Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tasting room at Bella Vista Ranch is closed temporarily. We will open it again when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, please remember that you can visit by appointment to purchase products or pickup.
The safety of our customers and our community is our utmost priority. We look forward to gathering with you again when it is safe to do so.
THE BELLA VISTA RANCH
100 Seconds About Us
Welcome to the Bella Vista Ranch
The Bella Vista Ranch is located in the hill country of Wimberley, Texas. Designed to reflect a traditional Italian family farm, the ranch is home to over 1,200 producing olive trees, a frantoio (olive press), a tasting room, and a gift shop. We make 100% Texan olive oil and are the first producing olive orchard in Texas!
We sell olive trees of varying sizes and ages for ornamental or home purposes. We sell 1, 3, and 15-gallon olive trees, even a few estate-sized trees; Mission, Arbequina, Lucca, Kalamata, Grappalo, and other unique varieties available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these trees.
First Texas Olive Oil Co., is headquartered at the Ranch. You can taste the grassy, peppery, and most importantly FRESH olive oil that we’ve been making here since 2001. Our olive oil is sold exclusively on this website, at our Tasting Room during tours and by appointment at our retail Ranch Store.
Texas Olive Trees Make Homegrown Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
If you don’t immediately think of olive trees and vineyards when you think of Texas ranches, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, we’re fairly sure cattle and oil fields would be the first things mentioned. It is thought that the Spanish originally brought olives to Texas in the mid 1600s. Unlike California, Texas never developed an olive agricultural industry. Probably due to the unique weather conditions that we experience during winter months.
Here at The Bella Vista Ranch, we enjoy being extraordinary—and bringing you the finest fresh-pressed domestic extra virgin olive oil that we possibly can. Remember, "We're first in the fresh olive oil business!"
We offer estate and blended fresh olive oils as well as infused olive oils and dipping oils. Our products are world-class and handcrafted. Using our frantoio (an olive mill) we produce fresh EVOO right here on our ranch. We produce a limited number of bottles of our oils each year so be sure to get a bottle or a few while our supplies last.
Planting the Seed of Texas Olive Oil Trees
The seed of The Bella Vista Ranch, so to speak, was planted when Jack Dougherty bought it, dilapidated and untouched, to bring it back to life as a working ranch. At once, Jack realized the untapped potential of the Texas Hill Country; with weather and soil similar to the Mediterranean, Jack knew that The Bella Vista had a future in Texas olives. Thus, The First Texas Olive Oil Company was born from the fruits of that delicious dream.
The First Texas Olive Oil Company harvests its crop by hand from trees that were planted on The Bella Vista Ranch in 1998. Our amazing olive pressing facility, or our “frantoio,” opened a few short years later, allowing us to press fresh olive oil every year. If you have never experienced fresh-pressed olive oil, you need to! Join our mailing list by emailing email@example.com so that you can be alerted to our upcoming events.
The EVOO is produced in the fall during the harvest. It is available at the Ranch either by customer pickup or via an online purchase on our website. We also sell a specific set of olive tree varieties for planting in landscape development and/or as a garden enhancement.
What is Bella Vista Ranch?
The Bella Vista Ranch is a family-run business, specializing in FRESH olive oil and other gourmet complementary foods. Bella Vista Ranch uses time-honored harvesting and growing methods to grow the best olives possible. In 1996 Jack Dougherty, who grew up in the orchards of Santa Clara valley and later had a career working as an executive in the computer industry, purchased a dilapidated ranch with the intention of making it a working ranch. Today it has become an agricultural destination spot.
Jack realized that Texas Hill Country soil and weather are akin to the Mediterranean, and he could not resist a stab at growing olives.
The olive trees the on Bella Vista Ranch were planted in 1998. Our retail store opened on the ranch in the year 2000, and we opened our "frantoio" (olive pressing facility) in year 2001.
Yes, you can grow olive trees in Texas! We have pressed fresh olive oil every year since 2001 and look forward to another "fruitful" pressing this Fall. If you'd like to be notified of our upcoming pressing, and get a chance to taste "fresh off the press" oil, please join our mailing list at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are passionate about high-quality, unique gourmet products. We invite you to visit our tasting room to sample our olive oil, and the other gourmet foods available.
As is typical on farms throughout Europe, Bella Vista Ranch provides the home to not only an olive orchard and mill, but to unique grape vines. The vineyard consists of two blocks, growing Sangiovese (the primitive grape of Italy) and Cabernet Franc (the primitive grape of France). Both are great varietals befitting our Texas weather. Our crop is sent to Hill Country wineries for wine production and bottling.
When you visit the ranch, you can enjoy yourself on our formal, guided tour with a close-up look at small-scale, Old World style olive oil production. The tour includes a primer on olive oil standards from around the world and a formal EVOO tasting.
Are your olive oils processed?
No, our olive oils are far from being processed. We grow our olives ourselves, pick them, and harvest them ourselves. Here at Bella Vista Ranch, we take our craft seriously. Every detail is important when creating a fresh batch of olive oil. And we’re happy to share our knowledge with you so you can learn how it’s done and why we’re so passionate about quality olive oil.
What is the difference between using olive oil and vegetable oil when cooking?
Choosing between vegetable oil and olive oil can be a difficult decision. How do you know which one to cook with and when? Which one is healthier? It really depends on certain factors, such as what you are deciding to cook. For example, when you are cooking fried foods, vegetable oil is a better alternative to olive oil. However, vegetable oil has virtually no taste. So all of your flavor must come from the recipe itself. Olive oil has a wide variety of flavors to choose from, and can add a burst of flavors to your recipe. Good olive oil can make any dish an amazing meal. Another difference is how vegetable oil and olive oil is made. Vegetable oil is made from plants, such as nuts and seeds, while olive oil is made from olives. Each oil has a different smoke point due to their ingredients. The smoke point is the temperature in which the oil begins to smoke. Vegetable oil tends to have a much higher smoke point than olive oil, which means it is often used when cooking at higher temperatures. Olive oil has a lower smoke point, therefore it is better to use when cooking at lower temperatures. If you have a very strong burner where you often have to cook on low, olive oil would be a better alternative to vegetable oil.
What are some ways I can use Bella Vista Ranch’s high quality olive oil?
Olive oil can be used to finish a variety of recipes, it can make almost any meal better. Try adding a drizzle of olive oil to finish a pasta dish or risotto. Enjoy olive oil with a nice cheese like mozzarella or burrata and crusty bread. Try drizzling olive oil over meat dishes, olive oil can be great over seared steak, roast chicken, and poached fish. Another way to serve olive oil is over roasted vegetables, hummus, creamy soups, grain bowls and open face sandwiches. Did you know that olive oil can even be used on desserts? Try drizzling a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle of flaky salt on ice cream for an unexpected but luxurious treat. Chocolate also pairs well with olive oil, try a drizzle with chocolate mousse. If you are curious about olive oil desserts look up a recipe for olive oil cake. Olive oil takes the place of butter and adds a fruity flavor and keeps the cake moist and delicious. There are many ways to use high quality olive oil. At Bella Vista Ranch we are passionate about olive oil and Would love to discuss olive oil with you, contact us today.
How many olives can one tree produce?
Arbequina Fruit (semi-dwarf), a type of olive tree, which produces highly aromatic and dark brown olives, can usually bear 30-40 pounds of fruit per year. Larger trees, such as 'Mission,' often can bear up to 100 pounds of olives per season, and the largest, 'Chemlali,' can produce a whopping ton of olives in one year!
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is different from regular oil. Refined oils have no taste or color, or bitterness. Refined oils also lack antioxidants and anti-inflammatory that extra-virgin oils have. Extra-virgin olive oil is considered un-refined, and one of the highest quality olive oils you can buy. There are even specific standards an olive oil has to meet to be labeled, "extra-virgin." Due to the way the oil is made, the taste stays pure and has low levels of oleic acid. It contains natural vitamins and minerals that can be found in the olives.
What are some health benefits of olive oil?
There are a ton of health benefits to using olive oil for cooking and eating. There is an extensive library of research by the United States National Institutes of Health on olive oil and health benefits. The polyphenol content contained in olive oil out-performs other plants. There are many anti-inflammatory agents in olive oils as well, which can aid in lowering cancer and heart disease.
Why are some olives black and others green?
All olives are green when they are young, and then when they ripen they turn black.
How should I store my olive oil?
Bella Vista Ranch olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, we recommend storing olive oil away from UV rays and light. Olive oil does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Can I substitute olive oil for butter?
Yes, olive oil is actually healthier for you than butter. Olive oil also adds a great flavor as well. In general, use 75% olive oil of the recipes suggested butter will serve.