Leone d’Oro International is different from other competitions

Is different because we are not interested in simply giving awards for extra virgin olive oil. 

Instead, the mission of Leone d’Oro is to improve the quality of extra virgin olive oil, share good harvesting, milling and storage practices.

We want to share authentic excellence in the production of EVOO.

In doing so we support biodiversity and olive farmers, the real protagonists of our mission

What’s unique about Leone d’Oro International?

Some details, the right ones:

  • An independent award without sponsors or outside funding: a competition that is done by olive growers. Awards are given twice a year: in May for olive oils from the Northern Hemisphere, and in November for those from the Southern Hemisphere
  • A single, professional panel, made up of 13 professional olive oil tasters, coordinated by Panel Leader Maria Paola Gabusi and accredited by the Italian government agency Mipaaf
  • The panel tastes the olive oils once each week as they are submitted, all year long.  The panel tastes no more than 12 samples at each session, during which each oil is carefully analyzed and discussed by the panel.  Each sample is re-tested at a later time to evaluate shelf life
  • Each olive oil is analyzed according to the International Olive Council’s sensory analysis evaluation form, which measures the intensity of the perception of aromas and taste characteristics, together with the Leone d’Oro evaluation form, which focuses on the quality of perceived attributes of the olive oil such as harmony, complexity, persistence, and notes on the olive variety
  • While all entries are tasted by the panel, only those scoring 85/100 points or higher are admitted into the competition, become official Selezione Leone.  Official selections are then narrowed down to 8 finalists in each category, of which only one will be named winners  

We are rigorous.

The Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony takes place over two days and is an occasion for celebrating olive oil producers and bringing awareness of high-quality EVOO to a diverse audience

In an ancient olive grove on Lake Garda, free oil tasting sessions with Maria Paola alternate with more informal opportunities for meeting and networking

Lunch is also a moment of discovery: each guest is invited to bring a taste of their regional cuisine to share, and in doing so the Leone d’Oro transforms knowledge into flavor

Leone d’Oro is unique and always evolving.
We are working continuously to develop collaborations and original ideas to bring the story of high-quality EVOO to new audiences.
These include 3 new awards we developed to reflect our society, and our collaboration with artist @Bernulia, who creates new images of olives and olive oil through her dazzling art:

Leone d’Oro Social, because it’s not just about making great olive oil, you also have to communicate.
This award is given by a jury of digital communication experts, after immersing themselves in a day-long masterclass on the qualities of EVOO led by panel leader Maria Paola.  The award is based on the best social media outreach by the producers.

Leone d’Oro Best Packaging, because beautiful packing help to sell excellent EVOO.
A jury of illustrators, designers, and photographers evaluate the design and packaging all of the EVOOs entered into the competition and award this prize to the most innovative, creative packaging that also protects the excellence of the olive oil.

Leone d’Oro Kids, Because education is the foundation of our mission. Each year, a group of 4th graders is chosen to complete a short lesson on the culture of olive oil and learn to taste EVOO like a professional.  After that, they get to vote on their favorite olive oil.

For professionals and those who love olive oil, the Leone d’Oro International awards ceremony is a chance to meet others with the same passion, create synergies and learn more about the care of the environment that creates such excellent EVOO. #savebiodiversity

Panel and evaluations

We are convinced that the ability to honestly evaluate the olive oils submitted to the competition is inextricably linked to the ability of the tasting panel to evaluate and compare all the samples with each other. 

For the past 3 years, the same panel of 13 professional tasting has been meeting once a week (or online in quarantine times) to train and hone their skills as professional tasters of extra virgin olive oil.
The panel leader, Maria Paola Gabusi, organizes, guides the tastings, and aligns the olfactory and gustative perceptions of the group.

The panel tastes, evaluates and defines the organoleptic characteristics of the oil that olive oil producers from all over the world (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Brazil, Morocco and China, to name just a few) entrust to the panel.

The sensorial evaluation form created by the panel for every olive oil that qualifies as an official selection of the Leone d’Oro is sent to the producers, which is an indispensable tool for growing and achieving excellence.

Why should you send your olive oil to Leone d’Oro ?

Of course, winning is wonderful, and everybody likes to win.
But the Leone d’Oro International has chosen a more difficult path, one that does not give an award to every olive oil submitted.
When you participate with one or more of your oils, we understand that you have sent us the results of a year of hard work and dedication, which is why we work to give you:

  • The most exclusive showcase for the very best olive oils in the world
  • A careful and scrupulous sensory evaluation
  • focused and targeted consulting services
  • Marketing with opportunities for increased visibility and sales for your olive oil thanks to Leone d’Oro International’s partners (including….)Olioveto USA, Wilfriedlehr gmbh, …).

In addition, we are committed to educating the public about biodiversity and the importance of olive cultivation and olive oil production in the survival and protection of biodiversity. 
But you are the one who can do this better than anyone, and that’s why we are committed to telling the world about your olive oil and working to support the right price for your quality EVOO.