An Interview With D’Oliva’s Founder

We sat down with D’Aun Goble, the founder of D’Oliva, to hear a bit more about the brains (and beauty!) behind this delicious olive oil.
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What was your inspiration to start a boutique Olive Oil brand?
“I wanted to do a ‘reinvent’ once my kids were grown.  We had the land available at our family ranch, and I love things that bring together hard work, friends, and good food.  After several years of weekend study at the Mondavi Institute’s UC Davis Olive Center, it was time to just take the plunge.”
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Why did you choose to plant the varietals that you did?

“There are six Tuscan varietals planted at D’Oliva. We intentionally chose these six because of the flavor profile they would create when blended together, resulting in an intense yet balanced olive oil. With the goal of pairing great olive oil with great food, D’Oliva has succeeded beautifully and I’m really pleased.”

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Tell us a little about the Goble Ranch, where D’Oliva Olive Oil is grown. 

“The D’Oliva Olive Oil orchard is situated on a family ranch in the small community of Sunol in Northern California. The 120-acre property has most recently been used for cattle and horses, though there are signs that it was terraced and farmed for grapes in the 19th Century.

The climate is much like Tuscany, with warm summers and cool winters, and the property is just far enough from the ocean to avoid consistent fog. The trees are planted on generous 18 foot centers to allow maximum lateral growth in the years ahead. Drip irrigation is used in the dry months of summer and fall and about 14” of rain falls in the winter (when it’s not a drought year!). Weeds are hand pulled, mowed or plowed in the spring. An 8 foot fence keeps the deer from munching on the trees, barn owls are beginning to occupy our beautiful owl boxes, and Killdeer Plover love to lay their eggs at the base of our trees in the spring. It’s a nice community of critters sharing in our land.”

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What sets D’Oliva Olive Oil apart from other EVOO oils?
“We are fortunate to have wonderful quality olive oils in California. Unfortunately there are also many oils that claim quality, both in California and around the world, that just aren’t. We take a different approach and share the entire experience so you know exactly how the olives were grown, harvested, milled into oil, then bottled. Our aim is to have integrity in the entire process, and we share a little bit of ourselves in every bottle we make.”
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What are some of the hardships you face during the year?
“The olive fruit fly is one of the worst problems and olive groves around the world are dealing with this pest. We are being vigilant to make sure they don’t destroy this year’s crop by monitoring the influx and spraying (with a pretty affective organic product) weekly.  Other than that, critters like gophers, squirrels and moles are determined to dig as many tunnels as they possibly can. Our ranch is often windy (which makes for a nice breeze when working), so keeping the trees staked well and maintaining a balanced canopy can be a challenge.”
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Will D’Oliva ever lose it’s boutique feel?
“Not a chance! With only 325 trees we are one of the smallest growers in California.  Our young trees have been great producers, but we will never have a warehouse full of oil.  And because the trees were planted on 18′ centers, hand harvesting will always be our only option (which also makes for a great harvest party!).”
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What are your favorite recipe’s to use with D’Oliva Olive Oil?
“My go-to will always be as a salad dressing.  My favorite dressing includes D’Oliva Olive Oil, a quality flavored vinegar (pear chardonnay, fig balsamic, pomegranate vinegar…whatever works with my ingredients) and a good French sea salt. I also love using D’Oliva as a finish on a good steak, with garden fresh tomatoes and basil, with grilled vegetables, or in a savory cake.”
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To order D’Oliva Olive Oil please check out our online order form. An online store is in the works and will be released later this year. Make sure to get the delicious 2013 harvest before it runs out!