Gisborne’s essential oil

The family-owned Villa Pileggi Olive Oil has received an Australian Small Business Excellence Award. (Damjan Janevski) 253600_04

Oliver Lees

Gisborne’s very-own Villa Pileggi has been named the Olive Oil Producer of the Year at the 2021 Small Business Awards.

The family-run enterprise has been producing olive oil at its property at the foot of Mount Macedon since 1997, where it has cultivated frantoio olive trees.

The origin of these trees, like the Pileggi family, can be traced back to Tuscany in central Italy.

Villa Pileggi is certified as an organic orchard and as an extra virgin cold press processor.

Villa Pileggi owner John Pileggi said these qualifications have helped set his product apart from the competition.

“[Being organic] was one thing we were keen on when we first decided to make the business,” Mr Pileggi said.

“I think the reason we were able to win this award is because it’s a niche business, and we have a product that not many people have.”

Mr Pileggi said his father Gennaro, who recently died at the age 87, was always supporting him as he developed his business, which included an initial seven-year period waiting for the olives trees to produce.

“Dad was really big on being organic, so that was the inspiration,” he said.

“He was here with me every weekend. That’s the wonderful thing about a family business, we’re always together. The family comes together every year and helps with the harvest.”

Villa Pileggi’s range of olive oils, olives and tapenades is available at farmers’ markets across the region.

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