Held on 16 September 2009, the annual award ceremony was hosted by the industries governing body, SA Olive and was sponsored by Consol. Entries were tasted blind by the official SA Olive tasting panel - headed by industry stalwart Gerrie Duvenage - and were rated according to set criteria.
Awards were made to oils that scored a pre-determined number of points, a model also used successfully in the wine industry. “I am astonished at receiving this award,” says Annalene. “I was hopeful for an award, but I never expected gold. It's the realisation of what we have been working for - and tells me we are doing things right.”
While all the oils entered were excellent, only four gold medals were awarded - one of them being Kloovenburg. Annalene believes Kloovenburg won because of the harmony and complexity of their olive oil. “We work very hard, but winning is just magic. Riebeek Kasteel is an excellent area for olives because of the Mediterranean climate, but this year's harvest wasn't exceptional because we have had too much rain. You need fantastic olives for good oil and the groves have to be well managed and the oil handled and extracted correctly too.”
In addition, Annalene has been named the 2009 ABSA Olive Achiever of the Year - for her unbridled passion and dedicated contribution to the growth of the South African Olive Industry. Through the success of Kloovenburg Olives, Annalene has ensconced Riebeek Kasteel as an olive Mecca of South Africa.
Annalene's business started in 2000 from her farmhouse kitchen. Now she produces over 40 olive product lines, including a cosmetics range that is exported to the Netherlands, Germany and Mauritius. Her olive inspired offerings include traditional and flavoured bottled olives, unusual tapenades, sundried and smoked olives, oil infusions and her personal favourite: cold extracted extra virgin olive oil.
“Now,” says Annalene, “we need to stay at the top and encourage the public to buy South African Olive Oil.” Because it's ‘gold class'.
Kloovenburg is open for wine tastings, cellar tours and sales from Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm as well as on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm.
For more information, go to www.kloovenburg.com.
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