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Wines from Turkey

With one of the Most Ancient Wine Histories

Turkey, which is located on the peninsula of Anatolia, is found to be the fourth largest cultivator of grapes in the world.

It would be surprising for most of you to know this country started producing wine some six thousand years ago itself. So, obviously, wine is not a new term in the country.

The wines that are being produced in Turkey are referred to as Turkish wines. So, why the wines of Turkey are not as popular as French and Italian wines?

This is primarily because Turkey is a Muslim and hence, the use of alcohol is quite limited.

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Now, let’s see what this country has got for the wine lovers from around the world here…

A Quick Look at the History of Winemaking in Turkey

As mentioned above, Turkey has a long winemaking history that can be dated back to 4000 B.C. Some wine historians even believe that vine cultivation and wine production have been originated in this part of the planet.

In spite of the long history of winemaking (one of the most ancient wine histories), the country’s modern wine industry is found to be still younger.

It’s because the country’s wine production was resumed only during the year 1925 as an indication of Turkey’s modernization and westernization.

It was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic who established the oldest winery in the country. This winery is still under operation.

Climate and Topography of Turkey in relation to Viticulture

The country is located between the popular deserts of Arabia and the mighty seas of Europe. This trans-continental placement of Turkey is giving the country significant climatic differences within its boundaries.

As such, the coastal regions of the west are found to be experiencing a temperate Mediterranean type of climate with hot and dry summers and mild and wet winters.

On the other hand, the northern parts are found to have significantly higher levels of humidity in summers and the winters are found to be colder.

In the interior parts of the country, the climate is found to be continental. All these together would mean a greater degree of diurnal temperature differences, which offers a wealth of diversity in terroirs.

Therefore, we could say the country’s climate is a boom to vignerons of Turkey. Topographically, the country is found to be mountainous as a result of complex tectonics.

Almost 40% of the country’s wine activities are taking place in Thrace along the Marmara Sea.
Another 20% of wine production is found to be taking place along the Aegean coast.

All these regions are primarily experiencing a Mediterranean type of climate.

It’s to be mentioned here that much of Turkey is remaining uncharted for viticulture. If proper exploration is done, the country will soon have a larger wine industry.

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Wines and Wine Grapes of Turkey

It has been estimated by the Ampelographers that the country is home to around 600 to 1200 indigenous grape varieties, which is why I mentioned that the country as one of the largest cultivators of grapes.

With more than 6,100 square kilometres under vine cultivation, the country stands fourth as the world’s largest vine cultivator.

However, only 60 varieties of grapes are commercially grown at present. As such, the most popular indigenous grape varieties are:

  • Yapıncak
  • Papazkarası
  • Sultaniye
  • Öküzgözü
  • Boğazkere
  • Çalkarası
  • Kalecik Karası
  • Narince
  • Emir

Although the above indigenous varieties are playing an important role in Turkish wine industry, the modern winemaking is found to be employing a mix of local grapes and imported varieties.

As such, the wine portfolio of Turkey is including the following international varieties:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Cinsaut
  • Grenache

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Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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