Did you know that Tokara wine estate is also producing olive oil? The first four hectares of its olive trees were planted in 2000 on the farm’s steep slopes on the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The orchards now cover 22 hectares and include the classic cultivars of Coratina, Leccino, Frantoio and Mission.

Says Anne-Marie Ferreira, co-owner and founding member of the TOKARA Olive Shed, “Our family is passionate about wine and food, and both elements play such a vital role in bringing family and friends together. It therefore made absolute sense for us to plant olives to produce quality extra virgin olive oil that would complement our quality wine range.”

Operations Manager Gert Van Dyk, who has twenty years of experience in the olive industry, is in charge of the estate’s olive oil production. “All of our olives are harvested by hand,” explains van Dyk. “Depending on the season, harvest usually begins in mid-March, and continues through until late-June. The cultivars ripen at different times, so harvest begins with Leccino, then Frantoio kicks in, then Mission, and we finish off with the Coratina.”

After harvesting, the olives then go to TOKARA’s Pieralisi extraction plant, where oil is released from the fruit through centrifuge. Only the first press of the olives is used, allowing Van Dyk to obtain the low levels of natural free acidity and peroxide that are critical to obtaining the Extra Virgin Olive Oil classification. Unused pips and olive flesh are then composted.

From the oil, TOKARA then produces two popular blends and three single-cultivar oils, namely Frantoio, Leccino and Mission olive oils. “Frantoio is the most important olive cultivar in Italy, and all of our blended oils are built around Frantoio. On its own it’s a medium to intense oil, with a nose of green grassy notes. The palate is sublime; it’s very well balanced between green and bitter notes, with a nutty aftertaste. Leccino, on the other hand, is a more delicate oil that’s a little sweeter on the nose. Mission is a medium-intensity fruity oil, with lovely apple notes on the nose and a walnut aftertaste. It’s an ideal all-round oil.”

TOKARA’s two blends are the Multi-Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is a blend Coratina, Frantoio and Leccino.

For more information, click here to visit TOKARA’s website.