Quality awareness,
Reliability and Innovation Capacity


The team consists of us, the Swiss Bernhard and Zehnder families, and seven employees. Like us, they are constantly working to ensure the success of our strategy which has been in place for over a decade now: "Organic olive oil! - as delicately as possible". Together we handle all fields of work, namely the agriculture, the oil mill and the office. Also part of the family are: Susanne Mäder-Zehnder who established the species-appropriate cattle farming on our farm in 2002, her husband Ralph Mäder, co-owner of Risca Grande Lda. and their two sons.

Andreas Bernhard
Managing Director
Alfred Zehnder
Managing Director
Doris Bernhard
Laura Hillerich-Zehnder
Samuel Bernhard
Production Manager
  • Olive growing

    in harmony with nature
  • Traditional olive varieties

    At Risca Grande, we manage approximately 220 ha. Over 35,000 olive trees grow on 170 ha, some of which are up to 800 years old. In our groves we focus on Portuguese olive varieties: Cobrançosa, Galega Vulgar, Cordovil, Galega Grada de Serpa, Gamenha, Verdeal, Carrasquenha, Mançanilha. Besides this, we also grow lemons, limes, tangerines, herbs and spices ourselves to Demeter standards and quality. A small herd of cows also live at Risca Grande.
  • Great care for the soil

    The goal of our cultivation methods is to promote soil fertility. Because: A balanced and rich soil has a positive effect on the intensity of the flavors of olive oil. The vegetation between the rows of trees is mulched three times a year, that is, mowed, chopped and spread under the trees. Thus the soil is protected against erosion. At the same time the plant cover protects against dehydration and promotes soil life.
  • Compost for nutrients

    Dung and olive-pomace are the ingredients of our home-produced bio-dynamic compost for gentle fertilisation and soil fertility maintenance of our olive groves. When the olive trees form new shoots and leaves in the spring, and once they show the first flowers, it is time to protect them from pests or disease. Only this way can the growth of healthy olives be secured.
  • Days of heat and beneficial organisms

    The olive fruit fly uses olives for its egg laying. However, its development is inhibited at high temperatures. Although the Summer heat of Alentejo is difficult to endure for Humans and plants, at the same time it reduces the risk of an infestation of the olives. It is our desire to use farming methods which are as close as possible to nature. Already today there is no cultivation of the areas of biodiversity. We are currently investing in hedges that offer beneficial organisms another habitat.
  • Harvest

    High season at Olival da Risca
  • Each Year

    Our olive harvest takes place from late October to late December. For the harvest, we use a modern machine which is gentle on the trees and the fruit. With the use of a shaker mounted to the tractor, the olives are shaken to fall on nets which are laid out under the rows of trees.
  • Handmade for an olive oil rarity

    The old trees - special specimens - with their knobby trunks and large crowns are harvested more labor-intensively by hand. They are also less productive than the trees of younger plantations. From the olives of these centuries-old trees we produce our 'Olival da Risca Antique'.
  • Optimal level of ripeness

    The ripeness of the olives is crucial for the development of the three positive tasting criteria of an olive oil - fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. When the olives begin to change colour from green to violet the best results can be expected.
  • Diligence during harvest

    The health of the olives is another important factor for the quality of the oil. We carefully make an effortatharvest that early fruits which have already fallen to the ground are kept out of the production process. The harvested olives are picked in the grove several times a day. So they arrive within a few hours to our oil mill without any intermediate storage.
  • Processing

    The highest standards for the best olive oil
  • A very expeditious processing

    A unique selling proposition of our oil mill located directly on the estate is that we process exclusively homegrown Demeter-olives. All of olive groves belonging to the family company are located within five kilometers of the oil mill. These short transport distances allow us to produce, with the highest level of preservation, an extra virgin olive oil out of the fresh olives from the field, in less than four hours after harvest.
  • Modern olive oil production

    The oil mill is equipped with modern processing machinery, which does not contain any materials with softening agents. The directly supplied olives are first cleaned in several stages. In the first step the leaves and branches that fall during the olive harvest are removed with a blower. Subsequently, the olives are washed. The olives are crushed in a knife mill, and then the olive paste is kneaded in order to extract the olive oil.
  • A delicate stream of olive oil

    First of all, the olive oil contained in the pulp is separated with a centrifuge. Immediately after the separation of the oil, it is gently filtered through cellulose filters to remove remaining crop residues. The oil is then stored until bottling in large stainless steel tanks in our air-conditioned warehouse.
  • All from one source

    It is important for us to bottle our production ourselves in our modern bottling facility. Thus, the entire process from the growth of the crop to the olive oil production is in our hands. Only because the whole production process takes place at Risca Grande, can we guarantee compliance with the highest quality standards.
Milestones of a
Successful History
Acquisition of the
RISCA GRANDE olive grove
Organic certification
of the crop area
The bottles of the first olive harvest
in November still fit in Bernhards'
private car
Construction of the
current oil mill building
Planting young plantations
on soils previously used as
arable land
Foundation of the RISCA GRANDE Lda.
Conversion to Biodynamic farming according to Demeter guidelines
BRG-GSFS Certification
Crop losses of 50%
from drought
Enlargement of olive orchard
by 27 ha
Own ecologic
power generation
Remodelling of the oil mill with a foot print of approx. 1,500 m2 and a semi-automatic filling machine
Construction of a 6 km long water
line to the irrigation system
of the Alqueva dam
Enlargement of the
harvest area by 60 ha
Establishment of the subsidiary
Citrolivo, Lda. company

Relaunch of the brand to
“Olival da Risca”
The IFS Food certification guarantees compliance with the strictest food safety and quality standards
Olive oils
Special olive oils
Olival da Riscain person

Monte Novo da Fonte Corcho, Sta. Iría - Apartado 89 - 7830-304 Serpa - Portugal
TEL 00351-284544654 - MAIL info@olivaldarisca.com
VAT-N.: PT-507826973
Guided visits
Due to alteration works in our oil mill, guided visits to the oil mill are not possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

Opening hours and farm gate sale:
Monday-Friday, 8h-13h / 14-17h.
Feedback here
Legal information
Legal information
Risca Grande, Lda.
Monte Novo da Fonte Corcho, Sta. Iría
P.O. Box 89
7830-304 Serpa, Portugal

Represented by:
Andreas Kurt Bernhard, Alfred Zehnder

Telephone: 00351284544654
Telefax: 00351284544654
E-Mail: info@riscagrande.com

Register entry:
Registered in the Commercial Register.
Commercial Register Office: Beja
Registration Number: 507826973

VAT-N. according to the VAT-legislation:

Responsible for the content:
Laura Hillerich-Zehnder

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Pequenos Investimentos na Transformação e Comercialização de Produtos Agrícola, Nº Projecto 3553

Internacionalização - Reforçar a presença, a marca e a competitividade nos mercados internacionais Nº Projecto ALT20-01-0752-FEDER-012946