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Wine-producing regions in Turkey

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.[1]

Ampelographers estimate that Turkey is home to between 600–1200 indigenous varieties of Vitis vinifera (the European grapevine), though less than 60 of these are grown commercially. With over 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) planted under vine, Turkey is the world's fourth-leading producer of grapes.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's first president, established the country's first commercial winery in 1925. According to the OIV, the total wine production in 2005 was 287,000 hl.[2] In the first half of 2009, wine consumption in Turkey reached 20,906,762 litres.[3]


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.[1] 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.[4] 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.[1]

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;[1] 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.[4]

Grape varieties of Turkey [5]
Region White grapes Red grapes
Marmara (Thracian) Region Clairette
Pinot Noir
Aegean Region Sémillon
Bornova Misketi
Çal Karası
Cabernet Sauvignon
Alicante Bouschet
Kalecik Karası
Sauvignon Blanc
Black Sea Region Narince Öküzgözü
Central Anatolia Region Emir
Kalecik Karası
Mediterranean Region Kabarcık
Sergi Karası
Burdur Dimriti
Eastern Anatolia Region Narince
Southeastern Anatolia Region Dökülgen
Horoz Karası
Sergi Karası


Kavaklıdere wines

As of 2008, 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 Kavaklıdere of Anatolia.[4]

Buzbağ is a full flavored red wine made from Boğazkere grapes grown in the Anatolia region of Turkey. The wine is a red wine with high tannic levels. It is sometimes produced in an ice wine fashion with the grapes allowed to hang on the vine till the first frost and then crushed while the grapes are still frozen. Historically, the area where Buzbağ is produced is considered a possible birthplace of wine.[6] The biblical accounts of Noah after the flood has him planting a vineyard near the area where the ark landed. This area is presumed to be Mt. Ararat were Buzbağ is still being produced today by the state ran vineyards of Tekel near the town of Elazığ by the Euphrates river.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d H. Johnson & J. Robinson The World Atlas of Wine pg 264-265 Mitchell Beazley Publishing 2005 ISBN 1840003324
  2. ^ Situation du Secteur Vitivinicole Mondial en 2005 (French)
  3. ^ Alkol tüketimi artıyor (Turkish)
  4. ^ a b c J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 714-715 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0198609906
  5. ^ Hayyam
  6. ^ UK Telegraph article
  7. ^ Financial Times

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