08 Sep Turkish Wine Producer, Gali, Demonstrates Commitment to U.S. Market – Makes First Market Visit to Seattle

Meet Nilgun Kavur.

Nilgun, along with her husband Hakan, are the proud and charming owners of Gali estate, named after the beautiful Gallipoli peninsula located in the European part of Turkey. Gali is a boutique and premium wine producer in VinoRai’s portfolio and represents the Turkish wine renaissance with their quality forward focus (you can read more about Gali on our site here).

Gali meets wine buyers from top Seattle restaurants

Earlier in August, VinoRai welcomed our second wine producer from Turkey, Nilgun, as she visited Seattle to learn and witness first hand the progress of their Gali blend and other Turkish wines. In preparation of Gali’s maiden trip, the team at VinoRai organized a 2-day packed itinerary.

With Turkish wines being a new category, we were keen to introduce Nilgun to the owners and wine buyers/sommeliers of several local retailers and restaurants serving their 2010 Gali Blend. We wanted to make sure that Nilgun got the opportunity to hear market feedback directly as well as understand the market dynamics on the adoption of Turkish wines in the U.S.

The whirlwind 2 days included back-to-back meetings with wine buyers from restaurants that included Shanik, Cichetti, re:public, Miller’s Guild, Toulouse Petit, Barrel Thief, and Bar Ferdinand. These were all highly productive meetings with critical takeaways for both Gali & the wine buyers. While on one hand it was welcoming for Nilgun to hear the overall positive reception of the Gali Blend, it was also equally constructive hearing about how price sensitive U.S. consumers can be toward premium wines from emerging regions.

L to R: Morgan (Shanik), Olga (VinoRai), Nilgun

L to R: Morgan Phillips (Shanik), Olga (VinoRai), Nilgun

With Cheryl Olmstead (Cichetti)

With Cheryl Olmstead (Cichetti)

With Jake Kosseff (Miller's Guild)

With Jake Kosseff (Miller’s Guild)

With Chris Yamka (Toulouse Petit)

With Chris Yamka (Toulouse Petit)

With Chris Gronbeck (Barrel Thief)

L to R: Chris Gronbeck (Barrel Thief), Yasmin (our intern) & Nilgun

With Marc Papineau (Bar Ferd'nand)

With Marc Papineau (Bar Ferd’nand)

At each meeting it was also encouraging to the wine buyers hearing Gali’s repeated commitment to their traditional and quality-first approach to natural wine production methods. Nilgun’s eagerness to introducing top grade Turkish wines to U.S. wine lovers was clearly evident and therefore unsurprisingly welcomed by the wine buyers.

In anticipation of future vintages and varietals, Nilgun also brought along 3 yet-to-be-released wine samples which were also well received: 2011 Gali Blend (Merlot and Cab Franc) non-oaked, 2011 Gali Evreshe Bordeaux blend non-oaked, and 2011 Merlot. We can’t wait for these to hit the glass pour lists over the next few months!

Gali meets wine distributors, retailers & other key prospects

Aside from meeting wine buyers from key restaurant accounts, we also ensured Nilgun met other key players in the Seattle market. Nilgun got to meet Samantha Agee over lunch at Sitka & Spruce. Sam is the owner of A&B Imports and is also VinoRai’s distributor in Washington state. Sam shared some of her deep industry insights on the success of other wine regions and offered interesting thoughts on how Turkish wine makers can collaborate in marketing their wines to the U.S. market.

Nilgun with Sam Agee from A7B Imports

With Sam Agee (A&B Imports) over lunch @ Sitka & Spruce

Nilgun also had the chance to meet with Jan Martindale, owner of West Seattle Cellars that currently sell some of our Turkish imports.

From L to R: Yasmin (our intern), Jan (West Seattle Cellars), Nilgun

From L to R: Yasmin (our intern), Jan (West Seattle Cellars), Nilgun

Sprinkled among all these meetings were quick dashes to few key prospect accounts including Steven from Wholefoods at Bellevue. Among other Turkish wines that VinoRai imports, Gali is on the approved wine list at Wholefoods.

Nilgun also had the chance to meet with Recep Demir, Commercial Attaché to the Consulate General of Turkey, over dinner. Recep has been an important advocate and partner with VinoRai in promoting Turkish wines in the Seattle market.

Even with such a packed schedule, we made sure to carve time for Nilgun to enjoy some of the Seattle sights as well as trying some of our local Pacific Northwest wines!

Gali looks forward to continue supplying Turkish wines to U.S. consumers

Nilgun’s market visit is yet another sign of Turkish winemakers’ commitment in serving the U.S. market with top quality Turkish wines. In Nilgun’s words, “Gali is thrilled that our wines have finally entered the U.S. market. This is just the beginning and we are confident that U.S. wine lovers will appreciate and accept our wines. We continue to look forward to partnering with VinoRai helping us bring our wines to U.S. consumers”.

With the encouraging reception that Turkish wines have received thus far including Gali, we’re looking forward to more visits from other Turkish wine makers.

A big shout out and thanks to the following folks who took the time and participated in this market visit. Your continued support in promoting #TurkishWines is greatly appreciated.

Sam Agee, A&B Imports
Jan Martindale, West Seattle Cellars
Cheryl Olmstead & Salomon Navarro, Cichetti
Morgan Phillips, Shanik
Jake Kosseff, Miller’s Guild
Chris Yamka, Toulouse Petit
Chris Gronbeck, Barrel Thief
Marc Papineau, Bar Ferd’nand
Steven, Wholefoods at Bellevue
Recep Demir, Seattle Commercial Attaché (Consulate General of Turkey)