Bertolli Home page La dolce vita
           TO OIL


           & OLIVE OIL
           AROUND THE
           OLIVE TREE

Olive Oil World

From olive to oil

The history of the olive tree can be traced back to 4000 B.C. In around 1200 B.C. the Phoenicians, through Sicily, brought the olive tree to Italy.
It flourished all around the coastlines of the Mediterranean, as both the climate and the soil in this area are extremely favorable.Traditional cultivation techniques, handed down generations, help the trees thrive in harder terrains. From the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance the olive tree was extensively cultivated in Tuscany, where the town of Lucca lies, and in the surrounding regions.
The best olive oil is a combination of cultivation and culture - of what nature gives and what mankind has learned. Bertolli oil is the perfect blend of these two features, creating the great Bertolli passion for olive oil and quality.

There are over 100 types of olive trees, each producing a fruit with distinctive taste and characteristics. Each one has a different oil yield and organoleptic properties. In the Mediterranean basins this variety of cultivar (tree type) is particular marked, with each region and area having its own mixture of types. Actually, 90% of the world's olive trees are found in the Mediterranean basin.

Olive trees

Olive trees have an incredibly long life span and reach maturity after 20 years. Between 35 and 150 years of age the tree produces the best olives. It is not uncommon for a tree to live up to 200 years. After the trunk disappears, a new shoot begins to grow again. This is why an olive tree seems eternal and continually "renewing".


Olive flowers blossom in May, and the olive fruits grow at the end of June, their color continuously changing from green to purple to black. As soon as the fruits are ripe, in the period from November to January, they are harvested. The traditional method is known as brucatura, or hand picking. Another manual method is knocking the olives off the tree. In recent years mechanical methods of picking olives have been introduced

Pressing and bottling

In order to produce high quality olive oil no more than 24 hours should elapse from olive harvesting to olive pressing. The olives are stored in well-ventilated rooms. They are then washed to remove natural impurities such as topsoil, leaves and branches. The olives are then pressed using a mechanical system of rotating wheels or hammers. The resulting olive paste is then gently kneaded to allow the separation of the oil, which is then decanted and centrifuged. The resulting extra virgin olive oil, after storage in appropriate containers, is filtered and bottled. No solvent or heat is applied through the process.

Did you know?
An average olive tree produces only enough olives to obtain one or two liters of olive oil. In fact 5 kg (176 ounces) of olives are needed to make only 1 (34 liquid ounces) liter of olive oil.