Growing & Production

A Blend of
Science and Art

A Distinctive Soil, Rich in Minerals

Every great story has a beginning, and ours begins with the land.

Surrounded by the incredible beauty of Umbria, il cuore verde dell’Italia, the Domenica Fiore Estate looks out over the ancient city-state of Orvieto, which first flourished as an Etruscan settlement. This small city of great antiquity has an impressive heritage of wealth and importance and was a papal seat during the Middle Ages.

Nestled between the mist-covered Apennine Mountains and the gently flowing Paglia River, 100 miles from the sea, there is mystery to this land. Embedded in its soil and mystical caves are seashells. These shells are more than a surprise left for us over 5 million years ago. They are a gift to our olive trees, creating a distinctive soil rich in minerals and prehistoric nutrients—perfect for sustaining and enriching our exquisite olive oil varieties

 
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  • Over 5 million years ago, the land of the Fiore Estate lay deep under the Tyrrhenian Sea.

  • Volcanic activity lifted the ancient seabed to form the peaks of the Apennine Mountains, sealing a treasure of minerals and prehistoric nutrients within layers of molten rock.

  • The persistent carving of Paglia River created a land formation like no other in the world.

  • Fertile deposits of marine clay, mixed with fossils from the Pliocene Epoch of sedimentary and volcanic origin, create a soil composition of calcium carbonate, mica, iron and other minerals-the ideal geological foundation for producing olive oils of complexity and character.

Drenched in Sun

Stretched across the northeast ridge of the Orvieto valley, the Fiore orchards of traditional olive varieties, Leccino, Moraiolo and Frantoio flourish at an elevation between 320 and 480 meters above sea level —too high for the olive fly to cause any damage, thus making it easier for us to grow our olives organically.

Our 10,000 trees are poised on gentle slopes, some steeper than others, but all perfect for drainage and deep root structure. They are blessed by an optimal elevation, and the sun works throughout the day to nurture and ripen the olives.

 
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  • Fiore 1 - The most sublime of our orchards starts at 320 meters above sea level, its trees enjoying the steepest slope so that no tree blocks the sun from others.

  • La Capretta - As with all of our orchards, the trees are pruned in winter, shaped to allow the right amount of light to enter the canopy. In midsummer, the succhioni and polloni sprigs are pruned to concentrate more of the trees’ energy in the fruit.

  • Boalaio - These beautiful 35-year-old trees are planted in wide avenues to allow for perfect sunlight and ease in harvesting, and in times of drought, we hand-water each of them.

  • Romano - Our newest acquisition, these trees grow at the highest elevation of all of our orchards.

Organically Grown, Harvested by Hand

Our olive oil is created with a deep respect for the land. We know that the earth has its own wisdom and see our role as its steward. We feed the soil, nurture the land and tend to our trees so that the fruit will flourish. And we harvest when the orchards tell us the fruit is perfect for picking, not when it suits us.

In early October, as the daylight shortens and the cool weather beckons, the harvest begins. We hand-select looking for veraison olives—olives that have just started to change color in the early stages of ripening. Although these olives yield less oil than ripe ones, they possess an incredibly high concentration of polyphenols along with very low acidity.

Our first olives harvested are the Leccino, followed by the Frantoio, then the Moraiolo and finally the Canino.

We start at the lower elevations, and often go through the groves more than once. This ensures a balance of a fruity aroma and green pungency—and a high presence of antioxidants.

This is a more labor-intensive process than harvesting the olives at the same time. It is the artisanal craft of producing a far superior olive oil.

 
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  • Organically grown to avoid any use of chemicals and lovingly tended to throughout the year, the fruit is robust in flavor, echoing the many minerals of the land.

  • Harvesting the olives in small batches means that the time from harvest to mill is less than six hours. The time from harvest to pressing is critical to minimize oxidation and ensure the purest expression of the olive.

  • Careful cultivation preserves our olive oil's purity, taste and health benefits.

  • Our dedicated team.

Capturing the Flavor

To achieve the pure goodness and full taste of our organic olive oil, we use modern small-batch cold extraction. Our process employs minimal but highly efficient technology, resulting in the use of far less water, no additional heat and absolutely no solvents. During malaxation, there is minimal exposure to oxygen during what is the longest phase of oil production. This oxygen exposure is carefully calibrated to ensure optimal flavor.

Throughout the milling process, attention is paid to the smallest detail. The fruit is crushed with pits, because within the white core of the pit lies a subtle flavor that, once released, changes the pungency of the oil. We don’t use water when cleaning before our olives are crushed because the less water, the more complex the resulting flavor. Throughout the process, temperatures are maintained at 20° to 24° C, with the focus always on quality rather than yield.

 
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  • The olives arrive at the mill by tractor. A high-pressure blower removes the leaves and twigs.

  • The cleaned olives enter the state-of-the-art Pieralisi crusher.

  • The paste goes through closed pipes to the malaxer, where it is crushed further into a finer paste.

  • Our olives go through a two-phase Pieralisi centrifuge. Spinning at 3600 rpm, the first phase separates the oil and water from the pomace. This pomace is recycled back to the soil surrounding the trees.

  • In the final stage, the oil is stored in stainless steel tanks topped with nitrogen, each tank labeled by orchard and variety.

  • The Olio Novello is bottled immediately using a nitrogen gas filling system to eliminate oxygen.

The Art and Science

Blended with exquisite craftsmanship, the organic olive oils of Domenica Fiore are deliciously complex and well balanced, with heady aromas and remarkable flavor.

For our award-winning Olio Novello, we don’t wait. The blend is mostly Leccino, with some other varieties. It is bottled immediately and is ready for your enjoyment in November.

For our award-winning Olio Reserva, we blend for the standards of the DOP Umbria Colli Orvietani. We wait for the oil to rest for two months until it reaches its true flavor. Then we begin to blend, and taste and blend some more, until the flavor is complex and harmonious, the perfect complement to every meal. We also strive for consistency so our customers will know what to expect year to year, delighted by an experience that is simply extraordinary.

 
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  • Varieties from each orchard are stored separately, allowing us the flexibility to blend our certified-organic extra virgin Olio Reserva while capturing the subtle taste differences within every harvest.

  • Our blending practices have earned us the coveted and strictly regulated protected domain seal of Orvieto, DOP Umbria Colli Orvietani.

  • To assure that we capture and preserve the purest expression of the oil, we vacuum seal with nitrogen gas our Novello and Reserva in 18/10 stainless steel bottles.

  • The result is an extra virgin olive oil that is high in polyphenols (antioxidants), extremely low in free fatty acids, with award-winning flavor.

Traceable from Tree to Bottle

We recognize that the sophisticated palate can detect even the subtlest variations in aroma and flavor that occur during the course of blending through the autumn harvest. The artistry of the blend is to recognize the unique variations of the cultivars – the different days or weeks they were harvested, as well as the varied altitudes of each orchard—and adjust accordingly.

Each bottle can be traced to a particular harvest within the Fiore Estate. Look at your bottle, find the handwritten number, and you will know exactly when and how it was blended and bottled, each bottle authenticated by our producer Cesare Bianchini.

 

Our Third-Party Laboratory for the Chemical Evaluations

A polyphenol count — 2012’s polyphenol count was 592, one of the highest in the industry (the industry minimum for this region’s DOP is 100) assuring the quality and antioxidant nutritional value of our extra virgin oil.

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FFA (Free Fatty Acids) count — Our 2012 oil had exceptionally low counts at .18% FFA at time of bottling. This speaks to the quality of our fruit at the time of crush. Plus, our good storage practices prevent oxidation.

(Note: The International Olive Council standard for EVOO is .8%, and the unregulated but generally acknowledged “super premium EVOO” standard is .3%.)

Peroxide value — 2012’s peroxide value was 5.20, demonstrating that the oil is fresh.

Organoleptic test — Assessed by the sensory panel from Orvieto, to ensure that there are no defects and that the three positive attributes of olive oil are present—fruity, bitter and pungent—further confirms the quality of our oil.

 
Our Olio Reserva Is DOP Umbria Colli Orvietani

Our Olio Reserva Is DOP Umbria Colli Orvietani

Umbria boasts an annual production of 90,000 tons of olive oil per year, but fewer than 9% of that is certified DOP—Domain Origin Protected.

Much like the AOC system in winemaking, the DOP system ensures 100% traceability—that the olive oil certified is made from olives grown solely in the region designated. More importantly, the consortium controlling DOP certification develops and administers programs to continuously improve oil quality and ensure that local olive varieties are celebrated and protected. Unlike the New World, where olives originating from anywhere in the world can be grown anyplace, certified DOP olive oil features native cultivars only.

Interestingly, within Umbria there are five subregions, each with its own strictly regulated blend of olives to define the DOP of that geographical area.

The Fiore Estate is part of the area designated Umbria Colli Orvietani, where Moraiolo olives must not exceed 15% of the blend, and Frantoio and Leccino varieties are each allowed to constitute between 30% to 60% of the balance, based on the oil miller’s discretion to achieve the harmony and complexity he seeks for that harvest year. When blending has been completed, the resulting oil must be rated medium-light fruitiness, bitterness and pungency by a sensory panel.

Tonnage, yield, storage and blending are closely monitored by the consortium, which issues a unique set of registered numbers to each producer achieving the DOP criteria. There are no bottomless tanks of oil here! The DOP seal on the neck of each bottle is a unique number assigned by Italy’s Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali (MiPAAF)—Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry policies—ensuring that the olive oil inside is from our Estate and of the harvest year stated on the bottle. Once the bottle gone, the certified numbers are gone, too!