Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has been revered and savored since the first harvest in Crete circa 2500 B.C. To be called extra virgin an oil must be mechanically pressed without the addition of heat or chemicals to extract or extend the oil. It must have a free fatty acid level less than 1%. It must pass an evaluation by a certified tasting panel and have no sensory defects. To be labeled as Estate Bottled oil, 95% of the fruit must come from the same property or groves. The color of extra virgin olive oil can vary from intense green to bright yellow, depending on the variety and time of harvest.
Grove 45 trees were imported from Tuscany in 1994. In 2004 Sicilian varieties were planted in a second grove. Grove 45 is organically hand farmed and harvested. Other than harvest and bottling all work is done by the founders, including hand labeling. Harvest is usually mid-November, and the fruit is generally 60% green to 40% black.
Grove 45 Extra Virgin Olive Oil has an intense green color and a robust, fruity, spicy flavor. It is the proud recipient of the California Olive Oil Council Seal of Excellence.
Our groves are located in the Chiles Valley District AVA in the Napa Valley Appellation. Chiles Valley is the perfect environment to grow olives (and grapes), with its warm summer days, chilly nights and an 800 to 1,300 foot elevation. Our soil is primarily Tehama loam, which drains well. With colder winters and springs, harvest comes earlier here than on the Napa Valley floor.
We grow 300 Tuscan variety olive trees, including Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino and Pendolino varieties, and 200 Sicilian Noccelara de Belice olive trees.
The Watering System
We use drip irrigation to avoid alternate bearing years.
Our groves are farmed organically.
Innovative Farming Practice
We do everything in our groves by hand from weeding to pruning to harvesting.
Grove 45 Style
Grove 45 Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a medium to full-bodied robust oil with an intensely deep green color and a fresh, fruity and peppery character. Our oil is reflective of the rugged and hilly terroir of Chiles Valley, a remote corner in northeastern Napa Valley where the groves are located.
Our first harvest over a two-day period in mid-November 2009 yielded a heavy crop. Because we pick our olives early to avoid frosts that can occur this time of year in Chiles Valley, they are greener than most olives. The olives are then delivered to the milling facility within hours of harvesting to maximize quality.
Racking and Bottling
After pressing, the oil rests for two months and is bottled in mid January.
THE OLIVE IN CALIFORNIA
The olive tree is one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world spreading from the Middle East to the Mediterranean more than 6,000 years ago. The olive came to California in the 18th century when Christian missionaries brought olives and grapes with them as they established missions throughout the state. By the 19th century, the olive oil industry was thriving in California due to the state’s perfect terroir for growing olives.
The California Olive Oil Industry began a resurgence in the late 1980’s when Lila Jaeger formed the Northern California Olive Oil Council (NCOOC) after restoring her 100-year-old groves at the Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa Valley and starting to produce olive oil. Bonnie Storm became secretary of the NCOOC, in its early years, and was among the first California farmers to import bare root Tuscan variety trees from Italy. A small group of original NCOOC members promoted the fledgling olive oil industry and soon the group became the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).
The COOC has successfully sponsored legislation to insure truth in labeling and prevent unlawful representation of oils from around the world as “extra virgin”. The group has a certification program that guarantees each certified oil is extra virgin. Today olive oil production in California is around one million gallons.