As we all followed, the social media accounts were “shaken” by the 10 year challenge. Everybody shared their photos from 10 years ago next to their current photos. To be honest, this was a real challenge. 10 years ago I (or we?) haven’t go so deep into social media, and the photos that I had was not really Instagram quality! Anyway, while I was browsing the photos, I’ve realized, I’ve made my very first harvest exactly 10 years ago, in 2009. This was a nice surprise to me; that is why I decided to go back and tell what happened that year.

In the summer of 2009, I was back from my student exchange program in Italy, after studying one year Food Technologies in Università di Bologna. During that year, I’ve took some oenology classes as well, and I liked it so much that I decided to make my internship in a winery.

The winery that I’ve made my internship, Kavaklidere Winery, is one of the leading wineries of Turkey, which was founded back in 1929. They have 3 different winemaking facilities in different regions of Turkey, including the one that I had my first vintage: Cappadocia.

Côtes d’Avanos Vineyard of Kavaklidere Wines

When you hear Cappadocia, wine might not be the first thing that comes to mind – since it has a special natural beauty in its landscape with its fairy chimneys, which make this region a very famous tourist destination. However, that beautiful landscape also helps Cappadocia region to have the unique terroir for wine growing.

Terroir of Cappadocia

Cappadocia has continental climate, with hot dry summers and cold snowy winters. Although the region is broadly semi-arid, there are different microclimates created by effect of the Kizilirmak River, which is the longest river entirely in Turkey. When we come to soil, the important aspect is the influence by the ancient volcanoes, and their lava streams, ashes and tuff stones.

View of Mountain Erciyes from Cappadocia region.

This soil, apart from giving a unique environment for vineyard, it also creates underground caves where it’s a great place for wine aging. I had chance to actually visit one of these underground cities, it was an unforgettable experience. It is hard to imagine the people lived in these caves thousands of years ago. Nowadays, some of them are open for visiting, while some are used for storing fruits and vegetables. There are also modern wine cellars where you can buy/taste wine.

Underground wine cellar in Cappadocia.

Emir & Narince

The local white varieties that are grown the best in this region are Emir and Narince.

Emir, pronounced as “eh-meer” and translates as “lord/ruler”. It’s very well adapted to the climate and soil type of Cappadocia, that’s why it’s grown only in this region. The wines made from Emir have generally light yellow colour and light-medium bodied with relatively high acidity and delicate aromas of apple, pear, pineapple, blood orange, kiwi and melon.

Narince, pronounced as “nah-rin-djeh” and translates as “delicately”.  It is mainly produced in Tokat, and followed by Cappadocia. The wines made from Narince have straw-yellow colored wines with floral notes like acacia, stone fruits and citrus aromas, and have a good potential of aging.

Grape reception from 2009 vintage.

To give a better idea about them, some people give their similarities to international varieties: Emir with its similarities to Albariño and Pinot Grigio, while Narince to Chardonnay.

From a scientific point of view, Emir and Narince are used widely in the oenological studies done in Turkey. Actually when I was writing the scientific paper about yeast strains for traditional method sparkling wines, I came up to a study where they used Emir for traditional method sparkling wine production. Moreover, for both Narince and Emir, the effect of skin contact on their aroma composition has been studied. (I am putting the references of these studies for those who are interested.)

10 years ago/later

Coming back to 2009, I’ve mostly worked with local white varieties. I’ve learned how to receive grapes from the vineyard and how to ferment them. But the most important aspect the experience that I had 10 years ago in this winery made me “love” winemaking. It really effect my whole future to experience the harvest time. From that day to today, I’ve never passed a year without making wine. And I hope to say the same thing 10 years later as well!



All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.











Scientific papers:

Cabaroglu, T., Canbas, A., Baumes, R., Bayonove, C., Lepautre, J.P. & Gunata, Z. (1997). Aroma composition of a white wine of Vitis vinifera L. Cv. Emir as affected by skin contact. Journal of Food Science, 62, 680–683.

Nurgel, C., Erten, H., Canbas, A., Cabaroglu, T. & Selli, S. (2002). Influence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains on fermentation and flavor compounds of white wines made from cv. Emir grown in Central Anatolia, Turkey. Journal of Industrial of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 29, 28–33.

Selli, S., Cabaroglu, T., Canbas, A., Erten, H., & Nurgel, C. (2003). Effect of the skin contact on the aroma composition of the musts of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Muscat of Bornova and Narince grown in Turkey. Food Chemistry, 81, 341–347.

Selli,  S., Canbas, A., Cabaroglu, T., Erten, H., Lepoutre J.P., Gunata, Z. (2006) Effect of skin contact on the free and bound aroma compounds of the white wine of Vitis vinifera L. cv Narince. Food Control, 17, 1, 75-82.

Bozdogan, A. & Canbas A. (2011). Influence of yeast strain, immobilisation and ageing time on the changes of free amino acids and amino acids in peptides in bottle-fermented sparkling wines obtained from Vitis vinifera cv. Emir. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 46, 1113–1121.


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