What’s it really like to make a Meyer lemon-infused olive oil? Since we already produce an award-winning Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we thought it would be fairly straightforward… Turns out there’s a bit more to it, as there is with almost all new endeavors.
We produced our first Meyer lemon olive oil in 2012 and the learning curve was pretty steep. We searched all over for a source for the lemons since the milling of the oil takes place well before most of our normal producers were even picking their lemons. We soon realized that 1000lbs of rinds requires a lot of actual lemons. Once we secured a good producer, we tried our hand at juicing. We went through every electric juicers that the local big-box store had in stock over a period of about 3 days with all 11 of our Culinary Team chipping in to help. Talk about handcrafted! The good news is it turned out to be some great oil – we even won a Silver Medal in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair for our K-J Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. Of course, we learned a lot through this round and we approached 2013 with a better understanding of the process.
In 2013, we asked around to see what ideas the pros had to make the job a bit easier and lo and behold, we got some great recommendations. We then turned to our winery production team for some help with the pressing, and we were able to accomplish the job with fewer people and less time spent on the juicing. The chefs all joined in as our olives went through the mill and the Meyer lemon rinds were added – the aroma was so delicious! The combination of the fresh olives and the meyer lemon rinds was enough to make you want to bottle it for cosmetic use and not just in the kitchen. Right now the olive oil is settling and we will go and taste the oil this month before preparing for the bottling – look for it on the shelves and on the website early this Spring.
-Robin, Culinary Team