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SA Olive Awards 2022, Entries and Sponsors

SA Olive Awards 2022, Entries and Sponsors

The time has come to mark off this important date on the calendar. The 17th annual SA Olive Awards will take place on Thursday, 8th September 2022 at the picturesque Laborie Wine Estate in Paarl.

The judging of all EVOOs that have been entered into the competition will take place between the 22nd and 26th of August 2022 at Klein Joostenberg, near Stellenbosch.

All entries will be assessed by a panel of well-known international and local judges, all of whom are olive industry experts.


Aldo Mazzini (Panel Leader)

Residing in Imperia, Italy, Dr. Aldo Mazzini is a dedicated and whole-hearted olive oil expert. Over the years, Aldo has shared his knowledge, appreciation and passion about the industry at numerous events across the globe.

Other than being our Panel Leader at the 2022 SA Olive Awards, Aldo has served as a judge at various national and international olive oil competitions, including the London, Berlin and Amsterdam IOOCs and Zeitindostu OOC-IZMIR. Aldo has been an official member of the ONAOO Panel since 2000, won the “Taster of the Year” in 2000 and 2001, graduated as Panel Leader at the Florence Chamber of Commerce in 2009 and been an active member of ONAOO’s International Register of Professional Tasters since 2016.

Aldo is always keen to impart some professional knowledge about the industry, and while he is here, he will giving two courses at the Klein Joostenberg Conference Venue:

Basic EVOO tasting on 29 AugustBooking form download
Advanced EVOO tasting on 30 AugustBooking form download
Booking for these courses is essential. Please email info@saolive.co.za for more information.

Pablo Canamasas

Gracing our shores all the way from Argentina, and on his third visit to South Africa, SA Olive welcomes Pablo Canamasas to our international judging panel for 2022. With 25 years’ experience in the olive oil industry, Pablo currently provides consultancy services for various private companies and olive associations across the globe.

After graduating in Argentina, and specialising in olive oil production and oil quality, Pablo attained a post-graduate degree in oil production and table olives in Jaen, Spain. Since then, he has honed his skills in modern olive oil extraction techniques, olive processing, oil blending and quality control.

Pablo is respected worldwide and is a regular key speaker on olive oil at processing courses, conferences and seminars around the world. While in South Africa, Pablo will be doing two courses at the Klein Joostenberg Conference Venue:  

Quality and shelf-life aspects in EVOO on 27 AugustBooking form download
New technologies for EVOO processing on 27 AugustBooking form download

for these courses is essential. Please email info@saolive.co.za for more information.

Franco Pasquini

On his first trip to South Africa, Dr. Franco Pasquini joins SA Olive’s judging panel as its third international judge. Also residing in Italy, Franco has been an accredited Extra Virgin Olive Oil taster since 1995, an International Olive Council (IOC) Panel Leader since 1997, and is the President of ANAPOO (National Association of Olive Oil Professional Tasters) where he leads one of the four panels of ANAPOO. These panels are recognised by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Policies.

Franco has participated as a judge in several international olive oil competitions, including Athena International Olive Oil Competition, Biol, Ercole Olivario, Harmony, Tokyo International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. Since 2013, he has been the Panel Leader of the “Il Magnifico” International Olive Oil Competition held in Florence and has organized and directed numerous official courses for tasters in accordance with IOC / EU regulations in various parts of Italy. Franco is eagerly looking forward to sharing his passion for EVOO and tasting experience with SA Olive’s tasters and members.


Benedetta Lami

Growing up in Tuscany, Italy, amongst the gorgeous olive groves, Benedetta was taught to appreciate good olive oil from an early age.

After becoming a professional olive oil taster in 2007, 2009 saw her pass her Physiological Suitability Test (I.O.O.C. method, Dr Luciano Scarselli) as well as become an official member of the SA Olive tasting panel.

Since then, Benedetta has been a regular taster for SA Olive’s CTC (Commitment to Compliance) quality scheme and a judge on the panel for the SA Olive Awards, the ABSA Top 5 and Top 10 competitions.

From 2002 to 2016, Benedetta was the organiser and a taster in the Marco Zichella Awards, an olive oil competition held in memory of her late father.

Her other accolades include being on the judging panel for the Sol D’oro Southern Hemisphere in Cape Town in 2015 and 2018, and in Melbourne in 2016. In 2018, Benedetta attended an Olive Oil Sommelier Master Class in Florence, and became an associate of the prestigious register of the EVOO Savantes after successfully completing a challenging test.

Jackie Loubser

Jackie’s career in olive oil tasting started in 2017 when she attended an EVOO appreciation course held by Linda Costa. Since then, she has attended the EVOO Savantes in 2018 and 2019, when she participated in the Savantes Olive Oil Team Tasting World Championships in Spain.

After successfully completing the Savantes tasting course examination, she became an associate. Since 2020, Jackie has been a member the tasting panel of the SA Olive Industry Association and attended numerous courses and workshops.

These included an SA Olive course and tasting panel refresher course presented by Aldo Mazzini.  Throughout 2022, Jackie has presented olive oil tasting and food pairing workshops for SA Olive at culinary schools in South Africa.

Reni Hildenbrand

An EVOO and wine producer, Reni has been a member of the SA Olive Industry Association since 1992. She received her Olive Oil Taster Certificate from O.N.A.O.O. in Imperia, Italy, in 2002 and completed an international course for Panel Supervisors of Virgin Olive Oil Tasters at O.N.A.O.O. in 2005.

For the past 13 years, she has been a taster and panel leader on the SA Olive organoleptic panel, assessing olive oil quality for the CTC scheme.

Other accolades under Reni’s belt include writing a book titled, ‘Olives and Oil in South Africa’, presenting olives, olive oil and tasting courses, being panel leader in 2016 for Olive NZ in Oakland, being a taster on two panels in Turkey and a taster on the Sol D’ Oro Olive competitions in Peru, Cape Town and Japan.

Lately Reni has presented Olive Oil tasting courses at the Hurst Chef School in Paarl, as well as Val de Vie and Pearl Valley.


The South African Olive Industry Association is delighted to announce that a total of 119 entries from 49 producers have been received for this year’s Awards (an increase on last year’s 113 entries from 46 producers).

The 2022 SA Olive Awards are sponsored by four leading manufacturers of olive processing equipment: Alfa Laval, Amenduni, Pieralisi and MORI-TEM. SA Olive is grateful to these sponsors for their ongoing support.

About SA Olive

SA Olive is an association representing the common interests of the South African olive industry and is committed to supporting a healthy future, i.e. ensuring a healthy future for its members, healthy growth and development for the industry and a healthy lifestyle for all South Africans.

Always look out for the SA Olive CTC seal on a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). This is a seal of confidence and it’s the guarantee that the producer is ‘committed to compliance’ in quality olive oil production.  It confirms that the EVOO is 100% locally (South African) produced and is authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

saolive awards

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