We now have enough distance from the 2023 harvest to take stock of what happened and to have seen the oils settle. So, what’s the verdict?
2023 was another super challenging growing season. Following a relatively mild and dry winter, the rain and wind came in late spring at exactly the toughest moment, flowering. This had a particular impact in central and northern Italy reducing fruit set significantly. The summer began rather wet but then the heat kicked in during July and August requiring many of our growers to irrigate sporadically. Even if every measure is taken to dry farm, we have to be realistic about the changing climate and what impact it has on farming.
The south of Italy fared better in terms of volume and this season, an incredible 86% of Italian Olive Oil came collectively from the regions of Puglia, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily*, which is largely accounted for due to the significant reduction in central and northern Italy.
The heat throughout the summer months did an incredible job to concentrate the polyphenols and so the resulting oils from our incredible growers have high levels of these wonderful natural antioxidants. As is true for wine growing, challenging harvests are when it’s ever more important to follow the best producers, because the difference in resulting quality is often more noticeable. The attention to detail required in a difficult year is rewarded ever more in the bottle.
The flavours in all of the oils we have shared with you from this harvest are pure and true, representative of their origin in the best possible way and we are genuinely proud of our frantoiani for the quality they have delivered. As we unfurl from winter, we do however wish them a far less complicated growing season ahead!
* source ISMEA