Producers of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I grew up on a farm which had a huge olive orchard and while we pickled our own olives for home use, the bulk of the crop was sold to an Italian family in Paarl who turned the olives into oil, some of which was returned to us for use at home.
Some years ago I picked up my first litre bottle of Vesuvio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and became hooked on South African produced oil. At every available opportunity, olive fairs, food festivals and open air markets where there was a Vesuvio stand, I bought litre bottles, eventually getting to know Gert and Alinda van Dyk – Gert heads up Vesuvio Estates – quite well, passionate about great oil they are.
Vesuvio Estates has a history dating back some fifty years when extra virgin olive oil was produced on a farm called Agterdam by means of a traditional press and marketed under the name Capriolio. Later a Rapanelli Sinolea extraction system was introduced.
Enter in 1972 Dr Carlo Castiglione, who majored in olive culture at the University of Naples. Dr Castiglione joined the Clifford-Harris Group, which then owned Agterdam, for a period of five years concentrating on the propagation of olive trees, table olives and production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Here he introduced intensive planting of olive trees, irrigation by micro sprinklers and the first continuous cycle olive oil extraction plant, made by Rapanelli, was installed in South Africa. Olienhof Farm in Wellington became part of the company which produced table olives and oil under the Olienhof label.
In 1996 the sadly neglected farms came on the market and were purchased by Arturo Dotoli from Naples. He named the farms Vesuvio after Mount Vesuvius on whose slopes near Naples in Italy he was already producing Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the best of Italian traditions.
Arturo was a friend of Carlo Castiglione in Italy, so he was an obvious choice as General Manager. The farming operation began in earnest, the buildings were given a facelift, and the trees responded generously to good orchard management and production turned around dramatically. A new Rapanelli continuous cycle extraction plant was installed and in 1997 the first award winning Vesuvio Extra Virgin Olive Oil was pressed.
Husband-and-wife team Gert and Alinda van Dyk joined the company in 2002 and during that year an additional 15,000 olive trees were planted. In 2003 Carlo retired from full time occupation though he remains part of Vesuvio Estates in an advisory capacity. In 2004 further development took place when more land was made available. The olive oil factory was expanded and a state of the art extraction plant, the largest extraction plant of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, was commissioned from Rapanelli and installed into the newly upgraded factory.
Today Arturo is still involved in all aspects of the farming, production and marketing of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Gert van Dyk, General Manager and Oil Maker ably assists him. Gert has an Agricultural background, a passion for olive oil and a sound knowledge of what constitutes Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Vesuvio Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced from handpicked olives, plucked at their peak, and nurtured and bottled on the Vesuvio estate in the lovely Paarl area of the Western Cape. You’ll love its fresh aroma, capturing the perfection of pure olives.
You’ll find it ideal for cooking, dressings and sauces. It’s rich in Vitamin E, a powerful natural antioxidant. Importantly, the natural free acidity is less than 0.8%, and it contains no cholesterol or sodium, reducing the risk of heart disease. Enjoy a gourmet oil that is 100% natural, free of additives or preservatives, and which is perfect in its individual blend of fruitiness, appropriately attractive slight bitterness and optimal pungency, varying slightly according to climate and season.
At Vesuvio Estates, quality is of paramount importance. High Standards of Hygiene and careful handling of the product from picking to bottling is the guarantee of quality. Processed under exacting conditions, cold pressed at less than 30°C to ensure complete retention of valuable properties, Vesuvio is one of the finest Extra Virgin olive oils available today.
Vesuvio Natural Extra Virgin Olive oil is available in three sizes, namely 250 ml, 500 ml, and 1 Litre bottles.
Vesuvio Olive Oil is available throughout South Africa in Deli’s, farm stalls, participating Pick ‘n Pay, SPAR and Woolworths stores.