Morgenster has 50 ha of olive groves where a variety of cultivars are grown for the production of extra virgin olive oil and table olives. These are processed in the historic building which was once the Estate’s wine cellar.
When Italian owner Giulio Bertrand set out to produce olive oil which rivaled the best from Italy he adopted the philosophy of “where there is quality, there is no compromise”. His painstaking implementation of what he calls “The Morgenster System” resulted in the Estate receiving L’Extravergine’s award for “The best Blended Olive Oil in the world 2006” and L’Extravergine’s most prestigious award: “Mill of the year” in 2007. Morgenster’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil is regularly acknowledged by important international judging panels. The authoritative annual Flos Olei Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils has rated Morgenster as being among the world’s top oils for its consistent excellence over the past years.
To achieve this Bertrand started by importing 2 000 olive trees from Italy and propagating them in Morgenster’s nursery. He also established a long-term partnership with Prof. Giuseppe Fontanazza of the Italian Institute of Olive Research, who visits Morgenster during every harvest to ensure that the most up-to-date irrigation, fertilization, pruning, harvesting and processing practices are employed.
Gerrie Duvenage joined Bertrand in 1994. With seven years of research experience with Infruitec in Stellenbosch behind him when he joined Morgenster, he has built on that secure foundation and is recognised as South Africa’s leading expert on all aspects of the olive industry.
Every two years Bertrand invites Dr Luciano Scarselli, the panel leader of the official panel of Tuscany Region, to come to South Africa to run tasting and judging courses of extra virgin olive oil at Morgenster to raise the level of education and expertise locally. South African olive oils now win important international awards, with the country recognised as being among the world’s top olive oil producing nations.
Giulio Bertrand’s vision and energy have resulted in his being acknowledged as the father of the modern olive oil industry in South Africa. In August 2012 he was honoured by the SA Olive Association with a Life Time Achiever trophy for his contribution to the local olive oil industry.