We have planted over 150 Spanish olive trees on Korte Ranch. Our Spanish olive oil blend consists of 80% Arbequina olives and 20% Arbosana olives. Planting continued with the addition of a Tuscan blend, consisting of 50% Lecino olives, 20% Frantoio, 20% Marina and 10% Pendolino. We also have a small number of heritage Mission olive trees. All oils are produced as extra virgin oils and are available for sale.
The olive harvest time is great fun. It occurs in November/early December, when the olives are just starting get ripe and slightly soft. Napa Valley weather is still usually mild. As you can see in the 2009 video below, we are blessed to have our friends and neighbors help with the olive picking. We get a morning start, offering coffee, donuts, cookies, and even a little Sauvignon Blanc if you feel the need. We break into groups of three, four or five and surround a tree. Tarps are placed under the trees. We use our hands to strip off the olives. You would not believe how soft the skin on your hands becomes after an hour or so. Once the tree is fully stripped, we gather the olives into small bins and dump them into 1/2 ton bins and move on to the next tree. It is quite a social event. The crew is rewarded with a sumptuous sit-down luncheon with great Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wine from the Korte Ranch Vineyards.
Our 2012 harvest was quite abundant producing 73 gallons. We submitted the Arbequina and Tuscan oils to the California Olive Oil Council and this harvest passed the requirements for certification as Extra Virgin Oil.
In 2013, we produced only 43 gallons and entered our oil in the Napa County Fair. We were honored to be awarded a gold medal for our 2013 Korte Ranch Tuscan oil and a silver medal for our 2013 Korte Ranch Arbequina oil.
The olives must be pressed with 24 hours of picking (here is why), so the next morning, bright and early, we truck the bins to be pressed. They are weighed and run through the press in batches. Not much for us to do, just watch and wait. Like this:
Our Korte Ranch Arbequina olive oil is a beautiful golden color, mild with a buttery flavor and some peppery notes. Korte Ranch Tuscan Blend is also a beautiful golden color, more of a medium flavor blend with a peppery finish. Occasionally, we harvest olives from our heritage Mission Olives and produce an oil.