Willow Creek: a journey towards excellence

Willow Creek has been in the Rabie family since the late seventeen hundredsand mainly wine grapes, table grapes and grain were produced. 

The estate geographical position, located in the Nuy Valley and overlooked by the Langeberg Mountain range, offered a very suitable terroir for olives, as the lime rich soils and typical Mediterranean climate with access to irrigation water. Andries Rabie planted the first olive trees in 1999 and in 2002 the first oil was pressed. Today Willow Creek Estate comprises 260 hectares, planted with 200 000 olive trees. They have established themselves as one of the largest estate olive oil producers in the Southern Hemisphere.

Pieralisi Group enters in Willow Creek in 2003 when the previous decanter was exchanged for a Pieralisi decanter which processed 500kg/hour.
“We have chosen Pieralisi quality in the past and we have reconfirmed it now” says Andries Rabie, the Managing Director. In 2014 Willow Creek Estate bought a plant with four Molinova Kneaders, one Marte Separator and a DMF Leopard 8 centrifugal extractor. “We turned once again to Pieralisi – continuesAndrie Rabie – because only with this plant we would have been able to meet the most demanding needs of the market and to work big quantities of olives.”
Two harvesters are utilized to ensure that the olives are harvested at their optimum ripeness stage. At 6 tonnes an hour it supplies the capacity of the Pieralisi decanter like a hand in a glove. In addition to the manual harvesters who clean the groves after the machines, 40 factory workers are employed to preserve the table olives and bottle and package the range of products.

Willow Creek has established itself as the largest plant in South Africa with this new technology that guarantees not only the highest obtainable yield in the market with low energy  and water consumption, but above all, an excellent quality oil extracted without addition of water. The estate produces 33% of the total South African production.

Willow Creek offers a huge products range; from the three different pluri-awarded olive oils - Delicate, Medium and Intense – to the flavoured olive oils. Balsamic Vinegar is the natural partner to extra virgin olive oil and Willow Creek offers both a balsamic imported from Modena, as well as a Balsamic Glaze under their own brand name. The olive range varies from traditionally fermented Black and Green olives to the popular flavoured and pitted options which include Pitted Green Olives with Lemon, Thyme & Garlic, the traditional Tapenade with anchovies, capers and garlic, as well as a Chilli Olive Pesto.

The company has always developed marketing and promotion actions. “Exhibiting at leading food shows plays a major role of Willow Creek’s marketing– Andries Rabie continues – it offers both the trade and consumers the opportunity to taste and experience the range of products and it serves as a platform for new relations and future business.”  By being readily available and visible on retail shelves, sponsoring various chef schools and notable chefs, advertising in both the print- and online media and inviting customers and media to the farm during the harvest season to “Follow the Olive”, Willow Creek has established their brand in South Africa and are continuing to build it. The brand is widely available in leading South Africa retailers and also in deli’s and food markets – each stocking a selection of products suited to their specific clientele.

An impressive track record of awards and accolades, both local and international, together with Pieralisi technology attests to the quality, consistency and appeal of the renowned Willow Creek range of extra virgin olive oils. Two coveted L’Orciolo d’Oro trophies, a Gold Trophy from Sol D’Oro, Best of Class from the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, Gold from the New York Olive Oil Competition and the South African ABSA Top 5 trophy are some of the prizes that confirms the extreme carefulness in the processing together with Pieralisi technology. In fact, Willow Creek is the most awarded South African olive oil producer of the 2014 season.

For us – concludesAndries Rabie – the best prize of all is sharing our passion with olive oil lovers around the world."


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