/A Brief Guide to Turkish Wines

A Brief Guide to Turkish Wines


Although other alcoholic beverages like rakı and beer are more widely consumed, Turkey does produce some great wines and ranks sixth overall in world grape production. Most of the vineyards are located in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Central Anatolian regions. Around 1,200 varieties of grapes flourish in the fertile soil of these areas. Due to the high taxes imposed on wine, and accompanying high prices, quality wine is primarily consumed by the well-to-do in Istanbul, Ankara, and along the Aegean coast (especially white wines in the summer). About 20% of Turkish wine is exported to the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkish wines fall into three main categories: those made with local varietals, those made with international varietals, and those that blend the two.

-Native grapes (red/kırmızı): Öküzgözü, Kalecik Karası, Çalkarası, Boğazkere

-Native grapes (white/beyaz): Narince, Sultaniye, Emir, Kabarcık

-International grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, Savignon Blanc, Semillion, Riesling

Some producers to look for include: Chateau Kalecik, Kavaklıdere , Sarafin, Villa Doluca, and Corvus.

You can try some of these wines in Istanbul wine shops and wine bars like:
La Cave
Çagdas Gida
Ithalat Pazarlama Ltd. Sti.
Siraselviler Cad. No:207
Cihangir / Beyoglu

Hamalbasi Caddesi No. 256

Şarabı Wine Bar
174 Istiklal Caddesi

2016-01-09T13:33:01+00:00 September 13th, 2009|Categories: Istanbul, Wine & Spirits|10 Comments


  1. Peter @ italyMONDO! September 14, 2009 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Is their red or white more noted?

  2. nan mc September 14, 2009 at 11:52 am - Reply

    1200 varieties? That’s astounding.

    How would you compare them with some of the better known Italian wines, for example (speaking broadly, of course)?

  3. Katie September 14, 2009 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Reds are more widely consumed and considered more prestigious

  4. Steven September 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Corvus is really good stuff. It’s considered by many to be the best Turkish wine. I was told that it was served to Obama during his visit earlier this year.

  5. Steven September 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    @Katie I was on Bozcaada during April and enjoyed Çamlıbağ as well, particularly the 2005 cab. The man at the local shop told me that you can’t get any of it off the island. Also, I would recommend staying at Rengigül B&B when you visit. One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. Quaint place, too.

  6. Katie September 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    @nan mc i would draw a connection between turkish wines and sicilian wines, in that both industries tended towards mass production, then changed gears to capitalize on native varietals blended with international grapes.

    @Steven Corvus is my absolute favorite. Resit Soley is doing some outstanding things in Bozcaada. I just cant wait to get over there!

  7. CanM September 14, 2009 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Doluca’s KARMA line is probably still some of the best commercially available wine in Turkiye, (Shiraz/Bogazkere blend is exceptionally good).
    Corvus is great too, but the better bottles tend to be unaffordable. (I have a bottle of Blend No.2, and just due to the price alone it won’t be opened for a long time.)

  8. Katie September 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    @Steven thanks for the advice. i plan to visit next summer, though i would have loved to be around for the harvest this year.

    @CanM i remember us talking about that bottle. i miss eating liver with you. come to istanbul with your mom in november!!!

  9. Diana Strinati Baur September 15, 2009 at 7:41 am - Reply

    While I lived in Germany, we did try several Turkish wines. My memory confirms Katie’s notion that at that time (the nineties) Turkish producers were geared toward mass production and quality was secondary. I also found that in talking to Turkish friends, there was at the time definitely a bit of a conflict in the society itself since Turkey, while having complete separation of church and state, has a population which is over 90 percent Islamic and hence does not officially drink alcohol.

    I would like to try tome of the better Turkish blends now and see how they compare to my memory.

  10. Travellious.com October 8, 2009 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Tweetup in Rome…

    Image: aghman.

    Last Saturday (May 24, 2009) we hosted a dinner in Garbatella for travel bloggers, food lovers and friends. We got to taste some great artisanal Italian food and wine, and got to meet some of our favorite twitterers at the same time….

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