Originally scheduled in Argentina 17-20 September 2020, the event was moved to Verona because of Covid-19 but it proved possible to clear most samples through customs.
Verona, 21 September 2020 - Given the impossibility of receiving samples of the olive oils registered for the 2020 edition of Sol d’Oro Southern Hemisphere - the Veronafiere/Sol&Agrifood international competition for quality extra virgin olive oils produced south of the equator - has been postponed to 2021.
Since in times of Covid 19 it is actually easier to move goods than people, the Sol d'Oro Southern Hemisphere contest scheduled in Argentina 17-20 September this year was initially rescheduled in Verona. However, customs legislation meant that delivering the registered samples of extra virgin olive oil from South Africa, South America and Oceania was more complicated than expected, effectively preventing the competition from taking place.
“The appointment has now simply been moved to September next year, once again in Argentina”, said Marino Giorgetti, panel leader of both annual editions (Northern and Southern Hemisphere) of the only international blind tasting olive oil competition.
Olive oil from the southern hemisphere represents only 2% of world output and this year was not particularly abundant: Australia produced about 20,000 tonnes in line with 2019, while Chile with about 18,000 tonnes, Argentina with about 30,000 and Uruguay with about 2,000 tonnes posted a downturn of about 10%, not the least in the wake of severe difficulties arising from the health management response to Covid-19, which struck precisely during the harvest period. “The olive oil is not of exceptional quality but certainly good; we wanted to find out more during Sol d'Oro," explained Giorgetti, who also mentioned the improvements in quality that these new producer countries are achieving.
As the new olive oil campaign gets underway in Italy, there is talk of excellent quality, despite low output in the south of the country. In these times of health emergency, the quality of extra virgin olive oil is stimulating new interest among consumers, who are increasingly more attentive to the origin of goods, especially food produce. "Producers explained to me that while on the one hand they suffered from the downturn seen on the horeca channel, on the other, they benefited from increased sales through company outlets and online, driven by increased visits to farm centres and olive oil mills by many Italians tourists who did not travel abroad this year, and this has certainly improved knowledge among such consumers," said Giorgetti. “Companies still not set up to work this way have had to make significant leaps in organisational terms, while those already active with e-commerce saw further growth in their sales, even for niche products," Giorgetti said, adding that he is also confident for the future.