Halter Ranch Olive Oil

Learn all about the Olive Oil Production at Halter Ranch!

Increasing consumer demand for premium extra virgin olive oil is piquing interest in the olive groves of Paso Robles, a key player in the California Extra Virgin Olive Oil market. Paso Robles has primarily been recognized as a premium grape-growing region, and olives are just as happy in our Mediterranean environment. Our olive oil program began with a modest four-acre orchard that developed in stages over the past several years. The original planting of Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino, and Pendolino comprise our traditional Tuscan field blend. Later, we added a small annex of Spanish Picual. Picual is responsible for more than a quarter of the olive oil produced worldwide. The newest annex of Picual has since been augmented with Aglandau, a hearty French cultivar. Having harvested our first oil the year before, 2016 found us facing some difficult pruning decisions. We dramatically cut about half of the orchard for tree shape, kept a close eye on the fruiting zones of each tree, and happily yielded more oil than the previous year.

Come harvest time; the fruit is picked and sorted by hand, then immediately to sent to Kiler Ridge to be milled. Then, following a few months of tank settling in our caves, the small-batch oil is meticulously racked, hand-bottled, and hand-labeled. The pomace returned from the mill is spread through the grove, closing the loop of our sustainable olive farming. All maintenance except for mowing, tilling, and mulching is performed by hand. The trees require minimal water application and are only fertilized using organic compost. We are thrilled to produce a premium California Extra Virgin Olive Oil using the same sustainable practices that inform our grape growing and wine production.

In the past, we blended the different portions of the orchard to create our custom Mediterranean Blend. This year, rebounding from a dramatically low statewide yield, we have enough Picual fruit to bottle as a single-varietal oil. We are proud to introduce an Estate Picual alongside an Estate Tuscan Blend. Our oil is certified Extra Virgin by the California Olive Oil Council every year, as well as won numerous awards at the LA International Competition, the Mid-State Fair, and the California State Fair.

And more trees keep finding their way onto Halter Ranch. We are raising more Frantoio and Moraiolo, a cultivar with exceptional phenolic content. Most recently, we transplanted a 13-year old orchard comprised of various French trees, saving it from the dozer. No matter the impetus for these projects, the oil is the inspiration.

Date Published: June 16, 2020

Category: Blog

Nicholas May