Ripertoli Olive Oil

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Ripertoli is olives-for-oil country and the harvesting of the crop (la raccolta) is taken as seriously by the locals as the wine harvest. Until the terrible winter of 1985, when almost all the olive trees seemed to die, the hills were covered with large trees with a central main trunk. The trees that recovered from this freezing weather re-grew with 4 or 5 smaller trunks around the now-dead old trunk. There are very few original old trees in our part of Tuscany and almost none at Ripertoli.

Through neglect over many years the olive terraces at Ripertoli had become over grown and the dry stone walls partially collapsed and became covered in ivy, but in 2005 we decided to reverse this decline and put time and energy into re-creating the olive groves of the past

Firstly we cleared some of the old terraces of the scrub that had grown up – with devastating consequences, as we had failed to get the appropriate permissions and the fines imposed by the Forestale were significant. However, with time we became great friends with the Marshall of the Forestale and with his help and advice we have cleared almost all the back terraces and planted over 300 new olive trees. We now have a total of almost 600, half of which are in decent production. We have employed the second Roberto (Ballini as opposed to Pierazzuoli, who looks after the pool and the grass) and have bought an ancient crawler tractor for him to work the land. It is over 50 years old and the previous owner had been dead for 20 years when we bought it from her which created some minor legal difficulties!

Nigel bringing in the olive harvest

Nigel bringing in the olive harvest

As with all agricultural processes you are at the mercy of the elements and every year we watch the weather and absorb the natural pessimism of Roberto Ballini until the day the harvest starts. We have had a year with literally no production – 2014 – (caused by some fly laying its eggs in the olives – la mosca), and other years where it has been too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry. But this year, 2023, despite most of Southern Europe having had failed olive harvests (too much heat this time) we had a bumper harvest. It must have something to do with being very high in the hills so slightly cooler, as many of our near neighbours had almost no production.

We now get the frantoio where the olives are pressed to filter the oil so there is no deposit and this makes it easier to preserve the fresh taste, and we store as much as we can in a 200 litre metal drum in the ripostoglio. There is a tap at the bottom so you can just help yourself.

Out team of ancient ( over 70 ) and modern ( under 45 ) UK friends and family come each November and work themselves to death on the slopes in return for a jolly house party after dark and of course are paid in olive oil.

And the end result? The best olive oil in the world.

We hope you will enjoy it too.

 

We want our guests to share in the benefit from this extra production, so we will make available as much olive oil as you want throughout your stay. It will live in the metal dispenser by the cooker and all you have to do it turn on the tap! Marisa has been instructed to keep it full.

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If you would like to purchase some of Ripertoli’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil please click the ‘Buy Now’ button.

 

Ripertoli Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2012 emerging from the Press.

Ripertoli extra virgin olive oil 2012 emerging from the press.

By the way, lots of people ask what the definition of Extra Virgin is. It’s simple – less than 0.8 % acidity, cold-pressed once only, with no chemicals used.

pdficon Click this pdf icon to see the chemical analysis of our 2017 oil : 0.21 % acidity, a quarter of what’s allowed!

Hard at work collecting in the olive harvest