Dry Creek Valley may be world-renown for its delicious wines, but the same climate and terroir that create such beautiful grapes also are the perfect bedrock for many other crops. You may notice this in the variety of products (other than wine!) that many of Dry Creek Valley tasting rooms offer from day-to-day. One crop in particular grows exceptionally well in Dry Creek Valley and has been for 100+ years – and that is olives! You’ll find a wide diversity of trees such as Tuscan, Spanish and Greek covering acres across the Valley.
The olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley typically begins directly following the grape harvest. Wineries who have olive trees get no rest until December – if they’re lucky! Wineries harvest these olives and use them to craft high quality olive oils only found locally.
The 2016 Olive Harvest in Dry Creek Valley was overall reported to be lighter than previous years due to drought like climate. But olives are an alternating-bearing crop so comparing to your previous harvest isn’t always an accurate tool to measure by. Here’s a wrap on harvest information from some of our most famous olive oil producers and our newest!
Tracy and Saul Harvesting Olives at Comstock Wines!
The newest winery to the olive oil game is Comstock Wines. This is their first olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley! On their Dry Creek Valley estate, they have over 100 olive trees, mostly the Greek olive variety, Koroneiki, and Spanish variety, Arbequina. The Comstock team was able to harvest all 100 trees in just one day. Hospitality Director, Tracy Bidia said that it was a “fun team building day!” Visit the tasting room in the beginning of 2017 to try their olive oil first!
The Crew Hard at Work Harvesting Olives at DaVero.
DaVero harvests 22 acres of olives on their estate and 5 acres from neighboring property at their Westside property. These olive trees were planted back in 1990 from cuttings that were imported directly from a Tuscan farm. This ancient olive grove is home to olive trees that are over 800 years old! Olive trees take 25 years to reach full harvest, so DaVero’s trees are in their prime. In 2016 the olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley began for DaVero on October 14th but due to conflicting labor schedules, several rain delays, they are just finishing this week with a sigh of relief. DaVero olive oil is never better than when it is freshly pressed – so be sure to stop by soon to sample some of their acclaimed Olio Nuovo for a real treat.
The Annual Olive Oil Winemaker Dinner at Martorana was a Tasty Success!
Over 340 Spanish and Italian olive trees line 35 acres of vineyards at Martorana Family Winery’s organic estate. These trees were planted by Tony Martorana back in the early 80s. All of these olives go into their exclusive Olio di Gio olive oil, named after their winemaker/owner Gio Martorana. Gio actually began making olive oil first in his career before deciding to become a winemaker. As a celebration of the new olive harvest, Martorana hosts an Olive Oil Winemaker Dinner each November and gives their members the chance to watch Gio press the harvested olives and taste the freshly pressed oil before a 5-course dinner curated around the current pressing of Olio di Gio – talk about an amazing meal!
Ready for Pressing at Rafanelli
Since 2006 Rafanelli has planted over 1,600 olive trees located at the winery estate and more located on both north and south of the winery. These groves have both Spanish and Italians varieties planted consisting of Leccino, Frantoi, Pendolino. Much like Rafanelli’s Zinfandel grapes, there is a high standard for their olives! The trees are hand harvested every year, the olives cold pressed and then the oil is bottled to sell at the winery. This estate extra virgin oil is delicious for dipping, cooking and finishing dishes with. Currently the 2016 olive oil is settling – you’ll have to wait until 2017 to taste.
Possibly the most recognized label of olive oil comes from Trattore Farms under the Dry Creek Olive Company label. All around Sonoma County you’ll see these olive oils on shelves and on menus. This year Trattore harvested from their 150+ year old trees for a very special olive oil soon to make its debut. Trattore houses nearly 5 acres of estate fruit and their very own custom olive mill that incorporates both tradition and modern olive oil making styles. Trattore opens its mills to the olive growing community during the olive harvest season during their Community Milling dates. In 2016, olive growers turned out in numbers for a chance to create community olive oil despite the pouring rain.
Any time of year you can visit Trattore for an in depth lesson and tasting through their olive oils. They even offer perfect variety packs if you can’t choose your favorite!
Which Dry Creek Valley olive oil is your favorite? Let us know by tagging us for a chance to be featured on our pages.