Most people think of shiraz and/or chardonnay when they talk about Australia, yet this huge country with many climates produces a significant amount olive oil.
This industry is relatively young compared to Mediterranean countries, but growers have made good use of up-to-date research conducted by European scientists and selected the most suitable lands and climates to plant their olive groves.
Moore River Region, Margaret River and Great Southern Region in Western Australia, the Fleurie Peninsula in South Australia, North, Central, and Western Victoria, northern slopes of New South Wales, Hunter Valley and the Murray Irrigation Area and South eastern Queensland are the most densely planted. Tasmania also has some groves.
The preferred varieties are – frantoio, correggiolo and lecino, all of which are of Italian origin.
Many producers use olive harvesting machines, but a few prefer the more gentle hand picking.
Olives are pressed within 24 hours of harvest to ensure freshness of the end product.
Extra virgin, virgin, regular, and pomace oils are produced.
Inj view of the fact that Australia has no olive oil tradition, many manufacturers produce and market flavoured olive oils i.e chile, herbs, spices, saffron just to name a few.
Although Australia imports olive oil, it also exports to the U S A, China, New Zealand, even to Italy and Spain.
Australian olive oil is more expensive than Mediterranean products mainly because olive oil groves are much smaller and the government does not have financial support programmes unlike European jurisdictions.
Australian olive oils taste slightly less vacuous than those from Mediterranean countries, but from a flavour perspective can stand their own ground against any on the world.
Canada does import Australian olive oil but so far marketing efforts have been very sporadic and inconsequential.
If and when you visit Australia taste and see for yourself. You may even bring back a few bottles and hope more companies will import them and at prices the average consumer can afford.