While most travellers come to Gallipoli to visit the World War I battlefields and cemeteries, there’s another reason to visit the Peninsula. Wine. We found vineyards inside the Gallipoli National Park and a winery standing just outside it, in the town of Eceabat. We spent a pleasant afternoon at the Suvla Winery, on the outskirts of Eceabat, Turkish wine tasting at Gallipoli.
Wine of Turkey
Turkey isn’t, in our opinion, the natural place that you’d come for wine. But then again, neither was India or Myanmar and we wine tasted in both places. Our wine tasting at Inle Lake was memorable for flies and bad wine. Our wine tasting at Nashik in India was superb – by rickshaw and on the day the Nepalese Earthquake occurred.
There are up to 1200 indigenous varieties of vines in Turkey, although when it comes to commercial production, this drops to 60. It was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s first President who established the first commercial winery in 1925. By 2009 wine consumption in the country had reached 21 million litres a year.
Turkish Wine Tasting Areas
The prime areas for wine tasting in Turkey are Thrace/Marmara and the Aegean. You can read more about the wines of Turkey here. However, as we didn’t seek out wine tasting until arriving in Turkey and the Gallipoli Peninsula. We simply found ourselves at Suvla ready to taste Turkish wines.
Winery Area – Gallipoli
The Gallipoli Peninsular is several hours south west of Istanbul. Much of the area is part of the Gallipoli Peninsular Historic National Park which was founded in 1980 and which covers 35,000 hectares of land. There are vineyards inside the National Park, but no winery facilities. This is the Thracian area of wine making. While the area has produced grapes for many years, it’s only recently that local wine production has been commercialised.
Gallipoli Wine Grapes
Our chosen location for Turkish wine tasting – Suvla – uses many international grapes, they also produce wine from grapes to be found primarily only in this area of Turkey. It’s an interesting and large mix of wines. And of grapes.
Find the best wine clubs and subscriptions here
Grapes Used for Turkish Wine
Grapes commonly used for wine making in this area include the following:
Adakaras›, Alicante Bouchet, Bo€azkere, Bornova Misketi, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Chardonnay, Cinsault, Çalkaras›, Çavuﬂ, Dimrit, Emir, Gamay, Grenache, Kalecik Karas›, Karalahna, Kuntra, Malbec, Merlot, Narince, Öküzgözü, Papazkaras›, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Sultaniye, Tempranillo, Vasilaki and Viognier.
The largest production of international grape varieties is Shiraz and the largest production of Turkish grapes is Öküzgözü.
Suvla Winery and Company
The Suvla winery takes its name from a bay on the north coast of the Aegean Sea here in Turkey, close to the family vineyards of Bozokbağ. Suvla was set up in 2003 with the planting of 44 hectares of vines. The family owner, Selim Zafer Ellialti is an ex IT and Microsoft executive. It’s easy to see this in the almost Californian design of the winery in Eceabat.
The first harvest came in 2006 and the initial grape crops were sold to a large Turkish wine company. In 2009 the family run company converted an old German textile factory and opened their own winery. The winery is just outside the Gallipoli National Park. It’s situated on the quiet outskirts of the town of Eceabat, a pleasant 20-minute walk from the ferry to Cannakale.
Take a winery tour in Turkey
If you have a group of six or more you can take a winery tour here, we’d suggest that you book ahead for this to ensure that your time and language requirements are catered for. You can contact Suvla in the following ways.
Turkish Wine Tasting Prices
As it’s against the law to provide wine tasting for free, you’ll have to pay for the tastes. Suvla clearly labels the amount of wine you get and you pay per individual taste. They also provide wine tasting flights and snack combinations. Wine tastings start at 4 Turkish lira per taste. You can see some of the prices from the photographs of their tasting menu.
How to wine taste at Gallipoli
It’s not necessary to book your wine tasting. The winery is open from 10:00 until 18:00. Some staff speak a little English and there are tasting menus in English too. It’s been a legal requirement since 2003 that wine tasting is not free in Turkey, so you will have to pay for your wine tasting, but it’s not expensive. You can also elect to take a wine and cheese tasting, a glass of wine, a bottle or pair your wine with food.
Our Turkish Wine Tasting Experience at Gallipoli
We tasted 22 wines in total here at Suvla. Each taste was 5 ml between us. Our tastings were based on paying no more than 5 lira per taste unless the grape or variety was something we specifically wanted to try. We didn’t try a reserve unless that was the only option.
We started with white wines, moved to blush and rose and then reds. The winery provided us with breadsticks and we took our own water to cleanse our palates.
The difference between the wines was significant. This wasn’t a series of same-same tasting wine, but a vast selection of any different grapes and tastes. Here’s a list of the wines that we tasted.
Suvla Kabatepe 2016
Light, refreshing and a pleasant wine
Kinali Yapincak 2016
The nose is very different from the taste! Acidic but not in a nice way
Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon 2016
A very weird nose with a lingering taste.
Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Pleasant drinking wine, with a very short finish
Light, and also lightly oaked. Our favourite white.
Reserve Roussanne – Marsanne
Pungent in both the nose and the taste, not unpleasant but definitely an acquired smell and taste.
Karasakiz Blush (Karasakiz Merlot blend)
A nice nose tastes just like a light white and smells exactly the same. Our favourite rose.
Kabotepe Blush (Karasakiz)
Pungent. Did not like this.
Suvla Rose 2015 (Karasakiz Merlot blend)
Suvla Rose 2016 (Cabernet Sauvignon – Karasakiz blend)
None of the rose wines felt like a rose, more like relatively dry whites. There wasn’t the sweetness that we’d normally associate with rose wine.
Karasakiz Local Grape
Very light but slightly peppery. Dries the mouth quickly.
Bogazkere local grape
A glorious nose that isn’t matched in the taste. A very short, disappointing finish.
Grenache Noir 2016
Cherryade that dries your mouth as soon as it hits. Really, really drying that goes on and on.
Our favourite. Peppery. Dry. Lovely. Just like a lighter Australian Shiraz.
Suvla Syrah 2015
Very slow legs. A peppery nose just like you’d expect with Syrah, not heavy in a way but pleasant and easy drinking
Harsh on the nose and incredibly drying.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
An interesting nose, but we’re not fans.
Cabernet Merlot Barrel Aged 2014
Strange nose, pleasant easy drinking, a good finish with fast slim legs. Very smooth.
Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Karasakiz 2014
Pleasant nose, a good quaffing wine. Firm favourite.
Interesting nose in a weird sort of a way. Dries on the tongue. Sharply. Not a fan.
Nice nose, deep and heavy. A hint of a port taste at the finish.
Reserve PV Karasakiz 2014
Very light nose, almost Montepulciano like in taste. Dries the mouth quickly.
And our favourites?
It turns out our favourite wines to drink were the cheapest that Suvla has to offer, but it was a great experience drying not just the different grapes, but also the myriad of blends that the winery puts together.
Where to buy Turkish Suvla Wine
You can find where to buy Suvla wine by using Wine Searcher.
Where to stay in Eceabat
We camped outside the Boomerang Bar on the scrubland between the road and the beach. It’s free. And the bar owner also allowed some of our group to sleep in the back bar. They got a surprisingly good sleep, while we laid awake and listened to the cars going past all night. However, there are a few options here in Eceabat.
The Crowded House (also recommended for tours of the Gallipoli WWI Battlefields) is recommended as a place to stay if you prefer a bed to a tent.
What else to do at Gallipoli
- Take a tour of the Gallipoli WWI Battlefields
- Go snorkelling from a boat. The Boomerang Bar can organise this for you.
- We travelled with Madventure on the Silk Road Trip from Istanbul to Kathmandu
- This is part of the first week in our Overlanding the Silk Road trip – here’s more on how we got from Istanbul to Goreme.
- We also visited the WWI Battlefields of Gallipoli while in Eceabat.