My first taste of Turkish wine
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
It was March, a typical winter day here in Antalya, when you're never quite sure what you're going to get for weather - sunny and 70F/ 23C or windy and rainy. I decided to try one of the local wines available at the market, which store I can't remember, back then there was Migros, Real, even Tesco's Turkish version. I remember the name - difficult for the foreign speaker - Büyülübağ - with all the accents and Turkish vowels. I remember, like most people I chose my wine based on price, 'let's get this one' I said. Grabbing something cheap which was at the time about 5,000,000 Turkish lira- yes that's right 5 million lira for a bottle of wine! The equivalent of about 5 dollars.
The price was unfortunately more memorable than the wine. I remember a few distinct things from drinking that and other Turkish wines 20+ years ago - most Turkish wines weren't distinct, and many weren't even good, especially buying them from random markets and from the lowest (read cheapest) shelves. But I do recall Büyülübağ being distinct enough that I purchased the bottle a few more times, at least enough that when Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around I took bottles of their red wine (Merlot? Cabernet Sauvignon? Shiraz? Who knows?) with me to a few dinners, and everyone said the same thing "that's a decent red wine for Turkey!"
Such was the time in 2001, with Turkish wines. Few producers, restrictive laws, and a primary consumer being tourists. But thankfully those tourists and the few Turkish wine aficianados kept the industry moving ahead. And today we have much to be glad for.
This site is my attempt to help promote Turkish wine to foreign tourists and help you find yet another of the many excellent things produced in this verdant land, - Turkish Wine.