Turkish wine

Turkish wine is wine made in the transcontinental Eurasian country of Turkey. Along with the Caucasus countries of Georgia and Armenia, Turkey played a pivotal role in the early history of wine and may have been one of the earliest wine-producing regions. H. Johnson & J. Robinson "The World Atlas of Wine" pg 264-265 Mitchell Beazley Publishing 2005 ISBN 1840003324 ]

Ampelographers estimate that Turkey is home to between 600-1200 indigenous varieties of "Vitis vinifera" (the European grapevine), though less then 60 of these are grown commercially. With over convert|1500000|acre|km2 planted under vine, Turkey is the world's fourth-leading producer of grapes. However, the vast majority of these grapes (nearly 97%) are used as table grapes and in raisin production rather than in producing wine. This is partly due to Turkey's history as a predominantly Muslim region; the consumption of alcohol is forbidden under the Islamic dietary laws. The westernization of the 20th century saw a renewed interest in wine production with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's first president, establishing the country's first commercial winery in 1925. By 2002, Turkish wineries were producing 330,000 hectoliter (140,000 hogshead) of wine annually. J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 714-715 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0198609906 ]

Climate and wine regions

The size and geography of Turkey accounts for the wide climatic variation of Turkey's wine regions. The wine regions of Thrace along the Sea of Marmara have slight Mediterranean climates that resembles those of neighboring southwest Bulgaria and northeast Greece. This area is responsible for nearly 40% of Turkey's wine production. The wine regions along the Aegean coast, mostly near İzmir, account for 20% of the country's wine production, and have much more pronounced Mediterranean climates with mild winters and warm, dry summers. The remaining portion of Turkey's wine production takes place in scattered pockets throughout the Eastern and Central Anatolia regions. The region of Central Anatolia is the most climatically difficult region to produce wine, with most vineyards being located at altitudes near 1,250 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level. Winter frost is a serious viticultural hazard, with winter temperatures often dropping to −25 °C (−13 °F). In the summer, grapes of this region can receive up to 12 hours of sunshine a day. The vineyards of Eastern Anatolia around Elazığ, Malatya and Diyarbakır are located in the Euphrates valley, which is one of the world's oldest wine regions and the anecdotal location of Noah's vineyards from the 9th chapter of Genesis.

Grapes and wine

With between 600 to 1200 indigenous grape varieties, there are numerous options that Turkish winemakers can pursue to make wine. Currently only 60 varieties are commercially cultivated. Some of the native Turkish varieties include the Yapıncak and Papazkarası grown in Thrace; the Sultaniye of the Aegean coast; the Öküzgözü and Boğazkere (used to make Buzbağ) of Eastern Anatolia; the Çalkarası of the Denizli Province in Western Anatolia, and the Kalecik Karası, Narince and Emir of Central Anatolia. In recent years, some of the international grape varieties have increased their presence, including Sémillon (known as Trakya), Riesling, Muscat, Gamay, Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


The largest winery of Turkey is operated by Tekel, which started as a state-owned monopoly. Other notable wineries include Sarafin on the Gallipoli peninsula in Thrace, which was Turkey's first privately-owned "boutique winery", Doluca of Thrace and Kavaklidere of Anatolia.


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