Our olive oils' expertise : from growing olives to bottling oil
We have planted 7 different varieties of olive trees (there are more than 1000 in the world!) In order to optimize pollination and to be able to offer different flavors.
Each variety of olive tree has different shapes and colors of leaves and fruits. Flowering takes place in May.
You can find the following varieties on the Domaine : Picholine, Aglandau, Negrette, Bouteillan, Cul blanc, Malaricoise, Cailletier.
The most common variety on the Domaine is Picholine, a variety endemic to the Uzès region. It allows us to claim the local Protected Designation of Origin. This variety has the particularity of being very poorly self-fertile and requiring the pollen of the Aglandau variety also present on the Domaine.
The olive tree is a beautiful and robust tree but it also requires attention and care to resist diseases and parasites and produce quality fruit.
The plantation is managed according to the principles of sustainable agriculture: the only treatment carried out makes it possible to fight against the olive tree fly, a parasite against which no satisfactory natural remedy exists.
This treatment is carried out at the latest 6 weeks before harvest. In all cases, we perform analyzes of our oil to ensure that no residue of this pesticide is present. Olive trees can be affected by various parasites (insects, fungi or bacteria). The olive fly is the most dangerous of them in our region; it pricks the still green olives to lay eggs, the larvae then feeding on the flesh of the olive. Infested olives usually fall off on their own before maturity (which is why we never collect olives from the ground).
To optimize growth and production, trees require regular pruning, every 3 years or so, knowing that in general, there is a heavy harvest every 2 years. In fact, branches that produced one year generally do not produce the following year.
The olives are picked at full maturity, variety by variety, between mid October and early January. This makes it possible to obtain "mono-varietal" oils (coming from a single variety of olive tree), with a low level of acidity, fruity and sweet.
The olives then took on colors between brown and black (the olives are all green when they are not ripe). We only collect healthy olives that we drop from trees into nets.
The harvest is carried out in 4 stages :
Lay the nets on the ground
Drop the olives, using vibrating combs or large remote-controlled rollers with flexible spokes to avoid damaging the trunks and branches.
Collect the olives that have fallen into the nets, either by a trawl system or by suction.
Sort the olives to remove leaves and other remains and place the olives in large crates called Palox.
We harvest between 40 and 100 tonnes of olives per year, a tree that can provide between 0 and 50 kg depending on its age and year.
During the harvest period, our olives are brought within 48 hours to the neighboring mill to be pressed by variety. The press is carried out according to traditional methods and according to the best standards of hygiene and quality.
The press is carried out "cold" (that is to say at a temperature below 27 ° C) and with mechanical processes. We can distinguish several phases:
Sorting and cleaning the olives to remove any remaining debris (leaves, stones, wood ...) and soil.
Grinding the olives (with their kernel) using a stone grinding wheel or a stainless steel worm screw.
The decanting and filtering of the juice to obtain only the translucent oil.
The oil is called "first pressing" because it comes only from the first pressing. The process is therefore similar to the naturally squeezed fruit juice that everyone can make at home!
Once extracted, the oil is stored in large stainless steel tanks to keep the oil away from light and at a constant temperature.
The oil is packaged "on demand" for optimal conservation. The types of packaging are very varied and depend on the desired quantity. We favor recyclable and "neutral" containers: glass and stainless steel. Stainless steel containers (from 25cl to 75cl), in addition to their aesthetic appearance, have the advantage of keeping the oil away from light and thus preventing it from oxidizing.