How sustainable is Turkish wine industry?


I examined the 2017 wine data for Turkey. Net wine production + import – export = 66 m litres. We were talking about 1 litre of consumption per person. Now it seems, this figure is much lower. If we think that 40 million tourists come to the country, perhaps consumption by the Turkish people will fall to 200 ml per person?

It is not possible to find the net vineyard figures. However, assuming a roughly maximum of 2.5% of 517000 ha of vineyard area is used for wine making, we can say that there is around 12000 ha of vineyards for wine production in Turkey. This clearly shows how far behind the Turkish wine is in the world rankings. I still do not understand why there is still no data regarding which varieties are grown where and in what surface area. But is there any scientific explanation to this handicap? How can you track change, development /regression unless this data is available?

The report published by the Tobacco and Alcohol division of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock also mentions that there are 202 wine producers registered in Turkey now. This clearly shows a good figure and increase. But is the Turkish wine industry sustainable? If not, what can be done?

I have been thinking about geographical marking for a long time that this is the most important issue for Turkey. If protectionist policies are governed by laws, the most basic stones for a sound and healthy wine sector will be laid. But when I look into developed and emerging markets and compare the situation with Turkey, I see that the most important work to be done before anything, is in fact raise the public interest in wine and the wine consumption by those living in those regions. The two most important regions in Turkey in terms of wine production are Thrace and the Aegean. In both of these, the public has an affinity for wine, but I see that there are big gaps between the consumer and the production.

There is no publicity / marketing organisation almost anywhere. The wine shops in total in both of these regions do not exceed ten. It is the same things for wine hotels, probably no more than five. Boutique wine shops are institutional in that and have a very important responsibility in the field of promotion. The regional wine promotions can be carried out by them in the most effective way. However I don’t see any activity done by these shops. Despite all the difficulties that the producers face in the current climate in Turkey, it is absolutely necessary to offer local promotion in this very young and small wine production country.

Gallipoli, which I know very well since I was a child, is a town where many westerners visit annually for Anzac day. As a result, there is a surge of good quality hotels opening in the last 5-10 years. Also there have been good quality restaurants popping up. When I tried one of these, earlier this summer, I was surprised to see that the restaurant had only one wine from the Thrace region in their menu. This is a shame, despite magnificent wines are made in a vineyard near in Thrace, they are not available locally. Why isn’t it possible to see these wines in these places? Do the wine producers feel responsible for this situation?

The recent elite organisations do not do anything other than just to satisfy the elite consumer. Until the day, I hear a local dialect of Aegean asking for a glass of wine….

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