Farming & Making Estate Grown Olive Oil

We farm 350 olive trees at Boot­jack Ranch and Heart Hill Vine­yard. Each year, we har­vest our own olives and work with Kil­er Ridge Olive Farm to make a small amount of Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil to use in our restau­rant and sell in our tast­ing room.

Sim­i­lar to wine, olives are grown in a wide range of dif­fer­ent vari­eties. We grow three dif­fer­ent vari­eties between Boot­jack Ranch and Heart Hill Vine­yard, each of which imparts its own unique fla­vors to an olive oil blend.

· Arbe­quina – An aro­mat­ic Span­ish vari­ety with fruity and sweet char­ac­ter­is­tics. Mild in flavor.

· Fran­toio – An Ital­ian vari­ety known for its herba­ceous char­ac­ter­is­tics and nut­ty flavor.

· Corati­na – An Ital­ian vari­ety that is fruity, green and slight­ly bitter.

All three vari­eties are blend­ed togeth­er and the fin­ished prod­uct is a fruity, but­tery and slight­ly spicy olive oil per­fect for cook­ing, dress­ings and mari­nades, or even dip­ping your favorite bread and gar­den veg­gies. To learn more about the process to make our olive oil, keep reading!


To be labeled as ​“Extra Vir­gin”, olive oil must be in its purest form, made with­out any chem­i­cals and with very lit­tle to no heat. Green or ripe olive fla­vors must be present and there can be no fla­vor defects. Our goal is to pro­duce a deli­cious extra vir­gin olive oil each year to share with our customers.

Around the time our team har­vests the last vine­yard blocks, we start gear­ing up for the olive har­vest. The olive har­vest nor­mal­ly hap­pens in late Octo­ber to ear­ly November.

Each olive tree is har­vest­ed by hand. We lay a tarp out beneath the tree and run an olive rake through the branch­es. The olive rake is designed to knock as many olives out of the tree and onto the tarp as pos­si­ble with­out dam­ag­ing them. The olives are then col­lect­ed into ½ ton bins and trans­port­ed imme­di­ate­ly to the Kil­er Ridge mill.

Olives oxi­dize eas­i­ly if they are dam­aged or not processed quick­ly. This is detri­men­tal to the fla­vor and caus­es the oil to lose antiox­i­dants, the main health ben­e­fit of olive oil. Get­ting the olives to the mill right away pre­serves the olives and pro­duces a health­i­er, bet­ter-qual­i­ty product.

Once the olives are at the mill, there are four main steps to the process: wash­ing, crush­ing, mix­ing and extracting.

Wash­ing – Sim­i­lar to when grapes are brought into the win­ery, the olives are sort­ed and sep­a­rat­ed from leaves, twigs, stems and oth­er debris that comes in with the har­vest. They are then washed to remove dirt.

Crush­ing – This step involves crush­ing the olives into a paste. While the olives are crushed, the fruit cells tear which facil­i­tates the release of tiny olive oil droplets.

Mix­ing (or malax­ing) – The olive paste is mixed for 20 – 45 min­utes while gen­tly heat­ed. This process brings all of the tiny olive oil droplets togeth­er com­bin­ing them into big­ger drops.

Extract­ing –The oil is sep­a­rat­ed from the rest of the olive com­po­nents by two-phase cen­trifu­ga­tion. The oil that comes out of the first cen­trifuge is processed fur­ther in a sec­ond, faster-rotat­ing cen­trifuge to elim­i­nate any remain­ing water and solids. This oil is trans­ferred into stain­less steel drums where it rests for the next 3 – 4 months while grav­i­ty sep­a­rates any remain­ing solids from the oil. Sim­i­lar to wine, the ​“lees” or solids are racked off the clear oil and it is final­ly ready to bottle.

For recipe ideas fea­tur­ing our olive oil, take a look at some of our Chef’s favorite recipes here. Hap­py cooking!