Sunday, 17 October 2021

Vodnjan Oil Mill Opens Most Modern Oil Mill in Croatia

October 17, 2021 - Heritage, tradition, and expertise continue to form the core of the Vodnjan oil mill, which has been renovated and equipped with the latest technology and is entirely digitized with the most sophisticated software to control olive oil production. 

When you mention olives and oil processing, it's not hard to think of Vodnjan, the first association with the oldest oil mill in Istria and Kvarner, reports Glas Istre.

Located in the heart of the city in Trgovačka Street, the Vodnjan Oil Mill has been dictating the latest trends in olive growing for many years. In addition to continuous investments in improving all technological processes to make the oil top quality after processing, they have always been guided by the idea that history and experience are their greatest value. As a result, the entire Vodnjan region is an inexhaustible nursery for hardworking farmers, and Vodnjan has established itself as a leader in olive growing in this part of Europe.

A significant contribution to the development of olive growing in southern Istria was created at the Vodnjan Oil Mill, where olives have been processed without interruption since 1911. As a result, the oil mill has become a recognizable symbol of olive growing in the Vodnjan region and the entire Istrian area. All this time, in collaboration with the local community and olive growers, they have successfully built the story of the best extra virgin olive oil in the world. Given that the oil mill building, which dates from the 19th century, has been located in the same place for 136 years, they are the pioneers of olive growing in Istria. At this plant, oil was obtained in the past by using stone mills and presses, and some of them, as witnesses of the time, are still exhibited today as valuable in the area of Vodnjan.

"This season, we have decided on a significant business step forward, certainly the biggest in the history of the oil mill. With the latest investments and the purchase of the most modern technology and machinery from the latest production series of the world-famous machine manufacturer in the oil mill Pieralisi, we have achieved what we have been striving for all along. Heritage, tradition, expertise continue to form the core of our plant, which has been renovated and equipped with the latest technology and has been fully digitized with the most sophisticated software to control the processing process," said the Vodnjan Oil Mill.

"In its long history, the oil mill has always kept pace with technological achievements in olive growing. The latest investment in mechanization ranks us among the most modern oil mills in Croatia. We have always wanted to be one step ahead, and we are glad to be recognized as leaders in olive growing in this part of Istria. In the last few months, the building, which has been in the same place since 1885, has undergone a complete renovation. At more than 460 square meters, the entire interior of the plant shone in a new guise, and the exterior of the building was renovated with strict protection and conservation. Since the Vodnjan Oil Mill is under the protection of the Ministry of Culture and, as such, is on the List of Industrial Heritage of the Republic of Croatia, it was a great challenge to implement valuable technological equipment that accelerates the process of accepting olives to the highest environmental standards.

After several months of intensive work on adapting the exterior and interior of the building, with which we hired about 20 local companies, Vodnjan has taken on a new, more modern look. Our goal was to keep the identity of the oldest olive processing plant on the Peninsula, and at the same time, modernize the plant and offer our customers recognizability. As a result, we managed to get a combination of a modern building with the most modern plant in the production of olive oil.

We are welcoming this year's harvest season equipped with entirely new Molinova olive processing machines from the Italian manufacturer Pieralisi, whose capacity is twice as large as before. These are the most modern mixers for receiving 800 liters of oil. The heart of our plant is the latest cry of technology in olive growing - a new centrifuge, or decanter from the latest Scorpion series - which makes us one of the latest technological generations of oil mills in Istria and Croatia. In the Scorpion decanter, the processing is carried out in two phases, without the addition of water. After each processing, the system is digitized so that the devices and separators are automatically washed so that each new batch of olives comes in thoroughly cleaned processing devices. This is extremely important for olive growers engaged in organic production, and they need to know with certainty that their olives do not mix with others.

The oil mill also has a new digital control to work their oil with the most modern separator or filter. This season we are entering with a significant increase in capacity of as much as 40 percent, so our plant can process about 4 thousand kilograms of olives in just one hour, which will ultimately contribute to increasing the total annual processing from our olive groves in Barbariga and Fazana, which so far amounted to about 1,200 tons per year,"  they added.

Also, increasing the capacity enables the processing of a larger quantity of olives in a shorter period to process as many olives as possible in the top season. But the most important thing is that the quality of the oil is even better.

"We also accelerated the acceptance of olives to enable our olive growers to get oil in the shortest possible time. The novelty is that we will distribute olive storage boxes to all olive growers at the very entrance to speed up processing even more and avoid waiting. The daily harvest of olives must go to the processing as soon as possible. The new investment will undoubtedly be suitable for all our customers who gravitate to the oil mill.

The oil mill is equipped with modern mixers with all the equipment for measuring temperature, mixing time, and lighting and a novelty is the so-called "deferrer" that removes leaves from olive fruits. As a result, the olives come into operation already practically cleaned, which makes the quality of the oil much better. The entire oil mill is digitized and has centralized control with on-screen control. So, everything that happens in the plant itself is displayed on the monitor, and our employees have control and display at all times which machines and how they perform processing. Of course, no computer can replace a human, so our employees decide when is the right time to put it in the centrifuge, for which they are professionally trained. The plant's central location is the olive grinding mill, which has been improved for organic production, and the novelty is the possibility of rinsing the inside of the mill and cooling. 

In addition to new technology and the most modern decanter, the novelty is the control of the process at each stage of processing, which is especially important in producing extra virgin olive oil where the temperature is one of the most important criteria. Using new machines, the Vodnjan Oil Mill now has the possibility of cooling in the mill and temperature control of each individual mixer and access to each individual client and batch of olives.

"The reasons for this investment were primarily to increase the capacity and adjust the production process in the direction we chose. This direction is based on thinking that our oil mill will be a plant where we produce our olive oil and create our recognizable brands. A significant investment is also a completely new oil storage warehouse. All tanks are extra polished to maintain maximum oil purity, and each barrel is protected by inert nitrogen gas to keep the oil in the barrels in the best possible way.

We take care of the environment and take care of all environmental processes within the plant. We have installed a new wastewater treatment system, which means our production process achieves the highest environmental standards. The Vodnjan oil mill is more than olive growing because, over time, it has positioned itself as a central place where olives are brought for processing by olive growers from all over southern Istria, they have trusted us for years, and we try to justify it. Harvest time is a special event for the entire Vodnjan region. As leaders and pioneers in the development of olive growing, we are proud of the new, but the oldest oil mill, which these days began processing in the old town of Vodnjan," the concluded. 

The oil mill building was built in 1885, and the processing was done by hand, in the traditional way practiced by the ancient Greeks. In 1911, the first adaptation of the oil mill took place, and then, for the first time, hydraulic machines for olive processing were introduced. In the 1930s, the oil mill went into its first expansion in Italy and was equipped with the then-latest processing machines. Since 1976, new technologies have been introduced, and cooperation has been started with the world's leading machine manufacturer - the Italian company Pieralisi - with which Vodnjan has been cooperating to this day. In the early '90s, the oil mill switched to the cold pressing process. In the last twenty years, the oil mill has been equipped with the latest technology several times, thus continuously following the latest trends in modern technology in olive growing.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.