers has beaten a number of heavyweights to secure a clean sweep of trophies in the extra virgin category at an international awards night last Friday.
Held in Albury, the judges of the 2019 Australian International Olive Awards gave W2Olives Wagga's Hardy's Mammoth EVOO product the Best of Show.
Beating a strong field of gold-medal winning entries, W2Olives' single varietal product also took top honours across all eligible categories, including Best Southern Hemisphere, Best Australian, Best NSW/ACT and Champion Robust.
The accolades are an impressive result for the Wagga boutique producer in its debut at the competition, made more impressive because its was W2Olive's sole entry.
The latest awards come after W2Olives was named winners of the Champion Boutique Extra Virgin Oil and Champion Flavoured Culinary Oil at the Sydney Royal Fine Foods Show in September.
Owned and operated by husband and wife Geoffrey Treloar and Jenny Masters, the 1600-tree grove, described as "olives grown with love on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River", began production years ago.
However, it was only in the past two years that the duo dedicated more time to it after retirement.
Mr Treloar, a former veterinarian, said the achievements were a testament to the family's hard work and passion over the years.
"We put this grove in 20 years ago between Jenny, myself and my brother, John. My sister, Patricia, also came to help pick," Mr Treloar said.
"We didn't have much in the early days. The difference is in the last two years - we've been dealing with the other side [of the grove] and there's some varieties of olives over there that produce exquisite oils."
Asked about Hardy's Mammoth, Mr Treloar said it is well renowned for producing high-quality oil.
"The conditions that we've got here - the weather, soil and irrigation - means we can produce pretty high-quality fruit," he said.
"They're pretty much an Australian-adapted Spanish tree."
W2Olives process their products at Wollundry Grove Olives at Brucedale.
"We were sitting with them at the dinner on Friday night - they were pretty excited for us, too," Mr Treloar said.
"We owe them quite a bit of gratitude for processing the oil very professionally and obviously very well."
Ms Masters said the trophies were beyond what they expected.
"It's a wonderful mediterranean area to grow olive trees," she said.
"If you've got water, which we're lucky enough to be on the river, you can produce some really good crop."
Wollundry Grove's Joo-Yee Lieu congratulated the W2Olives team and said it was positive to see "small producers compete with big producers".
"Then to win all that is just awesome," Ms Lieu said.
"These awards might come once in a lifetime, so it says a lot about the region.
"We're very proud of Wagga."
Ms Lieu said the secret is the balance among quality, taste and aroma.
Competition chief steward Trudie Michels said this year's entries reflect both the increasing status of the competition and the continuing focus on quality across the industry.
"Since its inception in 2017, competition has become stronger and more focused," Ms Michel said.
Despite this year's difficult growing conditions, we were pleased to receive 186 extra virgin and flavoured oil entries - a rise from last year's 174 entries - along with a 25 per cent increase in table olive entries."
Entries in this year's awards came from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Full results of the awards at the International Olive Awards Australia website.