Turkish wine

Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest known wine production dates back to 6,000 BC in the region between Armenia - Georgia - Iran. Winemaking in Anatolia has a history of thousands of years, especially the Central Anatolia is the homeland of wine. It is known that the Hattians and Hittites were engaged in viticulture and winemaking. Rock frieses showing Hittite kings offering drinks to the gods, thousands of goblets, amphorae and jugs from the Ionian period unearthed during excavations, and Cilician coins bearing bunches of grapes show how deep-rooted wine and viticulture are in these lands.

Today, the Turkish wine industry has made significant developments in recent years and has started to produce internationally recognized wines which received many awards. Quality wines are obtained by using modern technologies in the production of red, white and rose varieties made from local and foreign grape types. There has been a Renaissance perod in wine production in the country over the last 20 years. While there were 40 wine producers in Turkey in 2002, it's currently around 200 now and is gaining more and more prestige in terms of quality, quantity and awareness. The increasing product diversity, and the increase in wine exports and wine consumption in the domestic market are promising for Turkish winemaking and its economy.

In 2016, grape production is carried out on an area of approximately 435 thousand hectares in Turkey. According to 2010 data of the International Food Organization (FAO), Turkey ranks fourth in the world in terms of vineyard areas, after France, Italy and Spain. Although it is a country that produces large amounts of grapes, only 2-3 percent of Turkey's grapes are processed for winemaking. This rate is 85% in European Union countries, which varies between 70% and 95%. As of 2020, more than 4.2 million tons of grapes are produced annually in Turkey; 37% of it is for drying, 53% for table, 8% for must, molasses, vinegar etc, and 2% for wine. 75% of the annual production is consumed domestically, meaning that the Turkish viticulture sector has an inward-looking structure.

The share of five European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal), which are the traditional producers of wine, in the world market has decreased from 80% to 60% in the last 20 years. This decreasing market share has shifted to the so-called "New World" countries; USA, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Turkey produces 75 million liters of wine annually, which is way below compared to others around the world. Turkey's wine exports cannot exceed $10 million (only $6.9 million in 2020). France is $18 billion, Italy $8.4 billion, Spain $3.5 billion, Chile $2 billion, Australia $1.7 billion, USA $1.5 billion, New Zealand $1.4 billion, Germany $1.2 billion, Portugal $1.1 billion, Argentina $853 million, Georgia $240 million, and Greece $100 million.

The biggest advantage of Turkish wines is the availability of serious potential grapes unique to Turkey, such as Öküzgözü, Bogazkere, Kalecik Karasi, Çalkarasi, Narince and Emir. There is no example of these grapes in any other country. There is also Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc types. The most famous wines in the world are Petrus, Chablis, Chateau Margaux, Chianti, etc. Turkish wines cannot compete with these, yet, but it's growing. The local producers participate to international competitions in recent years, such as International Wine Challenge (IWC), Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Mundus Vini, Decanter World Wine Awards, AWC Vienna, Masters of Wine (MOW), and others.

Half of Turkey's wine production takes place in the Aegean region which has endemic grape varieties and a suitable environment for both grape growing and winemaking, thanks to its climatic characteristics and soil structure. The Region is one of the most important wine producing regions of Turkey. Besides traditional wines, Sirince village in Izmir province, famous for its historical and natural beauties, traditional Turkish houses, narrow streets and unique atmosphere, is also known for its fruit wines. Some of significant wine production areas in the country are; Thrace, Denizli, Izmir, Manisa, Çanakkale, Bozcaada, Cappadocia, Tokat, Elazig, Ankara, and Diyarbakir.

Main grape varieties used in Turkish wine production

  • Red Grape Varieties
    • Bogazkere: grown in the Southeastern Anatolia Region
    • Öküzgözü: grown in the Southeastern Anatolia Region
    • Kalecik Karasi: grown in the Kalecik district of Ankara
    • Çalkarasi: grown in the Marmara Region, especially in provinces such as Tekirdag and Canakkale
    • Karasakiz: grown in the Marmara and Aegean Regions
    • Papazkarasi: grown in the Aegean Region, especially in provinces such as Denizli, Manisa and Izmir

  • White Grape Varieties
    • Narince: grown in Tokat province
    • Emir: grown in Cappadocia area
    • Sultaniye: grown in the Aegean Region.
    • Bornova Misketi: grown in Bornova district of Izmir
    • Hasandede: common especially in Izmir and Manisa provinces
    • Yapincak: grown in the Marmara Region, especially in Tekirdag and Canakkale provinces

Most known Vineyards in Turkey are;
  • Pasaeli
  • Prodom
  • Sarafin
  • Selendi
  • Sevilen
  • Suvla
  • Tasköy Winery
  • Tomurcukbag
  • Turasan
  • Uluca Vineyard
  • Umurbey
  • Urla Winery
  • Urlice
  • USCA Winery
  • Vinkara
  • Vino Dessera
  • Vintura
  • Yazgan
  • Yedibilgeler

Main Turkish wine producers are;
  • Arcadia
  • Barbare
  • Barel
  • Cezz
  • Chamlija
  • Chateau Kalecik
  • Chateau Kalpak
  • Chateau Nuzun
  • Corvus
  • Diren
  • Doluca
  • Gali
  • Gemici
  • Gordias
  • Gülor
  • Karbag
  • Kastro-Tireli
  • Kavaklidere
  • Kocabag
  • Küp Winery
  • LA Wines
  • Likya
  • Melen
  • Nif