Judy Ridgway : Olive Oil Expert

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Tasting Classes

Over the last few years I have held a well-attended series of one-day tasting and appreciation classes in London and in Brighton. More than a hundred people have so far completed the course, some of them going on to take part in the three day Savantes events which have been held in London, Italy, Spain, America and Australia.

I keep the classes fairly small so that everyone can join in, numbers vary from four to eight. The course usually starts at 10.00am and finishes around 4.30-5.00pm. The fee for the course, which includes a light lunch and around 14 tasting oils from around the world, is £185.00. There is no VAT.

The next courses will be held in August and early September. If you are interested in attending one of these courses please email me on jridgway@oliveoil.org.uk

The classes covers the following topics but there is provision for specific items to be included on request:

  • What is olive oil?
  • Standards for extra virgin olive oil
  • How to taste
  • Why taste and what to look for?
  • Faulty oils and how to recognise them
  • Describing olive oils
  • Concept of style in olive oil
  • Specific flavour characteristics
  • Origins, designations and labelling
  • Importance of varieties, cultivation and harvest time
  • How olive oil is made
  • Olive oil in the shop and the home


  • Campolisio - Puglia, Italy
  • Colonna Parenzana - Molise, Italy
  • Disisa - Sicily, Italy
  • Domain Fendri - Tunisia
  • Elia - Peleponnese, Greece
  • Filipo Berio - International blend
  • Hardade dos Cordeiros - Alentjo, Portugal
  • L’Alqueria Alfafarenca - Alicante, Spain
  • L’Amo Aubocassa - Mallorca, Spain
  • Molino de Zafra Morisca - Extremandura, Spain
  • Monte Iblea DOP - Sicily, Italy
  • OOO Company - Cyprus
  • Oro Don Vincenzo Classico- Calabria, Italy
  • Tamia - Lazio, Italy
  • Terra Creta - Crete, Greece

Advanced Courses

I have been asked about the possibility of holding more advanced classes for people who already have some experience of tasting olive oil. Subjects might include taste comparisons of oils pressed from specific olive varieties or pressed from the same varieties but from different regions of the world. Oils produced by different extraction methods might be another subject to pursue. I am open to suggestions.

If you would be interested in such a course please email me on jridgway@oliveoil.org.uk with an indication of your particular area of interest.


“Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and found useful the course on Wednesday - shall definitely be recommending it to others!”
- Malcolm Gilmour, laganum.com, May 13th 2016

"A wonderful day spent learning how to taste oils. This is my second time doing Judy’s course and it was every bit as valuable as the first. Judy’s expertise when it comes to all things olive is illuminating. I expanded my range in terms of naming aromas and tastes and learned more about defects in oils. As always, an interesting mix of people, a good lunch and entertaining stories about Judy’s EVOO experience from around the world completes the picture. Whether you are a producer, an importer, chef or just a foodie, I’d recommend Judy’s tasting course – you’ll learn a lot in one day.
- Karen Cryan, August 6th 2015.

"Thank you for a lovely and very informative day yesterday. It was good to meet you and I very much enjoyed the whole experience.”
- Joanna Pope, perfecttree.co.uk, August 15th 2014

"The course was really effective, well organised and pleasant, definitely value for money and I will recommend to friends.”
- Michele Andricciola, April 2013

"Just a quick note to thank you SOOO much for an absolutely brilliant day yesterday. It was so interesting, packed with information, and we both learned such a lot. The chance to taste such a great and educational array of oils along side you was invaluable."
- Stavia Blunt, Liquid Gold Products Ltd - November 1st 2012

"I enjoyed your workshop so much, it was an eye opener and has indeed helped me in distinguishing oils for our import business."
- Dutch specialist retailer - April 13th 2012

"We all enjoyed the olive tasting experience and learned a great deal. Thank you very much."
- Gary Hannam, January 20th 2012

“I have known Judy Ridgway for a number of years and more recently since we established our own olive groves at Monte Castello on Lake Garda Northern Italy. I attended the Savantes olive oil course in Seville in 2010 where she was a lecturer and expert taster, I found her knowledge and tasting ability outstanding, having spent over 40 years in the wine trade a wine maker and buyer and having completed all the trade exams including the Master of Wine course I was amazed at her tasting ability to identify not only the olive varieties but country of origin and above all quality assessment."
- Jeffrey Benson, Agricole Monte Castello

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