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Frequently Asked Questions


IRVEA is an Institute for Research and Enhancement of Agri-Food and Environmental Excellence.

Who are the IRVEA instructors? are they qualified?

The instructors and speakers at IRVEA, the Olive Oil Academy, are all highly qualified and recognized in the olive oil industry.

They are academics, scientific researchers, panel leaders and certified and qualified experts in different disciplines, with over 20 years of experience and knowledge in the sector, and often hold positions in various ministerial, European and international commissions related to olive oil, such as the European Commission and the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).

These professionals have solid credentials and skills in the different fields in which they operate and their participation as instructors in IRVEA training programs contributes to the quality and authority of the institute.

What do IRVEA courses offer/guarantee?

IRVEA has always pursued the objective of a high level of training and specialization in the quality of its courses. A HIGH level of training that can only be guaranteed through accurate teaching activities accompanied by a large number of sensory sessions, always and only in person.
Networking and Connections: In-person learning allows participants to make more meaningful connections and create a community of valued olive oil experts.

Why should I choose IRVEA courses?

You should choose IRVEA courses because they offer a wide range of opportunities to deepen your knowledge in olive oil and agri-food. Here are some reasons:

Experience: IRVEA has long experience in the sector and since 2001 has been offering high-quality courses taught by expert and internationally recognized instructors.
Practical approach: IRVEA courses take place in real contexts, such as oil mills and production companies, offering you a unique practical experience.
Wide range of topics: Courses cover a wide range of topics, from production to sensory analysis, culinary use of olive oil and much more…
Certifications: By completing courses, you will have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications that can enhance your career prospects.
Connections: By participating in IRVEA courses, you will have the opportunity to create connections in the olive oil, agri-food and food and wine sectors, opening doors to future opportunities.
Commitment to excellence: trained staff will be able to operate both in the management of tasting panels and as judges in the various olive oil competitions.

For all these reasons IRVEA is committed to promoting excellence in the olive oil industry, and our courses are designed to convey this passion and commitment.

By choosing IRVEA courses, you will be able to acquire high-level skills and broaden your professional prospects in the olive oil, agri-food and gourmet sectors.

Why do IVREA courses often take place in Italy?

IRVEA operates mainly in Italy in order to provide its members with a total connection between territory, food culture and product.

In fact, the courses for Olive Oil Sommeliers and Olive Oil Specialists are always held in Tuscany and on Lake Garda within oil mills, production, marketing or bottling companies in order to be able to offer participants a direct and in-depth EXPERIENCE across the territory and product, with a 360 degree immersion in the culture of food, oil and its production techniques.

However, upon request, IRVEA Olive Oil, Food & Wine Academy also provides training programs in other parts of the world, such as Brazil, Australia, Tunisia, Morocco, Singapore, Spain, Portugal and South Africa.

Why doesn't IRVEA organize online courses?

Sensory analysis is a perfect science that cannot be done remotely, nor online.
It requires practical, objective, direct and personal operation in the presence of the group. An experience impossible to achieve in an online learning context.
In fact, online sensory assessments and training are not covered by the COI regulations.

The individual expresses a private and subjective opinion.
The group expresses the overall evaluation made by all the tasters, in the same environmental, temporal, physical and psychophysical conditions.
This condition cannot be done online, even if connected with other people.

Let’s take for example an evaluation or sensory analysis course held online between Italy and Australia in the month of July with a time zone of +10:

1- the environmental context in Rome at 11:00 we are in the middle of summer, while in Sydney it is 9:00 pm and we are in the heart of winter;
2- the physical and psycho-physical state:
to. the taster in Rome has all his olfactory and gustatory senses alerted as he is far from breakfast but close to lunch time;
b. the Sydney taster is tired as it is evening, he has already had dinner and his senses are somewhat tired or relaxed
3- the climatic differences and the management of the temperature of the samples: it will be almost impossible for both tasters to operate in the same climatic conditions, both objectively personal and of the samples.

These are just some of the many problems that can negatively impact online sensory analysis, even if guided by an expert panel instructor.

If online courses, competitions and taster sessions could be considered acceptable during the pandemic;
they are now to be considered unacceptable, unethical and incorrect in every respect.

It is unethical to offer sensory evaluation courses or sessions online via Skype, WhatsApp or otherwise.
An incorrect way of guiding inexperienced people to discover perception, tastes, flavors and scents that sometimes only those who lead the course can perceive or often only pretend to perceive.
A taste, a flavour, a scent or an intensity is only such if the whole group perceives it, otherwise it is just a personal and subjective opinion.

How can I be informed about new courses?

Sign up for our newsletter and interact with us on our social pages.

Who are IRVEA courses on olive oil aimed at?

• Retailers: To make informed wholesale purchases and guide customers to choose high quality products.

• Importers and distributors: To carefully select the oils present on the international market and diversify the offers for their customers.

• Producers: To acquire knowledge on product diversification, improve quality and develop operational strategies to produce “First Prize” oils.

• Chefs and catering professionals: To learn selection strategies and promote excellent EVOO through the Olive Oil Corner of your restaurant.

• Food enthusiasts and curious: To understand how olive oil can improve the flavor of dishes and influence one’s outlook on food and life.

At the end of the courses offered by IRVEA, what skills and abilities will I acquire?

1. Sensory Evaluation: you will recognize organoleptic attributes, qualities, and defects of olive oil.

2. Selection of Olive Oils: you will be able to select and choose high-quality olive oil based on consumer needs and preferences.

3. Advanced Tasting: If you have taken advanced courses, you will have advanced skills in tasting and sensory evaluation of olive oil, including detecting defects and creating different intensity scales.

4. Quality Assessment: you will be able to evaluate and guarantee the quality of olive oil in various contexts, such as production, trade, and catering.

5. Education: If you have taken the “Learn to Teach” course, you will be able to teach others the skills you have acquired in the olive oil training courses.

6. Marketing and Communication: you will be able to develop strategies to promote and communicate olive oil effectively to increase sales and consumption and guide shopkeepers, restaurateurs and consumers in the correct selections and uses and creative combinations of oil-food.

7. Quality Inspector: If you have followed the course for quality inspectors in hotels and restaurants, you will be able to evaluate and guarantee quality standards and carry out consultancy activities in these contexts.

Will the skills acquired in IRVEA courses open up professional opportunities for me?


You will have the opportunity to register and become part of the International Register of Olive Oil Experts, recognizing your level of professional competence in different fields.

The professional prospects in the oil sector after following the IRVEA training are different and depend on the specific course followed. Here are some common career prospects:

1. Olive Oil Sommelier: After completing the Olive Oil Sommelier course, you may become an expert in olive oil tasting and evaluation. This training would allow you to work as an olive oil taster, consultant for the choice of oil in restaurants or specialized shops, or even as an educator in the field of olive oil or as a judge in various international competitions.
2. Olive Oil Specialist: If you have taken the Olive Oil Specialist course, you could become a highly specialized professional in the olive oil sector. This training would open doors for you to work in key roles such as quality control, production, marketing or consultancy for olive oil producers. You could also actively participate in creating olive oil business strategies.
3. Olive Oil Panel Leader: After completing the Olive Oil Panel Leader course, you could become the leader of a panel of olive oil tasters. This role requires advanced skills in olive oil classification and management of sensory analysis laboratories. You could be involved in olive oil judging and evaluation activities at a professional level as Panel Leader also in international EVOO competitions.
4. Master of the Oil Mill: If you have taken the Master of the Oil Mill course, you could become an expert in the production of olive oil and in the diversification of the product according to the demands of the different markets. This training would allow you to work in the management and optimization of oil mills, improving the quality of the oil produced and maintaining it over time.

The skills acquired in IRVEA courses will open up various professional opportunities for you, ranging from olive oil tasting and evaluation to its production, marketing, teaching, quality management, and much more. The choice of specific skills will depend on the course you have followed and the professional goals you wish to achieve.

Are there practical tests during IRVEA courses?

Yes, during IRVEA courses, there are practical tests that offer participants the opportunity to put the knowledge acquired into practice and vary depending on the course and the topic covered.

For example, courses such as the “Olive Oil Sommelier Course” and the “Olive Oil Specialist Course,” include guided sessions with practical tasting tests and sensory evaluation of olive oil, where participants have the opportunity to taste and evaluate different olive oils to develop their sensory skills.

In the case of the “Olive Oil Specialist Course,” there are advanced tests such as the creation of defects; dilutions for the creation of different intensity scales, and practical tests on olfactory sensitivity and sensory memorization.

In the case of the “Olive Oil Panel Leader Course,” there are practical and advanced tests such as the dilution of defects, the creation of different intensity scales, selective tests for the selection of tasters and panel members, as well as many other tests to the training of the panel members.

In the case of the “Hotel Quality Inspectors Course,” there are practical tests and inspection simulations for the evaluation of the quality standards of hotels and restaurants.

Practical tests are an essential element to consolidate theoretical understanding and allow participants to apply what they have learned in the real context of the different courses.

What will I need to bring to the in-person course?

To follow the course better, you need to bring with you only your attention and a notepad for some notes.

What does a Master Oil Mill do?

A Master Olive Oil Mill, also known as a “Mastro Oleario,” is an expert in the olive oil production process and plays a key role within an olive oil mill. The responsibilities and activities of a Master Oil Mill may include:

Production Supervision: The Master of the Oil Mill supervises the entire olive oil production process, from the harvesting of the olives to the pressing, extraction of the oil and its conservation. This includes checking equipment and processes to ensure the oil produced meets quality standards.
Management of the Press: The Master of the Oil Mill is responsible for managing the pressing process, which involves grinding the olives to obtain a paste, from which the oil will be extracted. This requires the correct adjustment of the machines and the optimization of the process not only to guarantee the maximum oil yield, but above all to be able to differentiate the product in relation to the demands of the various markets.
Quality Control: The Mastro Oleario carries out quality control of the olive oil produced. This includes sensory analysis, evaluation of organoleptic attributes and verification that the oil meets established quality standards.
Equipment Maintenance and Adjustment: He is responsible for maintaining the oil mill equipment to ensure that it is in optimal operating condition. Regular maintenance is critical to producing high-quality oil.
Personnel Management: In larger oil mills, the Mill Master may manage the personnel involved in the production process, training operators and ensuring they follow the correct procedures.
Regulatory Compliance: He must ensure that olive oil production is in compliance with local, national and international laws and regulations.
Research and Development: Some Master Oilers may be involved in research and development activities to improve production processes and develop new techniques for obtaining high quality oil.

In summary, a Master of the Oil Mill is a highly specialized professional in the olive oil sector who guarantees the production of high quality oil, supervising every phase of the production process and managing the operations of the oil mill.

What differences are there between the Olive Oil Sommelier Course and the Olive Oil Connoisseur Course?

The Olive Oil Sommelier Course and the Olive Oil Specialist Course offered by IRVEA are both training programs in the field of olive oil, but they differ in terms of level of depth and objectives. Here are the main differences between the two:

Olive Oil Sommelier:
1. Duration: The Olive Oil Sommelier Course is a training program usually lasting five days.
2. Objective: This course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of essential knowledge about olive oil, including aspects such as tasting, production, sensory evaluation, product choice and its use in cooking and catering.
3. Intended audience: It is suitable for those who wish to gain basic knowledge of olive oil, including enthusiasts, chefs, restaurateurs and professionals who want to better understand high-quality olive oil.

Olive Oil Connoisseur:
1. Duration: The Olive Oil Specialist Course is a more advanced and detailed training program, a course reserved for those who have already acquired experience in olive oil.
2. Objective: This course is designed for industry experts who wish to further deepen their knowledge on olive oil. A one-of-a-kind advanced course, which covers topics such as the most innovative techniques for sensory memorization, production and product differentiation in relation to the demands of different markets. Particular attention is paid to techniques and plans for commercial improvement and customer loyalty to increase EVOO consumption and sales. The learn to teach section of the course is specifically structured on teaching the techniques for producing defects and the different intensity scales. Elements of fundamental importance for the training of tasters and the evaluation of olfactory sensitivities, as well as for the certification of the updating of professional skills and much more.
3. Intended audience: It is aimed at industry professionals, such as producers, shopkeepers, journalists, quality inspectors, consultants, educators and those seeking advanced training in the field of olive oil.
In summary, the Olive Oil Sommelier Course is ideal for those who want a basic knowledge of olive oil and is aimed at a wide range of participants, while the Olive Oil Specialist Course is an advanced program for industry professionals looking for in-depth skills.
Choosing between the two will depend on your goals and experience in the olive oil industry.