2019: A difficult year for Tuscan olive oil

There are 1.2 million olive growers in Italy cultivating 584 varieties and close to 150 million trees. There is as much diversity among oils as there is among wines. Even within Tuscany, a region that is 23,000 square kilometres in size, there is a tremendous range of styles, as the olive tree is as sensitive to site as is a grape variety like Sangiovese. The best oils have a fresh and lifted character with an elegant and balanced style, but without the spiciness that can often characterise Tuscan oil.

After an abundant crop in 2018, the olive harvest this year was one of the smallest in the past decade.  Olive crops fluctuate from year to year, and often produce low yields in a year that follows a bigger year. While this is one of the reasons behind the poor yield in 2019, volumes were also affected by cold weather in May, hot weather in early June and the emergence of flies in some of the cooler regions later in the season. Some of our producers (Isole e Olena) produced no oil at all, while others like Capezzana, Fontodi and Selvapiana produced only about 20% of what they made in 2018.

Due to such a short harvest in Tuscany and the tiny quantities of 2019 extra virgin olive oils produced, all our stock has been allocated. However, we have 2018 vintage Tuscan oils available from Fontodi and Capezzana, as well as 2018s from Le Ferre (Puglia) and Alpha Zeta (Veneto).