22 Jul POV: Politics and Wine

With Turkey occupying an ever-growing presence in US media, we want to take this opportunity to speak to what is happening, and how that relates to the Turkish wine industry. Never has there been a greater need for what we do than now. In light of recent events in Turkey, we feel that our job here in the US just got bigger and it has become more important that we support the liberal ideals of Turkish society through Turkish wine sales.

The recent terrorist attack on Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul dominated the news, and sadly it’s not the only terrorist attack in Turkey of late. I was in Istanbul when that gruesome attack happened, and will never forget the pall that it cast over one of the world’s most vibrant cities. Not surprisingly, tourism to Turkey is down severely this year, leaving the hospitality sector in very dire straights.

With recent decrees made by the Erdoğan government towards the Turkish wine industry hampering their ability to sell wine domestically, having the restaurants and cafes empty of tourists only further drives the wineries to the export market. This of course, is good for us in the US. During my last visit, it was exciting to see many producers focus on their export strategies, with US being at the top of their list for growth markets.

It would be difficult to mention Recep Tayyip Erdoğan without speaking of the attempted military coup of July 15th. Our friends and colleagues in Turkey tell us that they are optimistic that eventually the current state of emergency will be relaxed, and that for the most part, life continues for them day-to-day.

On the other hand, many reports indicate that nearly 60,000 people have been detained or fired or both from the military, judicial, education and other governmental sectors. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no impact whatsoever within the Turkish wine industry because in a nutshell, Erdoğan doesn’t mind the Turkish wine industry – he just wants it sold elsewhere, which again, is good for the US market.

We do not anticipate that these recent events will bring any disruption to the upcoming harvest or our ability to access supply. We’d like to reassure our distribution partners that we have good inventory levels in both Edison, NJ and Portland, OR going into OND. VinoRai’s commitment to our suppliers and distribution partners for growing the category Stateside has not and will not waver.

Şerefe and Cheers,
Olga Rai