A brief history of winemaking in Turkey

While the names of the first vintners are lost to history, a wealth of archaeological evidence, along with many written records, indicate Turkey and neighboring Mesopotamia as the birthplace of wine 6,000 – 8,000 years ago. The first written historical record of winemaking in the region is found in the Nippur tablets, which are among the world's oldest written documents, dating back to 3,800 BC.


In 1927, the production of all alcoholic beverages, including wine, was nationalized with the intention to protect and develop wine production. But without the competition that is a natural result of private industry, the quality of Turkish wines by Western standards suffered.


In the early 21st Century, Turkey passed legislation that put the wine and spirits industry back in private hands. In the few years since, the combined influences of foreign investment, an influx of experienced wine professionals and open‐market competition have vastly improved wines from both heritage and vinifera grapes, to the extent that they can once again compete in export markets.



Öküzgözü (OH‐koo‐go‐zoo) and Boğazkere (bo‐OZ‐ker‐ay) grapes are native to the Elazığ (El‐uh‐zah) and Diyarbakır (die‐YAR‐buh‐kir) respectively, Province in Southeastern Turkey, near the Tigris River. While the precise origin of these grapes is unknown, they have been cultivated for thousands of years. Along with other indigenous grape varieties, these two have been the "workhorses" of the Turkish wine industry for millennia.



Lead winemaker, Daniel O'Donnell, has worked—or is currently working in–Chile, Spain, Italy, France, California, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Bulgaria and China.


"In regard to terroir, Turkey has vast and differentiated soil structures and climatic attitudes, some more suited than others for the growing of grapes that make quality wines. Tradition plays a large part of wines and winegrowing everywhere in the world. Turkey offers a proud heritage and native varieties that deserve attention."


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