Olive and grape; from the Old World to the New World

by Dalal Catherine Medawar | 20 May 2011
for the US-Lebanese gathering in Santa Rosa, California

Blessed with a mild climate and an ideal soil to grow grapevines and olive trees, Lebanon and California share a common love for wine and olive oil.

Today there are more than 1,200 wineries in California. It is the only state in the US producing a commercially significant crop of olives. Its booming olive oil production derives from its wine industry, with which it shares many similarities.

In parallel, Lebanon’s wine industry is thriving. While experts agree that there is demand for its highly rated olive oil, Lebanon remains a minor player in terms of global exports.

At Olive Grove Partners, we strongly believe that the olive oil “wave” that started in California can reach the shores of Lebanon.

We aim to open the US market to Lebanese olive oil producers and other manufacturers through the promotion of their high quality goods via Corners of Time®; by encouraging the participation of Lebanese producers in prestigious events such as the International Los Angeles olive oil and wine competition; by creating unique, award-winning Lebanese-Californian olive oil blends through Time Olive Oil; and by establishing & publishing the highest standards according to international norms among the Lebanese olive oil suppliers with the help of Novavine and Professor Paul Vossen.

We have successfully introduced the main varieties of Lebanese olive trees into the US; they are currently in (USDA) quarantine at Novavine with whom we intend to promote and propagate the varieties in the USA. We are planning to plant an olive grove with some of these trees after they come out of their two-year quarantine. We are currently studying these trees for their morphological and olive oil characteristics; soon their DNA will be extracted to reveal their true age, which some believe is the oldest of all olive trees. Recent theories have been suggesting that Lebanon could, in fact, be the motherland of the original olive tree.