Testimonials from competition entrants

Winning Best of Show at the Australian International confirms that we have done a few things right.

“It is a great accolade for all the pickers, pressers and everyone else involved in taking an olive from a tree and processing it into a great Australian oil.

“Competitions like the AIOA are very important to growers and the industry. I think at the end of the day everyone deserves a pat on the back for all the hard work they put into this relatively new industry in Australia.”

Guy Ward, Arkstone Olives

“We all make an incredible effort producing our oils and then submitting them allows the oils to be rigorously evaluated. That’s the only way we can strive to improve the quality of the oil. So this is an incredibly important competition to get a sense of the quality that’s being produced. It’s also a huge bonus to get a medal, whether that’s Gold, Silver or Bronze, and to get Best in Show … what can you say? It justifies everything we’re doing.”

Stephen and Sui Tham, Cape Schanck Olive Estate

“Competitions like the AIOA are extremely important for both growers and the industry. The feedback you get from judging is paramount to us as producers and the recognition gets your name out there, increasing the reach of your business to others who aren’t in our region.

“They see your name, see how well you did and want to try your products, which can really increase your business scope. For us that means both product sales and our processing customer base.

“And products wearing the medals let consumers know that we are the best in the industry. There’s definitely been an increase in sales since we won, and the medals help out a lot.”

Scott Clifford, Adina Vineyard and Olive Grove

“Winning the Champion Kalamata award at the 2021 AIOA has opened even more doors for us and since the announcement of the winners we have been receiving more and more contact from people wanting to try our olives, and to find out where they can be purchased in their own location.

“Entering our olives into the awards in both 2020 and 2021 was one of the best choices we have ever made.”

Brian Swanson, Arkwright Estate

“We go into the awards more as a way of benchmarking: they tell you whether you are actually doing things right and meeting the expectations of your customers. We’ve got customers who come along and say ‘what have you won recently?’, and ‘two champion trophies’ is a great answer!

“There’s no doubt that it boosts sales too. While some just buy what they want to buy, if some of your products have medals on them it really helps – and if they’re buying it for presents, they seem to like it covered in medals.

“And for people buying without tasting – like during the COVID lockdowns when tasting at markets had to stop – that medal means something, even if that medal is on another product. The fact that your products have received medals and awards gives your brand an extra level of credibility.

“That also goes for finding outlets. When we started out and did need to find retailers and customers, there were some who thought we were too small and unknown. But then you win awards and it gives retailers a degree of confidence that you are producing a product they can readily sell.

“Competitions like the AIOA are also important in terms of national exports, in the way in which Australian oils have been presented on the world stage.”

Peter and Caroline O’Clery, Homeleigh Grove 

“Competitions like the AIOA are paramount because it makes you focus on what you have to do. If you got a score that’s not up to scratch, you know that perhaps you have to get a horticulturalist in to help you improve – or at least take a long, hard look at what you’re not doing well.  “I think the AOA is fantastic in the way they set the standards and the criteria for the competition. It’s an international award and it’s the benchmark for the states and all the producers. 

“And the marketing benefits are absolutely amazing. A restaurant we sell to loves being able to tell people about our awards and people are asking where they can buy the oil, so now they’re selling it as well.  “Consumers hear about the awards and say ‘Oh my gosh, we’d better buy some’!”

Chris and Paul Lovell, Rochford Hall


“Competitions like the AIOA are absolutely paramount to the industry. It allows people to show that their products can compete with the best around, and gives you so much more confidence in what you’re doing.

“It also affects sales. You can proudly put on an award sticker, and when we do our tastings, we can display our certificates on the table. People want to talk to you about it and it gives customers confidence that you have some of the best oil in the country.

“It’s important to consumers to see those awards and the proof of that quality.”

Barry and Anne Sanders, Tarralea Estate 

“A major win like this is important both personally and from a business point of view. It gives us personal satisfaction and pride in what we’re doing and it also helps out in the marketplace, when we’re selling and people can see our product has won multiple awards.

“And I think most of all it’s the passion and the drive it gives us to keep producing better and better every year.”

Mick Labbozzetta, Kyneton Olive Oil


 “Until we entered the competition last year, we had underestimated its importance. Not only does it provide a really important benchmark for whether we are achieving an excellent product (or not), we have gained so much confidence in what we are doing and built our reputation with customers.

Also, we have been able to increase our prices on the Gold medal products.”

Owen & Dianne Carington Smith, Bruny Island Olives.



“It meant a lot to the team and as a business we’ve achieved something. It’s also very good for sales, as people care about the award”.

Jared Bettio, Rio Vista Olives

“Winning in Australia also carries with it the prestige of succeeding on the international stage which can only enhance our production credentials for high-quality oils back home in New Zealand.”

Rod Lingard, The Olive Press



“We’ve always been keen to get as many awards as we can because it really does sell your product. And certainly, post-awards I saw the change – if I had two to three times as much oil I’d have no trouble selling it. There’s been a good bit of media exposure – newspapers, Channel 9 – I sat at home and people rang me asking ‘Can you do a story for us?’ It’s triggered a lot of interest in the oil and that’s really permeated into the local retail outlets.

“Once it’s got the badge you can raise the price a little because this is special. People know what the price is, they know it’s worth it and they’re buying it.  There’s also the personal satisfaction: we want to know we’re right up there with the best, and that what we’re doing meets best practice. The AIOA win justifies all the time and the effort we’ve put in.”

Geoff Treloar, W2Olives


“That you can share your product with people who know what they’re doing, and get that reward and acknowledgement from them, is really extraordinarily satisfying. It’s fact, it’s evidence-based, and it really means something coming from your peers.”

Jude Cazaly, Flinders Island Olives



 “Over the years winning these awards has really put us on the map. And the semi-dried is a bit of a flagship in our production, probably what we’re best known for, so a win like this pulls everything along with it. People think if we won with that one, the rest must be good too.

“It makes entering the competition a very good idea but it’s not the only value: it is also enormously valuable for yourself. It’s a bit confronting putting yourself out there and people maybe not thinking your products are good but it’s incredibly important if you don’t want to be stuck in your own world. From that point of view, I think competitions are essential”.  Marlies Eicher, Saluté Oliva