Vintage activities take place between August and October every year throughout Turkey. Kavaklıdere winery has been organizing Kavaklıdere weekend vintage trips for wine enthusiasts who wish to take on a journey through the birth adventure of wine and enjoy vintage activities
Grapes from the Cappadocia region are finally pleasing wine producers and locals as their a very long awaited fermentation process has finally ended with the opening of 2007 vintage season on Aug. 20. Vintage Events are scheduled between August and October throughout Turkey and one of the events is to be held in a 14-year-old Cappadocia vineyard owned by Kavaklıdere, Turkey’s oldest private wine producer.
Those who wish to take on a journey through the world of grapes and wine production can visit Capadoccia Production Plant, Kavaklıdere’s third production plant after Ankara’s Akyurt and Manisa’s Kemaliye.
Once the grapes have been picked, they are transported to the winery to be processed and gently pressed. The juice pumped into holding tanks is then chilled, and sediment from the fruit drops to the bottom of the tanks. The sediments are removed and wine is ready to be fermented with yeast. Fermentation is a slow process that takes 10-30 days. Within a few months, the liquid becomes raw wine and is put into oak barrels from France used for fermentation. After their fermentation and depending on the type, some will come to our tables as early as November, while others will take as long as next spring or even two to three years.
Cappadocia soil fit for growing wine grape:
Kavaklıdere owns a total vineyard area of 1,700 decares in the Yeşilyurt Village in the Cappadocia region where it produces good-quality dry wine from the region’s juicy, white Emir grapes. Emir grapes are used in “The Emir Sultaniye Special White” and “Çankaya” and in “Primeur White” which will be on the market in early November.
This grape is also suitable for making sparkling wine and it is used for Kavaklıdere Altın Köpük (Kavaklıdere Golden Foam), Turkey’s first and only natural sparkling wine. In addition to the Emir grapes, four domestic and four foreign grapes are grown in the region, including Narince, Kalecik Karası, Öküzgözü, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.
Levent Sağlamer, manager of the Kavaklıdere vineyard in Cappadocia, said that the wine grapes liked the cretaceous soil and the territory of Cappadocia region is rich. He also said the recent drought afflicting Turkey has partially affected the vineyards in the area. “We have irrigation facilities in our plant, but the grapes exposed most to the sun are burnt,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is nothing to be done for it. If the drought continues in central Anatolia, however, it can pose a serious threat for the viniculture in the long run.”
In the Cappadocia region, more fruitful and acid-concentrated grapes are grown due to the Kızılırmak River running through the area where the difference in temperature between day and night curture an ideal aromatic and acid-concentrated grape.
Kavaklıdere has been participating in numerous international wine festivals and competitions, with more than 390 medals awarded. Eda Markalıoğlu, quality control chief in the Capadoccia Production Plant, said the taste of the domestic grapes is perceived as quite authentic and distinguished by wine lovers abroad.
Source of income for locals:
The vintage activities also make a major contribution to the household economy of the locals of the region as nearby villagers are employed in vintage events. They are paid YTL 17 for their 12-hour days and though most don’t consume the wine themselves, they appreciate the opportunity the vineyard gives them to earn a living.
Winery with numbers:
Kavaklıdere makes an investment of five million euros on viniculture annually and provides 8 percent of wine grapes used for production from their own wineyards. “The most important raw material in wine making is the grapes. In order to produce a good quality wine, you have to have a quality grape. So we decided to establish our own vineyards,” says Ali Başman, executive director of Kavaklıdere Wines.
Kavaklıdere has wineyards in several regions of Turkey, including Cappadocia, Manisa, Elazığ, Kırşehir, Denizli and Ankara’s Akyurt, with an annual production of 18.5 million liters. The winery exports 20 percent of its total production to European Union countries, Japan and United States.
Despite all the efforts by wine companies to make wine a part of Turkish culture, the per capita consumption of wine remains low compared to international consumption. “Wine culture is just being discovered in Turkey, “says Başman.
“Per capita consumption of wine is 60 liters in France; 30 in Germany; 30 in the U.S. and 25 in Greece,” he said adding that wine was mostly consumed in Istanbul, İzmir, Ankara and tourist spots on the Mediterranean in Turkey.
The winery has also been organizing “Kavaklıdere Vintage Trips” every year and this year’s weekend tours include trips to Kavaklıdere’s vineyards and wine production plants.