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Description to Turkey

The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye in Turkish) with its capital Ankara covers 783,562 km². It stretches across the two continents of Asia and Europe. The Asian part Anatolia makes up 97% of the country, the European part Eastern Thrace in the far north-west of the country only 3%, where the main part of Istanbul is located. The state borders Greece and Bulgaria to the north-west, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to the north-east, Iran to the east and Iraq and Syria to the south-east. The politically divided island of Cyprus with the Republic of Cyprus and the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus lies 70 kilometres from the south coast. The Greek islands of Chios, Kos, Symi and Rhodes lie close to the Turkish mainland in the west. Turkey is divided geographically into seven areas or regions.

Türkei - Landkarte


The country has an ancient wine-growing tradition, as there were already cultivated vineyards in Anatolia, in the Transcaucasia region (which is considered the cradle of wine culture with Mesopotamia and overlaps with it to a large extent) and on the coast of the Caspian Sea at least as early as the 4th millennium BC. During excavations in the city of Catal Hüyük, built in the 7th millennium BC, depictions were found which suggest that wine was already being produced at this time. An ancestor of the Kalecik Karasi grape variety was supposedly known to the Hittites as early as ~1,500 BC, according to a hypothesis that cannot of course be verified. According to the latest research, the origin of the cultivated grapevine and viticulture could lie in south-east Anatolia. Close to the border with Armenia lies the famous Mount Ararat, where, according to the Bible, Noah landed with his ark after the Flood and "became a winegrower", although this should not be taken as "proof".

Viticulture in modern times

The Islamisation of the country and the associated ban on alcohol led to the first turning point in viticulture in the 8th century. During the Ottoman period (1300-1920), only Christian minorities such as Greeks and Armenians were allowed to produce wine, subject to high taxes. In the Tanzimat period, viticulture was revived from the middle of the 19th century and exports rose to 30 million litres a year by the beginning of the 20th century due to the phylloxera catastrophe in Europe and the resulting shortage of wine. After large areas of land had to be ceded to Greece, among others, at the Peace of Lausanne in 1923 and the majority of the Greek minority, who were important for viticulture, left the country, there was a renewed decline.

From 1925, the new republic under the liberal-minded political leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) attempted to revitalise viticulture. Known as a wine lover, the statesman paved the way for private wineries by passing appropriate laws. In 1926, Nihat A. Kutman (+1850) founded the "Maison Vinicole" winery in Istanbul (later trading as Doluca). The next was Mehmet Cenap And in Ankara in 1929, who called his business Kavaklidere (Poplar Valley).

Vineyards & grape varieties

The most important wine-growing areas are in the Aegean region in the west of the country, where the climate is more humid than in the dry interior and where two thirds of the wine is produced. This is the European part of Turkey with the regions of Marmaris and Thrace (Bilecik, Canakkale, Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag), as well as the Aegean coast of Anatolia (Denizli, Izmir, Manisa). Smaller areas are located on the Black Sea (Corum, Kastamonu, Samsun, Tokat), in Central Anatolia (Kirikkale, Kirsehir, Nevsehir, Nigde), Eastern Anatolia (Elazig) and South-Eastern Anatolia (Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Mardin, Sanliurfa).

In 2022, the vineyards covered 410,000 hectares of vines, but the wine production volume was only 622,000 hectolitres. With around three quarters of the grape harvest, Turkey is the world's largest producer of table grapes and the second largest producer of sultanas. Both are largely produced from the Sultana (Sultaniye) variety. Traditional products made from grapes are the honey-like grape syrup Pekmes and the fermented grape juice Hardaliye. There are many hundreds of autochthonous grape varieties, many of which are not officially recognised. The vanishingly small proportion of Celtic varieties only covers around 14,000 hectares of vineyards. The top 42 grape varieties (Kym Anderson statistics):

Grape variety


Synonyms or name in Turkey


Sultana white Kishmish, Sultaniye 2.461
Öküzgözü red Kara Erik 1.601
Syrah red 1.439
Boğazkere red Bogazkarasi, Saraplik Siyah 1.436
Çalkarasi red Çal Karasi 806
Narince white Güzül Üzüm, Kazova, Narance 787
Kalecik Karasi red Kara Kalecik 704
Dimrit red Dimlit, Dimrit Kara, Dirmit Kara 704
Alicante Henri Bouschet red - 532
Sémillon white - 529
Cabernet Sauvignon red - 476
Cinsaut red - 430
Merlot red - 415
Gamay red - 228
Papazkarasi red Papaska Neagra, Papaskara, Papaskarasi 204
Chardonnay white - 177
Sauvignon Blanc white - 153
Mazuelo red Carignan 130
Muscat Blanc / Muscat white Beyaz Misket 129
Adakarasi red Adakarassy, Avsa Adasi, Erdek 89
Emir white Aküzüm 89
Cabernet Franc red - 37
Garnacha Tinta red Grenache Noir 33
Cot red Côt, Malbec 21
Petit Verdot red - 19
Sangiovese red - 18
Viognier white - 15
Pinot Noir red - 10
Monastrell red Mataro, Mourvèdre 7
Tempranillo red - 6
Beylerce white Beylace, Beyleri, Bilecik ?
Çavuş white Caus Beli, Tchaouch, Tsaousi ?
Karalahna red Kara Lahna, Lahna Kara ?
Karasakiz red Kara Sakiz, Karakiz, Karassakyz ?
Hasandede Beyazi white Ahmet Bey, Azeri, Hasandede ?
Hasandede Siyahi red Hasandede, Hasandede Noir ?
Horozkarasi red Horoz Karasi, Khorozkarassi, Kilis Karasi ?
Kabarcik Beyaz white Beyaz Kabarcik, Kabarcik, Sari Kabarcik ?
Köhnü red - ?
Kösetevek red - ?
Vasilaki white Altintas, Anadolu Yapincagi ?
Yapincak white Erkek Yapincak, Kinali Yapincak, Yapakak ?


The multi Mey Icki Sanay (former state-owned company Tekel) produces and distributes the majority of spirits and wines (owned by Diageo since 2011). Other production companies are Diren, Doluca, Karmen, Taskobirlik and Kavaklidere. Well-known branded wines are the red wines Buzbag, Villa Neva and Yakut as well as the white wines Cankaya, Thrakya (Sémillon) and Villa Doluca (Sultaniye and Sémillon). The most important alcoholic drink, however, is raki, which is made from dried grapes (almost exclusively from Tekel) and to which aniseed is added. The annual per capita consumption of wine is less than one litre. Great efforts are being made to catch up with western quality standards.

Map of Turkey: © Goruma
Source 1st paragraph: WIKIPEDIA Turkey

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