QUALITY

Quality is our choice. We create high-quality olive oil in balance between man and nature.

Region

The Istrian region, a peninsula on the western coast of Croatia within a Mediterranean climate zone, is exceptionally suitable for growing olives. Even the ancient Romans were aware of that, producing in Istria significant quantities of highly valuable olive oil. The area of Vodnjan, in the south of the Istrian peninsula, with its sunny olive groves, red soil, stone walls and the warm sea air that connects the eastern and western coast of Istria, was known as the region where the most revered olive oil was produced.

Oio Vivo – “the oil that’s alive”, bears an ancient Roman name in honor of the Istro-Roman dialect still in use today in Vodnjan. The name represents millennia of tradition of olive oil production. The result of connecting an excellent geographical location for the cultivation of olive trees, with an innovative approach to the production of olive oil, results in the creation of our high-quality oil.

Factors affecting the quality of the oil:

  • Variety

Certain varieties have a higher amount of polyphenols such as varietal oil of the Istrian bjelica (more than 450mg / kg), which directly affects the quality of the oil. Level of polyphenols is elevated in other olive oils of indigenous Istrian varieties and ranges between 300-450 mg / kg.

  • Climatic conditions during fruit ripening

Studies have shown that olive oils from southern Istrian region, with less water and more sunny days a year, have a larger share of polyphenols and thus a higher quality of the oil.

  • The degree of ripeness of fruits

Harvest time and the ripeness of the fruit significantly affects the level of polyphenols in the olive fruit. The oil is best when harvested early and full ripening has just begun.

  • Method of processing

It is important that only mechanical procedures are used during milling through a cold process (under 27 ° C) with no refining. This is a typical production methodology for high quality extra virgin olive oil.

  • The system of cultivation and application of agro-technical measures

The quality of our oils is achieved through growing in clean varietal olive groves, using integrated farming methods with organic fertilizers, as well as incorporating innovations in farming.

Suitability of position

Our olive grove of 56 hectares and 15,000 trees, is situated in a prime location for olive growing, at an altitude of 60-120 m above sea level and only 4.5 km away from the north Adriatic. Lying between Vodnjan in the north, and Pula in the south in the southern part of the Istrian peninsula, it enjoys the beneficial breezes of warm sea air from the Rasa Bay in the east and the Brijuni Islands in the west.

Altitude

60-120m.n.v.

Distance from the sea

4,5km

Number of trees

15 000

Age

10years

Varieties

Olive grove is divided into a regular orthogonal grid, (recalling the Roman legacy of land centuriation – a method of land measurement), within which five native olive varieties, plus the the two Italian ones, are cultivated.

Indigenous varieties:
Busa (5500 trees), Istrian bjelica ( 4500 trees), Rosignola (1250 trees), Zizolera (700 trees), Busa puntosa (600 trees).

 

Foreign varieties:
leccino (2100 trees) and pendolino (650 trees) as the main pollenizer in the olive grove.

Busa

The busa olive variety is the most widespread native olive variety in Istria. There are

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several biotypes of this variety in Istria. For the Vodnjan area, the characteristic varieties are the Vodnjanska busa and busa puntosa.
The busa tree is strong and grows vigorously with a dense, broad canopy that continues to gain in height. Branches grow upright with the fruit laden ones bent. The leaf is of medium size, elliptical in a spear shape with a gray underside. The fruit of the busa variety is medium to large, oval, slightly asymmetrical, and dark in color when fully ripe. The trees require a warm and protected aspect, and are therefore most suitable for growing in warm locations of southern Istria.

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Istrian Bjelica

The Istrian bjelica olive variety is a native variety domesticated in Istria and Kvarner

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however, it is also found it in Italy and Slovenia. The Istrian bjelica olive variety is characterized by a high share of polyphenols (more than 450mg/kg).
The tree has medium growth, with a dense foliage that grows in height. The branches are long and strong, with an upright growth, and racemes are slightly curved or straight. The leaf is of medium size, wide, with a dark green color. Elliptical in shape, it curls spirally.
The fruit is oval, symmetrical and large. The relation between the seed and the pulp is harmonious. During ripening the fruit changes color from light yellow-green to red with a purple hue.
This is one of the most resistant varieties to low temperatures and inclement weather. The variety ripens late, in mid or late November and is most fertile and abundant.

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Zizolera

The Zizolera olive variety is an old indigenous variety, sadly poorly represented in

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 Istria. By planting 700 trees in its own pure varietal olive grove, the Oleum Maris company supports the revitalization of older varieties, thus becoming the largest producer of a pure Zizolera varietal oil.
The Zizolera olive tree grows vigorously, with a developed trunk, broad foliage, long, curved yet solid and branches, while the racemes are supple and thick. The leaf is spear-shaped, a silvery color, medium to large and oval. The fruit, with its appearance and color resembles the žižula fruit (in English called jujube or red date), which is characteristic of Istria, and the variety it is named after it.

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Rosignola

The Rosignola variety is a native olive variety that is grown in the southern part of

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Istria, especially near Rovinj, Vrsar and Vodnjan.
The Rosignola olive tree has medium growth, the branches are spread out and aimed towards the light. The canopy is compact, round and thick, with numerous branches and lots of leaves. The leaf is dark-green, with a blunt tip on the racemes. The fruit is symmetrical, medium sized, oval and of a dark purple color with freckles when mature.
The Rosignola fruit generously gives an oil of intense aroma, pronounced spicy flavor and moderate bitterness.

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Busa puntosa

The Busa puntosa variety along with the Busa variety, is the most widespread native olive

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variety in Istria, which is grown around Rovinj, Bale, Vodnjan and Fasana.
The busa puntosa olive tree has vigorous growth, strong trunk and branches. The canopy is high, thick, with numerous branches dense with foliage. The leaf, although light green, is slightly darker color than Busa leaf. The fruit is smaller than the Busa’s, growing mostly in bunches on long stalks. At the top of the fruit there is a small ledge, like a wart, according to which the variety is named.
The quality of the oil is similar to that of Busa, but has a distinctive aroma of mature olives and apples.

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Leccino

The Leccino olive variety is a foreign variety that has been grown in Istria since the 1940s

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and came from the Tuscany region in Italy.
It is the most widespread olive variety in the world, which owes to its exceptional adaptability to different growing conditions. The tree displays vigorous growth, broad, with a developed trunk and the canopy. Racemes are short and hanging, the canopy is rounded with solid long branches for which it is valued also as an ornamental plant. The flowers are single and are quite large compared to other varieties. The tree branches low, creating an almost bushy shape. It is an early ripening variety (September, October), resistant to low temperatures. It is appropriate for intensive plantations and deep soils.
If harvested when the fruits begin to darken, gives an oil of outstanding quality, of an expressed fresh fruity smell of the olive fruit. If harvested when the fruits end darken or change color, gives a mild oil, sweet and rounded, without a more pronounced flavor. It is a basic ingredient of the blended oil Oio Vivo Bon. 

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Pendolino

In the Oleum Maris olive grove, there is only one more foreign variety, which is the

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Tuscan variety Pendolino, the main pollenizer in an olive grove.
The Pendolino olive variety, is defined by a foliage of medium density, with curved, hanging branches and spear-shaped, compact leaves. Fruits are elongated, slightly asymmetrical and of medium weight. Racemes are long, pendulous, pliant, and bend to the ground.
Although the Pendolino olive variety is primarily a pollenizer in the cultivation, it still provides oil of exceptional properties and a fresh fruity flavor. 

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Harvest

When to harvest olives is a very important question. The timing of harvest will significantly affect the quality and taste of the oil. The most reveared oils in ancient Roman times were harvested early and displayed a green to green-yellow hue. These oils possessed beautiful fresh flavors and were given the name ex Albis ulivis. Phenolic compounds give olive oil its flavor and aroma, and their effected is reduced with the ripening of the olives, therefore it is very important to follow the process of ripening so that a timely decision on harvest can be made when the levels of polyphenols in fresh olive fruit are highest.

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Processing

The processing of olives takes place in a few carefully regulated phases: cleaning and washing of the fruits, grinding, mixing the olive dough, separating solid from liquid parts, and separation of the oil mixture to oil and water. The ultimate goal of this procedure is to obtain oil from the olive fruit without cause significant changes in the chemical composition that could affect the oil quality and its biological and nutritional value. The process of mixing the olive dough should be given special attention as it is the very part of the process with a possible significant loss of polyphenols, which will ultimately affect the quality of the oil and its further protection from oxidation.

Storage

After the processing, the oil is stored in a fresh and airy space built within the olive grove at a constant temperature in stainless steel tanks which are attached to nitrogen gas that prevents any contact of the oil with air. In this way, oxidation is prevented and the oil keeps its good properties in a long term.

Nutritional properties

Natural olive oil is primarily a fat or a lipid ( 99 % ) insoluble in water and a representative of simple lipids : triglycerides , or esters of fatty acids and glycerols. From a nutritional point of view, lipids are divided into spare lipids that have an energy effect and are stored in the human tissues, and lipids involved in building a body cell. A share of a particular fatty acid in the oil is of particular importance for the assessment of its nutritional value.
It is the small components of olive oil (only 1%) that make a key difference in the biological nutritional value and quality of the oil, and of all the ingredients most important are the polyphenols.

It is the fruit of the olive that is the richest in phenolic compounds – effective natural antioxidants that protect the olive oil from oxidation, thereby contributing to the stability of the oil, and the preservation of its quality and durability.

The share of phenolic compounds in the olive oil is an important parameter in assessing the quality of extra virgin olive oils. We can recognize the phenols by a spicy and bitter taste, the so-called ‘green’ feel and a specific smell. Trained oil tasters can generally detect the presence of phenolic substances and the harmony in olive oils.

Other highly valuable substances present in extra virgin olive oils are various antioxidants like squalene, tocopherols (vitamin E) and different types of phenolic substances, such as LDL, which protect the human body from oxidation processes, thereby preventing or slowing down the development of chronic degenerative processes that lead to blockage of the blood vessels and eventually the coronary, heart and neurological diseases.

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