Uruguay is located in the same latitude as the Mediterranean basin, the main olive production area in the world. Uruguay’s climate is very much like the Mediterranean, with mild winters, rainy falls and springs, dry and warm summers offering unique conditions for the olive oil production. Nowadays, with more than 6000 hectares planted, growing olive trees in Uruguay has become a most promising bet for investors with an eye on exports.
Valeria Bonanno and Alejandro Bengolea discovered a magical enclave in Eden Valley and were immediately captivated by the region’s serene beauty. Previously, they worked in a family business in the construction field for 20 years until they sold the company, and went on to develop projects such as a boutique hotel called Hub Porteño in La Recoleta, Buenos Aires. They decided to stay in Uruguay and take on this new venture in olive oil production. Lote 8 came into existence, producing premium extra virgin olive oil for export.
Lote 8 is located in Eden Valley, a place of rugged beauty, located northwest of Punta del Este, past La Barra and Jose Ignacio. Its numerous natural streams contribute to growing olive trees on the land’s slopes. The olive trees of the Lote 8 estates grow at a similar speed to that of the Mediterranean basin.
The olive grove history in Uruguay began with European immigrants who brought olive trees from their native countries. After the olives were planted they adapted to the land and climate. Several European varieties –Frantoio, Arbequina, Leccino, Manzanilla, Taggiasca, Pendolino and Moraiolo- are currently cultivated in Uruguay.
The varieties Lote 8 grows are Arbequina, Frantoio, Leccino, Coralina, Picual, Barnea and Picholine. Lote 8 harvest begins in March, in early fall. The olives are handpicked to ensure quality. To obtain good quality olive oil, the olives must be processed within 24 hours after harvesting.
According to Alejandro, getting in touch with people you can trust is fundamental to carry out a good project as well as getting advice from colleagues who have already ventured in similar projects. This is what made this project possible.
Their objective is to position their quality olive oil next to brands from Napa Valley, Tuscany and Provençe. Alejandro Bengolea is planning a business trip to Provençe where he is looking to learn more about their business model in olive oil production.
The greatest challenge is finding a niche in the market that will value a premium olive oil brand, for this I am going to build everything that is necessary in order to create this brand.
The owners of Lote 8, originally from Argentina, used to vacation each year in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Like many other people with similar stories, the Bengoleas chose to settle in Uruguay and start a new business. In 2007 they sought out the services of Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate to advise them and help them find a rural real estate property for their venture. They visited the website first. Alejandro tells us that Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate were very knowledgeable in their field and were very professional in the way they conducted business. They became clients and friends of Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate.