The wine culture

of Turkey

Türkische Weinkultur
If Noah truely was the first winegrower in human history and thus invented viticulture, as the Bible claims, still remains unproven - and also if his ark actually landed on Mount Ararat. According to the Koran and international researchers, Noah stranded on a mountain called Cudi. This mountain lies in south-eastern Anatolia in the former land of Ararat. And now it is the triangle of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. This in fact could be interesting. Not too far away, excavations in Çayönü and Nevalı Çori have discovered heaps of grape seeds in containers, which in fact scientifically prove the be part of the first wine production in the period 7250 - 6750 BC. According to archaeological research and pictorial representations of wine production these seeds date back to the fifth millennium BC.
Funde der Hethiter
Further discoveries prove that the Hittites near the border to today's Iraq produced wine from the grape variety Kalecik Karasi. Wgile they ruled this region from 1650 to 1200 B.C, viticulture flourished. The development wen so well that they even named a town after it: Wiyanawanda (wiyana: wine, vine; wanda: belonging), which is today's Oinoanda. The Hittite court official Gal Geštin, often mentioned wine in his hieroglyphic documents as a "superior baverage". He beacme a wine minister and eventually even enjoyed a higher dignity than the highest military rank. Anatolian wine was considered to be high quality in ancient times and was traded for high prices.
In the course of many centuries many rulers came and went - the demand of wine remained and was a valuable good while trading with other nations. But when Ottoman invaders conqoured the Byzantine territories, viticulture declined more and more. And at last the ancient wine culture ended with the Byzantine Empire after the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The grapes were almost exclusively processed into sultanas. Only a few non-Muslim minorities such as Armenians, Greeks or Jews were allowed to produce or consume wine.
Türkische Streitmacht
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
It was not until Atatürk came to power in 1923 separating religion from the state and reforming the country fundamentally, when viticulture was revived on a larger scale. Atatürk himself was a wine lover and promoted the establishment of private wineries. But from 1960 to 1980, phylloxera, the continuing rural exodus and a large wave of emigration led to a severe crisis in viticulture. And therefore many areas were no longer cultivated.
Since the 1980s, however, the quantity and quality of Turkish wine has been steadily increasing. The country is the sixth largest grape producer in the world, from which only three percent is used to produce wine. Many farmers do not give their harvest to winegrowers for religious reasons. The wines are mainly consumed in their own country and especially from countless tourists. Only small quantities remain for the export and about 25% of the grapes will be used and distilled into raki..
Weinbau in der Türkei
kleine Türkische Winzer
The situation in the Turkish wine sector is divided: On the one hand, there are rapid development in recent years. Many new wineries have emerged, investing in the latest technology and producing wines with higher quality. In the past two years, Turkish wines have been awarded with more than 500 international prizes. On the other hand, the Turkish wine industry is experiencing difficult times, since the religious-conservative AKP government, which has been in power for several years, is putting massive pressure on winegrowers and is conducting an open campaign against alcohol. Fortunetely, the Turkish wine industry is supported by the Ministry of Tourism.
A few large wineries dominate the scene - they are also responsible for the remarkable rise in quality in recent years. A number of small wineries were created, which are motivated by the success of other wineries, and are often following the example of French wineries. Currently there are about 100 wineries in Turkey. Most of them are relatively small, but are known for very expressive wines, which surprise all kinds of professionals. The amount of grape varieties is almost unmanageable, since they have apart from the international varieties numerous autochthonous verieties, which are often not even officially registered. In Addtion, the climatic conditions in the Turkish wine-growing regions are very different depending on the location and altitude..
moderne turkish wineries
Nord Türkei
The two wine regions Thrace (the European part of Turkey, bordering Bulgaria in the north and Greece in the west) and Marmara in the south build the pillars of the Turkish wine industry - with the cultivation of about 40% of all red and white grapes of the country. In addition to local varieties, many international varieties are cultivated as well including Cinsault, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Clairette Blanche, Riesling and Semillon. About 20% of Turkish wines are produced in the coastal area of the Anatolian Aegean. The regions around İzmir, Manisa and Denizli mainly produce red wines. However, the local vine Calkarasi is often used in combination with Grenache, Carignan, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The white wines are mainly made out of Sémillon. On the Black Sea coast, which is the original home of wine, and in the north of the country are smaller wine-growing areas, which are known for the quality. These areas often focuse on autochthonous grape varieties such as Dimrit, Sergikarası (red) and Narine (white). The vines are traditionally grown and turned it wines with a fruity own unique character..
Semilion in Turkey
Central Anatolia
Central Anatolia has a continental climate with very dry, hot summer months and extremely cold winters. Due to these conditions, wine is only produced in small quantities, from unknown local grape varieties as well as from Syrah. In the south of Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast, viticulture has so far played only a minor role, since they grow only table grapes. Only a few native and international varieties are cultivated in this region and processed into wine. These wines remain in the region and are particularly consumed by tourists.
Eastern Anatolia does no longer benefit from the favourable climate of the oceans - Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Iraq are their neighbours. In winter, temperatures can drop below -20 degrees - a special challenge for every winegrower. There is a great variety in this area: besides many autochthonous grape varieties they also cultivate Pinot Noir, Grenache and Riesling. Most of the wines are consumed by themselves or transported to the rourist regions. In aspect of the great potential of this reagion, we all hope that Turkey will find its way back to what it once was regarding wine production.
Eastern Anatolia
Text researched and developed by Charlotte Münch. © Copyright & all other rights and/or licenses of texts on weinstore24 belong to