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Most people enjoy the delicious olive oil without wondering how it is made from the green olive. For all gourmets who have always wanted to know how the green extract is made:. Here you can learn all about olive oil production – the most popular oil in the world.

Production of olive oil: From antiquity to today

The olive and the tree on which it grows have been venerated since ancient times. The Semitic peoples cultivated the fruits of the tree as early as 3000 BC. They particularly liked to use the oil of the olive to anoint the body in religious ceremonies and to light their lamps. An ancient Hebrew law forbidding the destruction of olive trees is still followed there.

In the time of the Roman Empire, the olive was a mainstay of agriculture. They even used it to lubricate their cars. The Greeks traded virgin olive oil for wheat: the ornate clay vessels they used to transport the oil became part of civilisation’s flourishing art industry.

As a member of the evergreen family, the olive tree has a gnarled trunk and leaves with a silvery underside. Its strong root system is ideal for penetrating sand, limestone or heavy, poorly ventilated soils. The trees thrive best in regions with rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Although it can take up to eight years for a tree to bring in its first harvest, an individual tree can live for centuries.

Old manufacturing processes and the revival of commerce

How is old-pressed olive oil produced?


High-quality extra virgin olive oil is made from 100% unripe olives of the highest quality. In late spring, small flowers appear on the olive trees. Wind pollination leads to the flowering of the olives and the maximum oil content is reached about five to six months later. For the best olive oil, the olives are harvested green and unripe from early to mid-October.

Since ancient times, workers have been tapping fruit from trees with long stems. The process has not changed significantly over the centuries. Modern poles are similar to rakes. Originally, nets were spread under the tree to catch the falling olives. Many olive oil producers now use plastic covers to cushion the fall and allow a cleaner and faster harvest. In the case of industrially grown olive oils, large agitators are often used to shake the olives off the tree. At Di Bennardo, the olive oil producers pick and sort the olives for our premium extra virgin olive oil by hand.

What does extra virgin olive oil mean?

Olive oil production: the process at a glance

Harvesting, picking and sorting the olives

After the unripe green olives have been harvested by hand, they are carefully examined to sort out unhealthy olives. The olives are then brought to the press as quickly as possible and processed and pressed within a maximum of 6 hours to create the freshest and cleanest product.

Washing and grinding of olives

The green olives are rinsed with cold water and then passed on a conveyor belt between rollers or continuous hammers. This machine, often referred to as an olive mill or oil mill, grinds the olives with stone. In the past, the kernels were not ground as they did not like the harsh aroma. Nowadays, however, it has become customary to grind the seeds together in order to obtain the desired tart flavour in the high-quality olive oil.

Today’s cold pressing for oil extraction

Quality control

The olive oil industry is regulated by state food authorities. By regulation, olive oil is divided into three classes during production. The highest quality, extra virgin olive oil, is the oil created from the first pressing. The lowest level is refined or commercial oil, also called ‘lampante oil,’ which has been processed to remove acidity, colour and odour. Lampante oil is a highly acidic quality. Its name is derived from its use as lamp oil at that time. Sulphide olive oil is chemically extracted from olives using solvents and refined in many ways.

The popularity of olive oil in the 21st century has resulted in many bottlers combining different types of olive oil and illegally labelling them as virgin or pure olive oil. So it is not always guaranteed that you will get extra virgin olive oil in the supermarket if it is written on it. In any case, the situation is one that could be called the ‘caution of the buyer’. Di Bennardo organic extra virgin olive oil is guaranteed to be natural.


The DOP label was introduced in the mid-19th century as a direct response to the growing popularity of Italian cuisine worldwide. The growing popularity and demand of Italian products, in fact, meant that many inferior imitations of Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar, stretched and distorted the market. The DOP seal is regulated by Italian and EU laws. It helps to protect the traditions and economy of a region and to distinguish and market its unique quality products.


DOP, or Denominazione di Origine Protetta, is the Italian abbreviation for ‘Protected Designation of Origin’. It is the most stringent of the Italian GI certifications and is a legal guarantee that a product is produced, processed and packaged exclusively in a specific geographical area. Considering the traditional methods of this region to ensure optimal quality and authenticity. Our organic olive oil DOP Monti Iblei has this certificate. The seal is red-yellow and is located on the back of the bottle above the green organic certificate. Only a few of the highest-quality products from Italy are awarded this seal.

THE DOP SEAL GUARANTEES:RELIABILITY:The products must comply with strict production guidelines and quality tests. This ensures consistently high quality over the years and strengthens consumer confidence.

TRACEABILITY/TRANSPARENCY:The products come from a geographically defined area, are made with specific ingredients and are produced and packaged according to specific artisanal methods. 

AUTHENTICITY:Products are produced according to local and historical traditions that are characteristic of a particular geographical location and preserve these.

What are geographical indications of origin?

Geographical Indications (GIs) are registered names that are used to identify products that originate in a particular territory and to protect the quality and reputation of that product and territory. Products registered as GIs are legally protected against counterfeiting in the EU and in non-EU countries that have signed a protection agreement. The law aims to distinguish these genuine products from ‘copies’ on the market, which have the potential to mislead consumers and create unfair competition. Cheese, cured meat, wine, olive oil and fruit are amongst the protected foods.

PGI – Protected Geographical Indication

The protected geographical indication PGI (INDICAZIONE GEOGRAFICA PROTETTA) is a name that identifies a product. It comes from a specific place, area or country whose geographical origin is essentially attributable to a certain quality, reputation or other characteristics. The production of this product has taken place at at least one of its stages in the defined geographical area. Currently, 257 products are recognised as geographical indications, of which 139 are agricultural products and 118 are wines. This label is blue and yellow and can also be found on the back of our ‘Nocellara Organic IGP’ olive oil, ‘Biancolilla Organic IGP’ olive oil, above the green organic label.

The future of olive oil production

Organic olive oil from sustainable cultivation

Di Bennardo organic olive oil comes from the fertile volcanic soil of Sicily and is produced using an organic process. Natural and pure. All olives are harvested at the perfect time (beginning to mid-October), carefully picked by hand, washed and gently cold-pressed using state-of-the-art technology. The result is our unique organic olive oils ‘Nocellara Organic IGP Olive Oil,’ ‘Biancolilla Organic IGP Olive Oil,’ ‘Monti Iblei Organic DOP’ and ‘Novello Organic Olive Oil’.

Our mild Olive Oil Biancolilla Organic IGP enriches and complements subtle flavours such as white fish, mushrooms, pestos, carpaccio, seafood pasta as well as mild cheese and fruit.

Our fruity Monti Iblei Organic DOP Olive Oil enriches and complements savoury dishes such as meat, grilled tuna and rich pasta dishes as well as strong cheeseses.

Try each ingredient one with our organic Nocellara olive oil and our naturally cloudy Novello olive oil. Sprinkle fresh mozzarella, ricotta or our stronger olive oils with sheep’s cheese or Gorgonzola and be inspired and delighted by the combinations on the palate.