Olive Oil production process
Control of Harvest and Transportation
The Production Process of Herdade do Esporão’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils starts with the control of the harvest and transport. The harvest is carried out as quickly as possible at the time of perfect ripeness. The olives are then quickly delivered to the pressing plant in bulk or in boxes.
The olives are delivered in the patio of the reception area, where they are carefully separated according to their variety and quality. After being cleaned and washed, they are weighed and transported to the storage area. The time between arrival and pressing never exceeds 12 hours. Careful separation, efficient cleaning and washing and the maximum reduction of waiting time as much as possible, make the reception of the olives one of the most important stages of the Production Process.
There are important quality procedures in the milling, grinding or crushing of the olives that contribute to better olive oil extraction thus influencing the quality of the final product. The following measures are strictly followed:
- The use of appropriate sieves according to the state of the olives ripeness;
- The pressing is undertaken in order to obtain the greatest level of uniformity in relation to the type of milling required;
- Avoiding prolonged contact of the olive paste with the air;
- Limiting the free surface area of the paste as much as possible in order to keep the olive oil aroma.
Thermobeat consists in the slow and continuous rotation of the olive paste produced by the grinding. At the same time, the paste is heated at strictly controlled temperatures never exceeding 30ºC, with rotation speeds of 14 to 18 rpm, and for a period between 40 to 60 minutes.
Olive Oil Extration
After the beating and heating of the paste, the extraction takes place by means of solids separation (husk and vegetation water) using a system of two-phase centrifugation.
Cleaning the Olive Oil
Vertical centrifuges are used with automatic discharges every 45 minutes (for cleaning). Apart from this automatic cleaning, the centrifuges are dismantled on a weekly basis for more thorough cleaning.
After these procedures, the virgin and extra virgin olive oil are stored in 22,500 Lt and 55,000 Lt sterilised vats, where it awaits blending and filtering, according to the needs of the various Herdade do Esporão Extra Virgin and Extra Virgin PDO products.
All these controls are registered in the quality procedure’s records.