Updated: Apr 6, 2022
The Thrace Wine Route (Trakya Bağ Rotası in Turkish) is the oldest wine route in the country that actually unites 4 separate wine routes spread around the European part of Turkey all perfectly suitable for a day tour from Istanbul being just a short drive away. The following 12 boutique wineries are the closest to reach from Istanbul for a city escape to the vineyards. Join our Thrace wine route & Bozcaada wine tour in June 2022.
I'm listing the 4 routes below from closest to farthest from Istanbul as I can imagine many of you would love to visit a Turkish winery over a weekend trip to Istanbul.
Tekirdag region - Umurbey, Chateau Nuzun, Barbare, Barrel Vineyards
Kırklareli region - Chamlija, Arcadia, Vino Dessera
Şarköy region - Melen winery, Chateau Kalpak, Gülor winery
Gelibolu - Chateau Gali, Suvla
4 Routes rather that 1 - the so different members of the Thrace Wine Route
Even though they’re united in one route, the terroir, the geology, age of soils, climate is so different that you won’t get bored by visiting at least a couple of them at a time. In fact in this region there’s a tremendous focus on international grape varieties and especially the Bordeaux blends.
For example, in Chateau Kalpak - one of the most award-winning Turkish wineries, you’ll find a classical left-bank Bordeaux blend true to the one estate one wine concept. They do have a second wine though, it is actually a father and son blend created by the owner Bulent and his son Berk Kalpaklioglu. You’ll recognise it by the BBK label. They have an impressive terrace overlooking their vineyards and the Marmara sea. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are enjoying the daytime heat and are cooled by high altitude diurnal range, sea breeze and proximity of the pine forests. Chateau Kalpak has a 3 star rating from AWC Vienna (similar to Michelin stars) and plenty of gold medals from the Concours Mondial Bruxelles.
Climate and geology wise it’s a kaleidoscope of wine terroirs.
On the other hand, in Kırklareli we see a completely different story. Climate and geology wise it’s a kaleidoscope of terroirs. All of it thanks to the Strandja Massif mountain range that creates an endless combination of altitudes, exposures, soil types. Chamlija has 90 hectares under vineyards - every neighbouring vineyard of theirs that I saw was so dramatically different from the other. Some plots resemble twins like the Grand Cru sites of Chablis, they’re generously covered with limestone rocks with petrified oysters - here you’ll find their finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Others are ancient riverbeds with quartz rocks and pebbles - some of these are dedicated to the Bordeaux varieties, others to local grapes that prefer similar soil composition like Papaskarası.
The mountain range creates a tough continental climate with lots of wind, rain, snow and often late frosts. The growing season and harvest are the latest in Turkey. Chamlija became the Best National Producer of Turkey according to AWC Vienna in 2021 for the fourth consecutive time and in 2019 they brought home the highest number of medals from the prestigious Concours International des Cabernets organized by the best French sommeliers. They’re certified as a sustainable producer under the local Iyi Tarim Uygulamalari program - high density planting, no pesticides, no herbicides here. All their red wines are suitable for vegans - they’re unfined and unfiltered. Chamlija even has a natural orange wine - skin contact unfiltered amber wine made from the local Narince grape. My favourite wine out of all their generous range!