One of the pioneers of indigenous Turkish wine grape varieties.
Vinkara's history is tied to the owner Ms. Ardic Gursel. While living and working outside of Turkey, she developed a passion for wine. Though Turkey is considered to be the home of wine -thanks to the Hittites from a few thousand years back, and there are considered to be more than 1200 varieties of the vitis vinifera present in Turkey today, only a few dozen are cultivated and used for grapes currently. Ms. Gursel though has championed a few of these varieties.
Vinkara's unique location in a bowl like depression NE of Ankara with the Red river (Kizilirmak Nehir) running through it provides a unique
microclimate for the growth of both resilient international varieties and the few unique Turkish wine grape varieties. The winters are cold and snowy, the summers hot but with cooler evenings. The soil has a mixture of clay, some sand, and limestone. The area receives relatively little rainfall which minimizes moisture related disease
s, but it does receive good snowfall which is very helpful for the varieties growing here.
Vinkara grows a wide range of grapes in this soil. Primarily Kalecik Karasi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Okuzgozu, Bogazkere, Narince, Emir, Reisling, and Muscat (though the last two aren't yet used for wine). The vast majority of the 200 plus acres are covered in Kalecik Karasi - the prize of this namesake area. They also receive a few excellent local
varieties from nearby vineyards - one in particular is worth finding - Hasandede - a floral, mineral present white wine.
Another thing that Ms. Gursel has pioneered is the production of traditional style sparkling wine. The range under the label Yasasin, is well worth finding. They currently make both a white and rose style of sparkling wines. Recommended!
The winery itself is consider a larger winery - they have the capacity for more than 1.4 million liters, but they have positioned themselves in the upper and upper middle category so they currently make about 1/2 of their total capacity.
Alongside their excellent production of Kalecik Karasi and the sparkling wine, they have undertaken to try to contain the biggest, most tannic Turkish wine grape- Bogazkere - and have achieved excellent results. They have a traditional style vineyard that yields high quality but low yield grapes. Notorious for its boldness, acidity, and tannins, Vinkara uses a specific French oak style barrel to age the Bogazkere wine for up to 36 months. This low yield yet very sophisticated variety is called Vinkara Azilli Bogazkere. Its not cheap but is a success.
One of the best parts of Vinkara is that as a larger boutique producer their wines is available at Migros, Macrocenter and Metro markets for travelers in Turkey.
While much more can be shared about the excellent vineyards, fine production techniques and diligence in both wine and sparkling wines. Lots more info can be learned through their excellent video they've produced which I've included below.