From humble yet passionate beginnings, the team behind Rio Vista Olives has been expertly crafting premium extra virgin olive oil in the Adelaide Hills since 1996.
The Glam Adelaide team were lucky enough to have Jared Bettio, General Manager and Head Miller of Rio Vista, in our office, to give us a taste of his family’s delicious olive oil.
Much like wine, each olive variety has a unique flavour profile, from robust, to medium, to mild.
Rio Vista’s range of olive oils includes single varieties, vintages, limited releases and entry-level premium products. All of the oils have been meticulously made and have intense flavour profiles.
The family-owned and operated business has olive groves in the picturesque surrounds of the Adelaide Hills, and in the charming Murrylands town of Myponga.
Rio Vista grows, harvest and process all their own oils. They noticed that the beauty of some of the olive cultivars in Australia was being missed, and decided to shake things up in the industry.
Each season, the Rio Vista team chooses their favourite olive varieties depending on which unique flavours and styles they like, to be released as their single variety range.
Amongst other processes of olive oil making, the team have started to use an Agrumato method, an Italian method of cold co-processing fresh ingredients with the olives at the same time.
Traditionally created with citrus, they have expanded the idea by using other fresh produce to create an exciting and delicious pressed range of oils.
“This was our first year experimenting with Agrumato oils,” says Jared.
“We were inspired to create a premium Agrumato style olive oil after our trips to Italy and visiting producers there.
“We wanted to experiment with Australian produce and palates and our relationship with local growers gave us access to first-grade local produce to use,” he continues.
Included in the new range is turmeric pressed olive oil, garlic pressed olive oil, chilli pressed olive oil, basil pressed olive oil and, our favourite, the merchant spice pressed olive oil.
The merchant spice olive oil is an artisanal blend of fresh citrus and select spices.
Unlike regular olive oil, this can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. Jared suggests the oil is great in baked good, as well as a vanilla essence substitute.
All of the labels (designed by Black Squid) across Rio Vista’s extensive range are reminiscent of vintage posters you’d normally see in an old Italian restaurant. Each tells a story of the history or processes the oil has gone through.
Within Rio Vista’s Vintage Range, the extra virgin olive oils have been named after the original founder of Rio Vista, Augusto and the family’s father, Gigi.
The team recently purchased new, state of the art processing equipment for the factory in a bid to expand its facilities to further elevate the products and expand production.
Their innovative practices are getting noticed across the country and the world. The team recently picked up a few awards lately, and by a few, we mean twenty-five medals, and seven Best in Show across two events.
“Australia produces some amazing Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Agrumato Oils and we are proud to show that a boutique South Australian grower and producer can compete.
“It has been an incredibly difficult year for all South Australian growers. We were personally affected by the Adelaide Hills bushfires and then low yields,” said Jared.
After a truly challenging year, the awards are a testament to all the hard work the family has put in. A full list of their awards include:
Golden Olive Awards:
- Best Agrumato/Flavoured Oil in Show for their Basil Pressed Cold Extracted Olive Oil
- Best in Agrumato/Flavoured Oil for their Garlic Pressed Cold Extracted Olive Oil and Chilli Pressed Cold Extracted Olive Oil.
- Best in Small Volume Production for their premium EVOO single variety Koronieki and Signore varieties.
- Gold medals were awarded to Rio Vista Olives for their Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Agrumato. These included their Single Variety Koronieki and Singore, Vintage Range Gigi and Il Misto and their Artisinal Agrumato Oils of Chilli, Garlic and Basil.
- Silver medals were awarded for their Single Variety Nevadillo and Frantoio, Vintage Range Augusto, Nothin’ But Olives Mild, Classic and Robust and their Agrumato Turmeric and Merchant Spiced Olive Oil.
Royal Adelaide Olive Awards:
- Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Show.
- Best South Australian Olive Oil in Show.
- Best Oil of Provenance.
- Best Robust Oil for their single varietal Signore.
- Gold medals were awarded to Rio Vista Olives for their Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Agrumato. These included their Single Variety Signore and Mount Torrens Extra Virgin Olive Oil and their Chilli Pressed Agrumato Oil.
- Silver medals were awarded for their Vintage Range Il Misto, Augusto, Elisi Grove Woodlane Blend and their Agrumato Garlic Pressed and Merchant Spiced Olive Oil.
“This is an amazing achievement to show that Australia can compete on a world stage in Agrumato and extra virgin olive oil production,” says Jared.
Rio Vista Olive Oils are available to purchase at Drake’s Supermarkets, Romeo’s Foodlands, Pasadena Foodland, Norwood Foodland, Frewville Foodland and some gourmet greengrocers.
Jared told us that there will be a live olive oil tasting event coming to Adelaide soon. We’ll keep you updated with the latest Rio Vista event news as it arrives.