Production process

    Raw material selection

    Monini evaluates thousands of samples every year.

    Every day, MONINI receives numerous oil samples, representative of the vintage productions in different areas and for different olive varieties, these are then subjected to an initial organoleptic test during which  the main olfactory and gustative sensations are recorded. Then the samples are evaluated and ranked with a score: only samples that are considered valid will be sent for laboratory tests. In 2005, for example, more than 1,500 samples were evaluated.


    Analysis of selected oils

    Accurate chemical, organoleptic analysis and comparison checks between samples.

    As soon as the tanker of selected oil arrives at MONINI, we proceed with taking samples for chemical and organoleptic analysis.

    CHEMICAL ANALYSES confirm parameters such as quality (degree of oil freshness), purity (absence of contamination by oils of different type or quality) and safety (absence of contaminants, e.g. pesticides).

    ORGANOLEPTIC ANALYSES are carried out by a team of professional tasters coordinated by Zefferino Monini. 

    At this stage the absence of defects is evaluated, but also the valuable characteristics that distinguish that particular oil (the bitter and spicy intensity, the intensity of the smell in comparison to the taste and vice versa, the aroma of grass, almonds, tomatoes, etc.).

    If from the chemical or sensory analysis, the oil's characteristics are found to be different from those provided by the sample, a comparison is carried out on the two samples. 

    Finally, all results are recorded on a computer and each is assigned a different oil storage tank. 

    Monini has about 170 storage tanks: tanks have a stainless steel surface, or underground tanks with concrete walls which are, however, coated in steel.  The capacity of the tanks varies considerably and includes "small" tanks from 100 hectolitres to tanks of 2,100 hectolitres.


    Raw material storage

    To maintain the high quality standards, oils are kept strictly separated until the moment of bottling. Monini has about 170 storage tanks: tanks have a stainless steel surface, or underground tanks with concrete walls which are, however, coated in steel.

    The capacity of the tanks varies considerably; from "small", 100 hectolitre tanks to 2,100 hectolitre tanks.

    To maintain the distinctive, qualitative characteristics for each Extra Virgin oil, different oils must be kept separate until bottling

    Oils other than extra virgin (rectified olive oils and olive oils) are stored in tanks in separate areas with connecting pipes completely apart from those that connect the tanks for Extra Virgin oils.

    Any movement from one tank to another is always recorded.

    The storage tanks have sensors that display the quantity of oil in the tank, the empty space available and the movement status.

    • More bitter and pungent oils (because they are obtained from olives which have been harvested slightly earlier then when fully ripe and thus are rich in polyphenols), and oils with more refined and floral bouquets, are destined for GRANFRUTTATO.
    • Oils with a mainly herbaceous aroma and balanced in taste are kept separate for the CLASSICO.
    • Oils with a more delicate taste and aroma, and are less pungent are sent to enhance the POGGIOLO.
    • Oils with a Protected Designation of Origin are naturally stored in clearly identified separate tanks.

    Oils other than extra virgin (rectified olive oils and olive oils) are stored in tanks in separate areas with connecting pipes completely apart from those that connect the tanks for Extra Virgin oils.

    Any movement from one tank to another is always recorded. The storage tanks have sensors that display the quantity of oil in the tank, the empty space available and the movement status.


    Blend formulation

    A delicate and skilful balance preserves the distinctive taste of MONINI Extra Virgin olive oil.

    Hence the identity of an Extra Virgin olive oil is born. It is, perhaps, the most important and delicate stage, certainly the one that requires the highest degree of taste sensitivity, professionalism and experience.

    Imagine eating a fruit, like a pear. The smell and taste vary considerably depending on how ripe it is: the perfume is relatively low when harvested early, the fragrance becomes clearer and more intense when it is ripe. A few days or a few hours later, the fragrance fades and the fruit begins to show its first small defects. Of course, different varieties of pear have very different fragrances and may be, more or less, appreciated by different tastes.

    Just like any other fruit, olives and their oils provide fragrances that are also very different, depending on the variety of plant, how ripe the fruit is, the type of press, the climate in which they grow and the  storage conditions, first for the olives and then the oil.

    There are very fragrant oils, of grass, almond, tomato... and oil with a, more or less, persistent after-taste, bitter and pungent. Furthermore, different oils have different stability characteristics when stored in the tanks and tend to soften and, inevitably, age.

    At Monini, these fragrances are different, they are set aside and carefully enhanced by the "craftsman's touch". Each tank is checked periodically and oils that are more intense in flavour and stability will be used at the end, naturally, while more delicate oils are bottled in their first months of life.

    This means that MONINI Extra Virgin olive oil maintains quality and taste over time.


    Filtration and fine filtering

    All MONINI Extra Virgin olive oil is subjected to the FILTERING process and, immediately prior to packaging, the FINE FILTERING process.
    Processes that significantly improve the shelf life of the Extra Virgin olive oil without any compromise on freshness and its nutritional quality.
    In the FILTRATION process, the oil passes through the filter cloths and comes out free of water droplets, of vegetation and any tiny olive fragments which together gave it a cloudy appearance. For years, Monini, has done research into how to optimise this process and has developed a pilot plant equipped with sensors that can continuously monitor and record variables such as the cloudiness of the incoming oil and the oil leaving the filter, the temperature and the pressure.

     

     
    The "FINE FILTERING" stage, immediately before bottling, represents a further foresight: a final passage through a cellulose filter (common absorbent paper, a few mm thick).  

    Bottling Process

    10 production lines, an average daily bottling capacity of 109,000 litres (with peak production of 273,000 litres): this is how the MONINI oil press in Spoleto operates.

    The bottles used are new and stored in separate areas, in appropriate sterile conditions. Once on the packaging line, they are however, subject to further precautionary hygiene and control measures.


     
    1. The upturned bottles have compressed air blown into them in order to ensure the maximum hygiene 2. An optical inspection checks every single container to check for any unlikely anomalies in the glass: bubbles, cracks, or foreign bodies.

     
    3. From this moment on the bottles' route along the packaging line is protected by a metallic cover until they are finally capped. 4. Each oil - Granfruttato, Classico, Poggiolo, Umbria PDO, Anfora olive oil - reaches the bottling machine through a specific pipe to guarantee the identity of each product, bottle by bottle.

     
    5. Detail of the "filling carousel". 6. The capping operation.

     
    7. Cameras located immediately after capping enable the presence of the top and the level of the oil in the bottle to be checked. 8. Other light devices check for the "production batch" on the label. The production batch and the bottling time ensure complete traceability of the product. In other words, this number can be used to trace the product through the entire production chain. The "expiration" date is precautionary and is 12 months from the date of packaging.

     
    9. At least 20 bottles/hour are weighed manually. These are sample checks, carried out every hour, to verify the correctness of the oil content stated on the label. 10. An opaque film protects those bottles destined for fast delivery from light. The bottles destined for far-off countries are better protected with cardboard that keeps the oil completely sheltered from the light.

     
    11. Oil Packs are assembled on "pallets" that can be transported to distribution centres further afield. 12. Finally, pallets are taken by special robotic shuttles which are programmed to put each product in its correct place.

     
    13. The finished goods warehouse is organised according to a logic of "first in .... first out ": those products packed first are shipped first.  

     

     

    The chemical analysis laboratory

    The Monini laboratories are extremely modern and cover an area of over 200 square metres. They are equipped with sophisticated equipment to perform assessment analysis on the quality, authenticity and presence of contaminants (pesticide residue, solvents, etc.). Modern analytical techniques and sophisticated machines can detect the presence of contaminants at a level of tenths of a billion. In practice, this means being able to detect the presence of one gram of pollutant dissolved in 1,000 tons of oil!

    18,000 analyses are carried out annually, totalling 80,000 analytical parameters checked.

    About 1,000 analyses are performed on "informative samples" or rather oil samples submitted by suppliers to Monini. 

    Annual analytical activity   
    Chemical analysis    18.000
    Parameters checked    80.000
    Informative samples    1.000
    Incoming raw materials    1.000
    Finished products (blend)    500
    Line controls    1.500
    Organoleptic Analysis    10.000
    Panel test    300
    Competitors Analysis   200

     

       
    Over 1,000 raw materials are analysed upon their arrival at the company. Based on taste characteristics, the incoming raw materials are decanted and combined (the blending process) in order to maintain, throughout the year, the quality for each type of product. Over 500 samples are analysed during this stage. During packaging, final checks are performed to ensure the absence of any contamination: over 1,500 such inspections are done each year. 

    In total approximately 10,000 organoleptic tests are carried out on the oil informative samples (submitted by Monini suppliers), incoming raw materials, and on oils at the time of packaging. Mr. Zefferino MONINI personally performs a third of these checks. Over 200 organoleptic tests are aimed at a comparative evaluation of the quality of our products against those of our competitors. The "panel test" analyses are carried out on sample of our products and our competitor's which are purchased monthly in supermarkets and evaluated in a completely "blind" way. Stability checks are also performed on our products in supermarkets to ensure that they have not been "mistreated" during transport and storage. In 2005m approximately 600 supermarkets in Italy were sampled!

     

    Quality analysis  
    Acidity   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Peroxides   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    U.V. spectrophotometric indices   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Moisture and impurities   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Organoleptic evaluation (panel test)   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Total diglycerides, 1,2-DG and 1,3-DG   Internal method
    Minor polar compounds (polyphenols)   Internal method
    Tocopherols   Internal method
    Stigmastadienes   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Purity analysis  
    Fatty acids and trans isomers   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Sterols (content and composition)   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Erythrodiol + uvaol   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Waxes   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    alkanols   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Fatty acids in TG position 2   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Delta ECN42   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Analysis of contaminants  
    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons   Internal method
    Halogenated solvents   Reg. EEC 2568/91 and subsequent amendments
    Organophosphorus pesticides   Internal method
    Chlorinated pesticides   Internal method
    Azotized pesticides   Internal method
    Herbicides   Internal method
    Phthalates   Internal method