It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of wine. That being said, I had no idea that Turkey was a large wine producing country, or that a “wine region” existed in Turkey. I honestly didn’t even know that Turkish wine was a thing!
When I was visiting my brother, he told me about the vineyards in Urla and I knew we had to pay a visit. Izmir was the last stop on my tour of Turkey and we dedicated one full day to wine tasting. We managed to squeeze in three winery visits: Urlice, USCA, and MMG. I must say – I was so impressed!
The wineries in Turkey cannot advertise due to Turkey’s alcohol laws and many of them produce very low volumes of wine. About 90% of Turkish wine is distributed domestically, meaning it’s very rare to get Turkish wine outside of Turkey. Despite lack of “hype”, the wineries are beautiful and so well maintained! I arrived a huge wine fan and left a huge Turkish wine fan.
Massive thanks to Sarah for getting a better photo of this sign than I did!
As we pulled up to Urlice, I immediately felt like I was at a family friend’s house in the country. We walked up the stone path to a stunning patio with outdoor seating before stepping inside to a little country kitchen & bar. The place felt very homey – a great introduction to the world of Turkish wine!
The girl at the winery did not speak much English, but tried her best to explain the wines to us. She mentioned that the owners actually lived in America before moving to Turkey to open the winery. They lived in Chicago and therefore, on weekends, cooked up Chicago-style pizza to go with the wine. Who knew that Chicago pizza and Turkish wine would be such a great combination? We were there on a weekday so did not get to try, but I know my brother and Sarah went back a couple of times after!
Wine – 4/5 | Tasting – 3/5 | Views – 4/5 | Atmosphere – 4/5
USCA felt the most familiar of the wineries we visited in Turkey as the design was quite Western. The building and the views reminded me a lot of the modern wineries we have in Virginia – a stunning venue (perfect for a wedding!), overlooking miles of green. The decor is a mix of farmhouse and coastal and the place is absolutely massive. As a result, the feel wasn’t as “Turkish countryside” as the other two, but the wine was incredible. They have a couple of huge farmhouse style tables that you can sit around for the tasting, so we sat and browsed a little book about their wines as the girl prepared our tasting and then walked us through the wines.
Wine – 4/5 | Tasting – 4/5 | Views – 4/5 | Atmosphere – 3/5
This place is a prime example of “shopping small” is such a popular concept. MMG is a family run vineyard that feels so full of character and love. When we arrived, we met the daughter of the owner/winemaker, and then the winemaker himself. The two of them walked us through the wines while we sat outside on their stunning patio, overlooking the valley. They even served us a cheese platter to accompany our tasting as we tried all of their incredible wines!
The winemaker explained to us that he had just returned from tasting wines in Leesburg, Virginia (our home town & a fantastic wine region). We were shocked because we didn’t mention that that was where we were from! It was pure coincidence that he brought it up. Leesburg is an up and coming wine region, so to hear a wine professional say it was great was an honor. I was so disappointed that I purchase any wine – it was our third stop and I already had too many to take back to London! Looking back now, I would have been happy purchasing all three wines from there!
Wine – 4/5 | Tasting – 5/5 | Views – 5/5 | Atmosphere – 4/5
Since returning from Turkey, I think I have told literally everyone about the great product that is Turkish wine. Urla is such a unique wine region, and one that few people know about. For a product as good a quality as Turkish wine to come out of a tiny, not very touristy region with such little advertising is a testament to the incredible people of Turkey. I highly recommend all wine lovers add this region to their bucket list!
Do you enjoy wine tasting? What is the most unique wine region you have been to?
Let us know in the comments below!
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8 thoughts on “Wine Tasting in Urla: Discovering Turkey’s Wine Region”
Nice article. This is on my to do list 🙂
I definitely recommend it! Urla is well worth a visit 🙂
The pictures of the second winery you visited is of USCA not Urla Vineyards (which might be the one you described as the biggest in Urla).
Hey! Thanks for pointing that out – I’ve fixed it now. I knew I would get something mixed up – now I remember, I wasn’t able to visit Urla, but my brother already had so we still had their wine! This is why you shouldn’t write blog posts a year later 😉
What varieties did they produce?
They mainly produced reds, with a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends. One of my favorite wines was a Rose from Urlice – I loved it so much that I wanted to save it, so just drank it almost a year later!
Nice stuff guys 🙂 Nice locations judging by the photos, and great they gave you some cheese to go with it one place! Have you heard of Sirince? They produce awesome fruity wines there, and it’s in a particularly scenic area of Turkey.
No, haven’t heard of Sirince. Will definitely need to add it to our list for the next time we visit Turkey! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂