World-wide there are more than 800 varieties of olives.
The main varieties grown in the Hunter Valley are:
- Manzanillo – originated in Spain where it is one of the most commonly used varieties for oil. Local conditions don't suit Manzanillo for oil but it makes excellent table fruit – eaten either green or black. Works very well with marinades such chilli and garlic or herbs and garlic. Substantial plantings in the Hunter Valley.
- Kalamata – from Greece and one of the most popular of all table olives. Can struggle in some parts of the Hunter and not widely grown here. Traditionally served as a black olive but can also be eaten green.
- Sevillano – a very popular table olive originating from Spain. Eaten green the fruit is typically large, firm and crisp.
- California Queen – a table fruit variety developed at the University of California (hence its other name, UC). Similar style to Sevillano and also eaten green.
- Verdale – medium size fruit that is firm and having a slight nutty flavour. Used either for table fruit or for oil. The oil can be quite intense but the yield is low.
- Corrigeola – smaller fruit with a nutty flavour. Mainly used for oil but also good for table fruit.
- Frantoio – similar to Corrigeola. Widespread plantings in the Hunter Valley. Grows vigorously.
- Leccino – a medium size olive that may be used for oil or table fruit. Similar to Corrigeola.
- Volos - a medium sized olive, firm flesh, mostly green.
Other varieties include:
- Picual – a medium to large table fruit, eaten green or black
- Arbequina – an oil fruit that is grown in high density plantings. Substantial recent plantings in the Hunter.
- Hardys Mammoth – makes a robust oil
- Koreniki – high yielding variety that can produce a high quality oil. Further plantings expected to occur in the Hunter Valley.