The Urla Vineyard Trail (Urla Bağ Yolu)
The Closest Wine Route to Izmir - Just a 30 min Drive west from Downtown Izmir or the Izmir Airport (ADB)
The Urla peninsula sticking out westward from Izmir into the Aegean sea has been the home to outstanding wines since at least the Roman Empire. During those days their excellent wines were yet another victim of Domitian's decree to destroy vineyards and replace them with grain. This was a similar culture shift that happened in the early 20th century when population transition in the area saw many vineyards replaced.
The vast majority of Turkey's vineyards and grapes are grown within a hundred or so kilometers of Izmir. The moderate winters and hot but not overpowering summers are a wonderful climate for grapes. Especially the bold reds and the very distinctly flavorful Bornova Misket - a white wine you must try.
Most of the wineries along the Urla Vineyard Road were established in the late 90's and early 2000's. So the vines are getting to be pretty diverse, with deeping roots and more experience among the winemakers. Plus the young, hip, energetic populace of Izmir have kept the area growing and developing notable restaurants.
This wine route is Turkey's Aegean/Mediterranean wine culture route. Again, like the Thrace Wine Road, most of the producers here are second career people having excelled at business in some other industry (technology and law) and have made significant investment in very nice facilities including tasting rooms, gardens, hotels, restaurants etc. This area like Thrace is built on the economic success of Turkey over the last 20 years. There are 9 current winery members of the Urla Vineyard
The Aegean sea plays a big part in this region - Alacati just a few minutes down the road is world renowned for the ever present wind making it a center for windsurfing. That same breeze keeps the heat at bay in the summer and allows a great climate for bold red wines that want lots of sun. Summer days are hot, but the evenings are more mild, and winters are mild compared to other regions of Turkey that can see snow.
The 10 members of the Urla Wine Trail as you might visit them coming from Izmir (driving East to West) would be: MMG Şarapcılık, Limantepe Şarapcılık, Urlice Vineyards, Mozaik Şarapcılık Winery, USCA Şarapcılık, Çakır Winery & Vineyard, HUS Şarapcılık, Urla Şarapcılık, Ikidenizarasi Şarapcılık, and Perdix Şarapcılık.
This region is best visited in at least 3 days, not because of the distance - you can literally drive between the 10 wineries in about 50 mins - but because there are so many nice wines, restaurants and places to visit.. There are excellent winery hotels serving you during this time.
Here's a provocative video that shows you the Urla Wine Trail. For more details on each of the wineries see my Turkish wineries section of my blog.