When it comes to making wine, you don’t just need good soil, but a hefty amount of sun but an impressive amount of skill in both the science and study of grapes. While we may think we know where many wines originate from, you may be shocked to find that Turkey produces approximately 8 million litres of wine annually and has over 140 vineyards.
With the first evidence of Turkey’s viticulture and vintner scene dating back almost 7,000 years, some of the oldest wine-making artefacts are found in Izmir, all dating back to before 1700 BC. Turkey has not only a talent in making fabulous wine, but it’s unsurprising to learn they have a rich wine history with some of the best vineyards and wineries in Europe.
Beginning a customary holiday tradition, the Hittite Kingdom ruled Anatolia used wine for their own consumption and religious ceremonies regulated wine-making as early as 1700 BC. This was, in fact, the case until 1200 BC, when the Hittite Kingdom fell.
Over time, the Phrygians introduced wine to the Greeks, both contributing to Turkish wine-making over the years. Because of this, Turkish wine began being exported across France and Italy.
Back in the early days of the Twentieth Century, the Ottoman Empire largely dominated wine production. Still, it wasn’t until the 1990s when government grants helped get small wineries off the ground, driving a movement of Turkish wine.
Most of the wineries and vineyards above are not prepared for impromptu visits; they are all happy to allow guests to visit and partake in tasting sessions, so be sure to book ahead.
Originally began to create natural and original Teruar Wines, established by a father and daughter choosing Arcadia’s name, it means "heaven on earth" in mythology. Located around Hamitabat Village Lüleburgaz and within the Thrace wine route. All wines are estate-bottled, and the winery is built in the centre of the vineyard. Over Arcadia Vineyards, there are at least nine different types of grapes grown there, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, to name just a few.
After being in the USA for years, Ch Kalpak’s journey began in 1991 returned to Turkey with the intent of opening up his winery and vineyard. Located within the Thrace wine route, Chateau Kalpak has been making wines for the last ten years, with their first release in 2010 earning them several awards. They only release two blends, which are the Ch Kalpak and BBK. Able to accommodate guests, this vineyard serves wine-paired appetisers as you taste the wine’s overlooking the vineyards from which they came.
This winery has been in the Çetintaş family for over three generations, and wine dating back to Ancient Greece. A part of the Thrace wine route, Melen Winery can be found Hoşköy on the North Coast of the Sea of Marmara and welcomes visitors from May to the end of October as either a group or a tour. For less than ten people, you can also book to attend the Melen Cafe in Hoşköy, where you can sample local cheeses, village bread, and the menu of the day before visiting the vineyards.
Having begun in 2004, this medium-sized vineyard produces an annual capacity of 100,000 bottles, installed on a total area of 400 square meters. Just a two-hour drive from Istanbul is where you’ll find Vino Dessera, with accommodation on-site and the chance to take tours of the vineyard, even having lunch outside, there’s plenty to see and do on your visit. In this vineyard, they grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbare D'Asti, Cabernet Franc, Alexendria Muscat, Sangiovese, and Shiraz.
Located in the Central and Eastern Anatolia wine routes and within the city of Kalecik, Vinkara winery was founded in 2003 by the Gürsel Family. Within their 200 acres, they create several wines, with several of these new and undiscovered that are shipped to the United States, such as Vinkara Kalecik Karasi and Vinkara Narince, just to name a few.
Within the Aegean Vineyards, between Izmir and the resort town of Çeşme, is the Urla Wine Route where the Urla Winery is found. Grown in these famous vineyards are the Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Nero D’Avola grapes, as well as many others. On the back door of the Urla Wine Route, where wineries and vineyards roll into one another. As their vineyards are over 6,000 years old, including the famous Urla Winery and Urlice winery, you’ll find some old wine-making tools such as storage jugs, crushing stones and even grape seeds dating back to before 1800 BC.
While vineyards are often scenic and tasting their wines are a delicious way to discover Turkish wines, it also helps to connect you to the country in which they’re made. Whichever winery you opt to visit first, visiting the many Turkish wineries and vineyards guarantee you a great trip while allowing you to gain a taste of their heart and produce.