How we make olive oil

Mardouw’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a pure, natural oil made from hand-picked olives, same-day cold extraction (or “cold-pressed”) and blending of the best cultivars at the privately owned Mardouw Olive Estate in Swellendam, South Africa.

  • Mardouw Olive Estate olive trees

    1. Mardouw Olive Estate

    Fresh mountain water off the Langeberg Mountains, fertile Breede River Valley soil and a Mediterranean climate provide optimum conditions for our 50,000 olive trees to thrive happily.

  • Hand-picking olives

    2. Hand-Picking

    South Africa’s olive harvest season runs from April to June. We believe in gently hand-picking our olives, collecting olives that fall to the ground in nets that are spread out underneath the trees.

  • sorting

    3. Sorting

    Leaves and small twigs are removed from the olives before transferring them to the processing plant.

  • olive-cleaning and sorting

    4. Cleaning

    At the processing plant, olives undergo a diligent check and a good wash, while anything other than olives gets removed.

  • Olive crushing for oil

    5. Crushing

    The olives are now ready to be crushed into a pulp that will form the basis for our oil.

  • Olive oil melaxer

    6. Melaxing

    Once crushed, we stir the pulp to separate the oil from the olives and pits in the melaxer.

  • olive-oil-decanter

    7. Decanting

    Next up is the decanter, separating solids from liquids. It is here that we are beginning to see and taste the first olive oil.

  • Olive oil settling tank

    8. Settling

    After decanting, we let the oil settle in a settling tank, to separate the last solids from the oil.

  • Olive storage in stainless steel tanks per cultivar

    9. Storage per cultivar

    Finally, the oil is stored in large stainless steel tanks in a secluded, temperature-controlled room at Mardouw Olive Estate. Every cultivar gets its own tank. “Cold-pressed olive oil” means that the entire process from crushing to decanting, settling and storing is temperature-controlled. This is important for olives to retain all of their flavour, aroma, and nutritional values. While “cold-pressed” usually refers to temperatures below 28°C, we keep them below 20°C

  • 10. Blending

    When our olive oil maker deems the oil ready to be blended, he will taste every cultivar separately, and make a detailed taste analysis. Based on this analysis, he will add more or less of a particular cultivar to the final blend. We don’t add any preservatives or additives to our oil. Our oil has a particular South African flavour with fynbos, pine needles, artichoke and fruit of green and ripe olives.