Napa Valley is quite well-known for the production of wines and because the vineyards are biodynamic, the bees in wineries also help in the production of honey. However, there is another Napa Valley product which is definitely a must-have: olive oil.
Napa Valley has already been producing olive oils since the early 1990s and has been dubbed as liquid gold. Since then, olive oils have been widely used by a growing number of people for lots of things such as cooking. In Napa, olive trees are usually planted at the end of the rows of grape vines. They are considered as one indicator of a good vineyard along with the presence of bees.
Olives and Grapes
A lot of growers would say that Napa Valley is one of the best regions to grow olive trees and grapes. High-quality wines and olive oils are a testament to that. But the question is, how do they achieve that?
The reason is because of Napa Valley’s climate and the soil. The dry Mediterranean type of climate of Napa is ideal for the growing of not just grapes, but also olive trees. Mornings tend to be sunny and warm followed by cool evenings. This transition allows the fruit to ripen slowly and evenly. On the other hand, the structure and composition of the soil also affects the quality of the fruits. In Napa Valley, there are 100 different soil variations due to the region’s tectonic plate movements and volcanic activities in the course of history. The valley floors are deeper and more fertile while hillsides have rocky soils.
Because of the great combination of weather conditions and soil composition, wineries have chosen to grow both grapes and olives in their vineyards and estates. Aside from wine tasting, visitors also try olive oil tasting although not all wineries have that option.
As a primary olive oil producer, California has been producing 99% of the olive oil within the United States.
Regular olive oil vs. extra virgin olive oil
A lot of people do not know the difference between a regular olive oil and an extra virgin olive oil. When an olive oil is referred to as “extra virgin”, it means that it is processed and developed in the purest, high-quality method. In this process, the olives which are used are pure and cold-pressed. Extra virgin olive oils also needed to pass through agencies such as the California Olive Oil Council in order to verify that they are truly made with only high-quality ingredients.
Olive oils with names other than regular or extra virgin are made with a combination of standard and cold-pressed olives.
The Olive trees of Fantesca
The Arbequina trees grow well during long, hot dry summers but they are still resistant to frost and pests. The Mission trees are known to be the most resistant to cold and the Manzanilla trees, which originated from Sevilla, Spain, is considered to be one of the most abundant olives and commonly used for stuffing. Manzanilla olives are also found on a toothpick when serving martinis.
Fantesca produces two special, hand-bottled extra virgin olive oils: the Arbequina and Mission-Man, a combination of olives from both Mission and Manzanilla trees.
If you wish to know more about Fantesca’s olive oils and have a tasting session, contact us here to book an appointment!