The New World Discovers the Old World


28 May The New World Discovers the Old World

Did you know that the first wine, which is almost as old as humanity itself, was produced in Asia Minor?  Today, we call these lands Turkey.  Wine was an important element of daily life and trade in many ancient civilizations like Egypt, Greece and Rome.  The Hittites, to whom we owe the word “wine”, resided in Anatolia where their main agricultural products were grapes and wheat.  Thus, prosperity and fertility had always been closely related to the grape harvest in ancient times.  One of the most powerful of the Greek goddesses, Artemis, was visualized by the citizens of Ephesus as a woman with grape clusters – symbols of fertility – on her chest.  Sculptures depicting Artemis are some of the most astonishing art pieces from the Greek era.

Throughout the course of history, relations and trade between civilizations enabled viticulture and winemaking to spread across Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and other regions of the world.  However, the geography of Turkey with its mountains, plains and rivers, sustained different endemic varieties of grapes than those found elsewhere.  Even though it is hard to pronounce the Turkish names of Emir, Narince, Öküzgözü, and Kalecik Karası, winemakers produce breathtaking and exciting wines from these native varietals.

Although the lands in Anatolia had largely been dominated by Muslim emperors during the last millennium, winemaking and its culture survived.  Cappadocia, Thrace and the Aegean Coast are regions that stood out with quality winemaking during that time, with thousands of barrels of wine being exported.  In cosmopolitan cities, liquors were produced mostly by Greeks, Armenians, and Syrians, but consumed by regular people from all segments of society.  This undying love for wine had led to the emergence of a special kind of tavern that satisfied the palate: the meyhane.  This Turkish word means “wine house” and most meyhanes are actually restaurants that serve tasty Mediterranean mezes, wine or raki accompanied by live music meant to be enjoyed with friends lasting hours.

Even though it is hard to pronounce the Turkish names of Emir, Narince, Öküzgözü, and Kalecik Karası, winemakers produce breathtaking and exciting wines from these native varietals."

After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, society went through a fast modernization period which led to an increase of wine consumption in the country.  But the most significant change came after the 1980’s when the tourism sector flourished, growing rapidly, and Turkey began exporting products on a global scale.  Turkish winemakers found new opportunities for their investments to produce better quality wines.  Small family wineries evolved into modern facilities, managed by next generation who studied enology or viticulture abroad.  The local climate and soil makes the grapes grown in Thrace and Anatolia unique by taste for both indigenous and global varieties, such as Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

VinoRai is confident that Turkish wines will bring a unique new taste experience to the US market.  We also believe that fans of olive oil (people who care about their health) will enjoy Turkish wines thanks to their unmatched Mediterranean flavors.  In this blog, we will keep sharing information and stories on Turkey, Turkish wines, and Turkish cuisine. You can stay updated by following us on social media: Facebook ( and Twitter (

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome and raise a toast to our new series of Turkish wines coming from an old world far away to add new flavors to your world of savour!

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