Olive and olive oil season

Olives have been growing in Vaucluse since ancient times, with the heyday of olive production in the early 20th century when nearly 200 mills used to operate.

 

Nowadays, several mills are still working, catering to 7,000 olive farmers (including amateurs with a couple of trees through to the owners of olive groves covering several hectares). They harvest Aglandau and Tanche olives, the two main Vaucluse varieties.

 

  • Olives Provence © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Olives Provence © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Moulin huile olives © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • huile d'olive © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Olivier © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Olivier du Ventoux © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Olivier © HOCQUEL A. / coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme

 

Find out all about the secrets of olives in Provence

 

Olive trees can yield between 15 and 50 kilos of fruit. Four to six kilos are needed to make 1 litre of oil.

Aglandau olives produce powerfully fragrant oil tasting of artichoke and almond. It has the “Huile de Haute Provence” AOC label to certify its origin. There are six towns in Vaucluse which qualify: Beaumont de Pertuis, Grambois, Peypin d’Aigues, Mirabeau, La Bastide des Jourdans and Vitrolles en Luberon.

La Tanche,produces oil as well as tasty table olives, confit black, boasting the “Olive noire de Nyons” AOC label. 18 towns in Vaucluse qualify: Brantes, Buisson, Cairanne, Crestet, Entrechaux, Faucon, Malaucène (part), Puyméras, Rasteau, Roaix, St Marcellin les Vaison, St Romain en Viennois, St Roman de Mallegarde, Séguret, Vaison, Valréas, Villedieu and Visan.

Since 2006, the “Huile d’olive de Provence” AOC has protected and certified the quality of olive production in 115 towns in Vaucluse located between Mont-Ventoux and Luberon. This AOC comprises two denominations, depending on whether fresh or matured olives are used. When the olives are pressed more than three days after harvesting, the appellation specifies "matured olives".

 

Oil mill tours:

 

A bit of background to olives

There are only two mills using animals to work the press left in Vaucluse, unused since the 1920s-30s. They serve to remind us that olive mills used to be powered by people or animals.

Oil mill Mathieu

The Rustrel oil mill

Oil mill Mathieu

The "Moulin (Oil mill) des Bouillons"

 

Working mills – to watch how the oil is made and taste it

Some mills only open their doors to producers in November for olive oil production, while others offer guided tours and tasting sessions. Here is a selection of the best addresses to find out all about olive oil:

Moulin à huile & Domaine Bastide du Laval

Moulin à huile & Domaine Bastide du Laval - CADENET

Moulin à huile & Domaine Bastide du Laval

Moulin à Huile du Clos des Jeannons - GORDES

Moulin à huile du Débat

Moulin à huile du Débat -
JONQUIERES

Moulin à Huile du Vieux Château

Moulin à Huile du Vieux Château - MERINDOL

Moulin à Huile Jullien

Moulin à Huile Jullien - ST SATURNIN LES APT

Moulin à Huile La Balméenne

Moulin à Huile La Balméenne - BEAUMES DE VENISE

Moulin à Huile La Colombe

Moulin à Huile La Colombe - MALEMORT DU COMTAT

Moulin à huile la Rétanque

Moulin à huile la Rétanque - ST SATURNIN LES AVIGNON

Moulin à Huile Lis Andi

Moulin à Huile Lis Andi -
VALREAS

Moulin à Huile Saint Augustin

Moulin à Huile Saint Augustin - OPPEDE

Moulin et Domaine Oliversion

Moulin et Domaine Oliversion - CUCURON

 

Olive season

The best time of year to find out about olives is what the French call the “olivades” season from late November to late January. There’s even a proverb about it: “A la saint Catherine, l’huile est dans l’olive”, meaning that the olives are ready for pressing on St Catherine’s Day. The fruit is harvested and taken to the mill to make the fruity oil. During this period, all sorts of events are laid on in Provence villages: