Paringa Ridge Leontyna Olive Oil
25 Paringa Road, Red Hill South, VIC
0419 777 437
Paringa Ridge has used the somewhat unruly environment of the Mornington Peninsula to its benefit, and the company's Leontyna olive oils are some of the most awarded in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We have the best of every world,” said owners, Jillian and Julian Barson. “We are lucky enough to overlook Western Port Bay and be intrigued by the ever-changing moods of the water. We have wonderful rich, red soil, which grows anything you stick into it and benefits from the unusual, temperate micro climate provided by the rolling hills and valleys.” And these unique climatic qualities, paired with the Barsons’ innovative grove management, create highly flavoursome, ultra premium, extra virgin olive oils.
“Not many people know that there is a category above Extra Virgin Olive Oil and that is Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil; the highest quality there is,” said Jill. Paringa Ridge does not label its Leontyna olive oil ‘ultra premium’, but it does maintain the high standards.
Historically, olive oil has been judged on its ‘virginity’, a term that is used to designate careful handling of the olives and a short period between picking and pressing. Today, an olive oil’s quality, or virginity, is judged more by its acidity level: the lower the better. To produce olive oils labelled ‘extra virgin’, producers must maintain an acidity level of 0.8% or lower. Paringa Ridge’s olives typically clock in at 0.20% or less.
Paringa Ridge produces two olive oils: the Leontyna Black Label and Leontyna Cream Label. Both are packed with intense flavours, from green tomato and green almond to citrus and cinnamon. Each year, Paringa Ridge’s olive oils win a huge number of awards, and they have even been recognised in Italy, a country whose olive oils have been
heralded for centuries. Paringa Ridge distributes its olive oils widely throughout Victoria as well as online.
Jill and Julian are also active supporters of the local agricultural community on the Mornington Peninsula, and, through the Mornington Peninsula Olive Growing Association, they are dedicated to spreading the word about the high-quality products coming from the region.
“Both Julian and I have long had a love of the country and immersing our hands in the soil,” said Jill. In 2010, among all of Australia’s groves, their olive grove was named the Olive Grove of the Year, in part because of this community involvement.
Jill and Julian weren’t always olive growers. Julian’s background is in engineering and Jill’s is in personnel. When they purchased the property on the Mornington Peninsula in 2003, neither had a clue how to grow olives or make olive oil; however, they had an appreciation and love for detail-oriented work. They planted the grove with the aid of their friends and family members, including Julian’s mother, Leontyna, after whom their olive oils are named. Then, in 2006, they released their first olive oil for commercial sale.
Jill and Julian are proud that all of their hard work has paid off, and they continue to strive to produce better and better olive oil, each year. In fact, as Jill said, their goal has always been the same: to produce an undeniably superior product and let their customers brag about it.