The California State Fair is pleased to announce the 2023 winners of the eighth annual California Commercial Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. A panel of 12 experienced sensory analyst judges gathered at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento on March 8 to swirl, sniff, sip, and analyze samples of olive oil from producers all over California. The annual competition celebrates the olive-growing and olive oil producing industries in California, and is open only to Extra Virgin and Flavored Olive Oils made from 100% olives which are grown, milled and packaged in California.
This year 540 shining new bottles of extra virgin and flavored olive oils lined the cellar shelves at Cal Expo. Each of the 134 entries arrived with hope from their Producers that their care, expertise and hard work would result in a coveted Best of Show Golden Bear Trophy.
California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Head Judge Nancy Ash, an advocate for California’s olive oil industry since 1996, is the President of Strictly Olive Oil LLC. Ash enlisted the talents of an exceptional group of skilled and experienced judges, some with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Ash commented on the judging event, “The California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is one of my favorite events of the year! It is an honor to work with this group of exceptional tasters. It is educational for us to taste the varied flavors produced from the many different varieties of olives grown in our great state. I appreciate that this competition supports California Agriculture, and the hardworking farmers and producers that contribute to our state’s olive oil industry.”
The 2023 Best of Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Coratina Olive Oil, by Olive Truck of San Francisco, CA. Olive Truck’s Coratina also won one of only 2 Double Gold Medals awarded this year. This is the second Best of Show award in a row for Sam Bayraktar, owner of Olive Truck. In 2022, he won the award for his Tuscan Blend. According to Bayraktar, “California has a number of olive oil producers that are working hard to put California on the world olive oil map by producing exceptional olive oils. I’m deeply happy to be a part of this effort. I am honored and grateful to have been named Best of Show at the California State Fair for the second year in a row.”
The 2023 Best of Show Flavored Olive Oil is a Basil, co-milled, flavored oil by Sciabica’s California Olive Oil, of Modesto, CA. “My Family is honored to be awarded Best of Show! For me, the California State Fair Competition is the major league for California Olive Oil Producers,” said Jon Sciabica, owner of Sciabica’s California Olive Oil. “Winning here truly validates the hard work of our entire team!”
This competition honors Olive Oil producers at all production levels. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Micro-producer Award (Less than 500 gallons annually) was awarded to a Picual by Rio Bravo Ranch of Bakersfield, CA. The Best of California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by an Artisan Producer Award (between 500 and 5,000 gallons annually) was awarded to a Coratina by Olive Truck of San Francisco, CA. The Best of California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Large Producer Award (more than 5,000 gallons annually), went to a Taggiasca by Séka Hills of Brooks, CA.
During the 2023 California State Fair, July 14 – 30, fair guests will enjoy an exhibit featuring award-winning flavored and extra virgin olive oils, with free tastings, and the opportunity to purchase olive oil directly from award-winning California producers.
A complete listing of award-winning California Olive Oils and competition information can be found on the California State Fair website at CalExpoStateFair.com/California-Commercial-Extra-Virgin-Olive-Oil
About the California State Fair
The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology, and the diversity of its people, traditions, and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. The 2023 State Fair will include a comprehensive set of competitions, including California’s best commercial wines, cheeses, craft beers, cannabis, olive oils, and fine arts, among others.