A haul of gold medals by Kiwi olive oils in a prestigious international competition shows the industry is 'punching above its weight'.
All five olive oils entered in the 2020 New York International Olive Oil Competition won gold, something Olives New Zealand says is a massive confidence booster for growers here.
"We're really excited, this is tremendous," Gayle Sheridan, executive officer of Olives NZ told the Rural Today radio show on Magic Talk on Wednesday.
"We're just a small grower on an international scale...but there's a love that goes into this industry."
All the oil entered were winners from the 2019 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards.
"That just says that competition is really right up there with an international competition," said Sheridan. "And our oils are getting on almost a year old competing against the Northern Hemisphere oil which are freshly harvested - so just imagine if we were able to get our new season's oils into that competition."
The winning oils were Kakariki Mediterranean Blend; Kapiti Picual Blend; Olea Estate Picual; Old French Road Picual; and Woodside Bay.
Sherdian says local conditions mean growers here have to work that much harder compared to their international competitors.
"It is pretty tough here and we've had to do the research ourselves because international research doesn't apply in New Zealand and it's just really good to see that the industry is punching above its weight on that international platform."
There were more than 800 entries to the competition this year, with judging taking place remotely due to COVID-19.