In Italy there are many consortiums of the extra virgin olive oil.
They have been founded in order to demonstrate and promote the quality and the culture of these special olive oils. The quality of the extra virgin oil depends on the entire production chain: the olive cultivation, the collection, the production of the oil, the bottling process and also the storage of the bottles before sale. That’s why close cooperation between producers, bottlers, distributors and retailers is really very important.
The reasoning behind the existence of many consortiums is because each controls the different necessary stages and the distribution of the extra virgin olive oil produced in their particular areas of Italy.
Italy is the second most important producer of oil in Europe and in the world: more than 464.000 tons are produced every year.
There are more than 40 PDO (protected designation of origin) denominations certified by the European Union.
In Italy the spread of the olive trees is about one million hectares.
Regarding the altitude zones, these trees are cultivated mostly on hills (53%) and plains (44%) and only the 3% of the olive trees grow in the mountains.
As these plants need a mild climate, olive cultivation in Italy is widespread in the center (19 %) and in the south (78 %)of the country, while in the north it is more limited. It is now increasing, especially in some areas where the climate is more mild, especially in the region of Liguria and the hills that surround Garda Lake. There are more than one million farms that deal with the growing of the olives in Italy.