GRINDING – STIRRING – CENTRIFUGE
The mill´s machinery, PIERALISI, is stainless steel where it comes in contact with oil and has a grinding capacity of 100.000 Kg of olives per day, enabling us to grind our daily production, around 30.000 Kg, in a day´s work.
The olives are crushed in a rod mill and conveyed by a piston pump through a stainless steel conduit to the stirring machine. A computerized system controls the cleaning, crushing and extraction process. The mill has two extraction lines working in parallel.
The first line oil is cold extracted, at room temperature, in an airtight system to preserve all its aromas and flavours, its natural antioxidants and preservatives. The stirring machine is horizontal, airtight. Olive paste is stirred for 60 mn to 90 mn depending on its characteristics, and at a temperature of 23ºC. From the stirring machine the paste goes on to the centrifuge engine, where the oil is extracted. This oil undergoes a process of decantation and filtration before being sent to the cellar.
The remaining oil paste that comes out from the first extraction line is then pumped to the second extraction line, where the corresponding stirring engine elevates the paste temperature to 38ºC so that the remaining oil may separate from the paste. The paste remains here between 90mn and 120mn. After going on to the second centrifuge, this inferior oil goes to other decanting vats, passing also through a different circuit.
DECANTATION – FILTRATION
Oil coming from the centrifuge goes into one of the six decanting vats we have, passing through stainless steel pipes, and stays in them for 24 hours so that vegetation water may sink to the bottom. The following day vegetation water is drained and oil goes onto a filtration system. Decanting vats used are cleaned daily with an automatic system.
The filtration system, manufactured by CASPEL, consists of a series of stainless steel meshes that hold back small solid particles that may remain from the olive paste before the oil goes to the cellar.
The cellar, manufactured by MANZANO, is equipped with fourteen stainless steel conical-bottomed tanks with a capacity of 28.000 Kg each and prepared to be sealed with inert gas to preserve the olive oil. The conical bottoms allow periodical drainings of vegetation water or particles that may remain in the tanks. All the piping is stainless steel and allows racking oil between tanks or sending it to the bottler. The cellar is also the oil tasting room where samples are controlled regularly. The cellar´s thermic design maintains a steady temperature that fluctuates between 19ºC and 23ºC all year round.
The automatic bottler,by Olmos, provided with a cap and labelling machine, produces 800 - 500cc – bottles per hour, and enables us to bottle olive oil to order daily. Two supply tanks feed the production line and it is also possible to filtrate the oil previously through sand filters.
The bottle has also been designed by the owner, Manuel Heredia Halcón, it is black to protect the oil from light, it contains 500cc of oil, the cap is security proof, dripping proof and non-refillable.
Staff from the C.A.A.E. (Andalousian Council for Organic Agriculture), following their process of Control and Certification, take olive samples from the trees during their periodic checkings and analyze them for possible chemical residues. Once the olives have been churned they also take oil samples from the cellar and analyze them.
The Control Council from the D.O.BAENA submits every tank that requires their Certification to an analysis of its characteristics and of multi-residues and presents it before an Official Taster Panel (Panel de Catadores Oficiales) that classify it as being Extra Virgin by the D. O. Baena. Olive oil cannot be bottled with the D. O. Baena stamp without going through this Control and Certification.
Cortijo de Suerte Alta sends samples of every tank in the cellar to be analyzed to determine its characteristics and to look for possible multi-residues to officially approved laboratories. Oil is also tasted along the season to check on its evolution.
Tracing starts in the olive groves and goes on to the cellar and the bottler. Each tank has a control with all the data : land parcel, olive variety, date of entry, extraction line number, and grinding parameters.
This way each batch of oil bottled can be traced back to its exact land parcel of origin, and to everything related with its milling process. The Official Stamp of the D. O. Baena also controls and certifies the oil´s characteristics and origin.
The oil produced in the property and the mill itself have, together with the C.A.A.E. Certification, the International Organic Farming Certification NOP (USA) with their respective controls.
Suerte Alta has in any case wider ecology criteria. The mill has purposely been designed to reduce to a minimum power waste, achieving a balance between power consumption and generation through passive thermal systems, vegetation screens, photovoltaic modules, and the use of the olive´s pit as fuel.