At Il Poggione, we have 12,000 olive trees planted over 80 hectares of land. The olives are picked by hand and taken immediately to our estate’s press where they are pressed within 6 hours of harvest.
Once the fruit has arrived, the leaves are removed and the olives are washed and then very thinly sliced with very sharp blades. The slices are so thin that they turn into a paste, which is stirred for about 40 minutes in order to extract the oil from the “flesh” of the fruit. After 40 minutes of stirring, the solids (formed by the skins and the pits) begin to separate from the liquid (formed by the oil and the water contained in the fruit).
At this point, the paste is transferred to a machine called a “decanter”, which is nothing more than a slow centrifuge. The solids (called the “sansa”) are removed from the outer part of the centrifuge and then is used to fertilize the olive groves. The liquid (water and oil) is then transferred to a centrifuge that separates the water from the extra-virgin olive oil.
The water is added to the previously removed “sansa” while the oil is transferred to stainless-steel vats where it settles for a few days before it is filtered.
The whole process is carried out using a touch-screen computer that helps us to identify any problems we might have. In the photo above, you can see Antonio Vincelli, the son of Elio Vincelli (click here), who also works for Il Poggione as one of the olive press managers.