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Thrace, a geographical area that is split between modern day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, possesses a centuries old tradition of wine making. With the population exchange in 1923 between Greece and Turkey, wine production in Thrace’s Turkish regions saw a major decline, but is now being revived by a number of excellent modern vineyards, that await their wine enthusiast visitors.
One of the best ways to tour the Thrace region’s vineyards is with Wine Tours Turkey led by sommelier and amateur wine maker Kaan Afacan. The Beauty of Thrace Tour departs from Istanbul and goes on a ten hour journey through Tekirdağ and Hoşköy with wine tastings, vineyard visits, and special meals with wine pairings. However, if you want to visit Thrace’s vineyards on your own, here is a guide:
Located in Kirkareli, Arcadia Vineyards is a family estate managed by father and daughter Özcan and Zeynep Arca who make their wines through sustainable viticulture. Arcadia produces a range of white, rose, and red wines, and is one of the only wineries in Turkey to produce the ancient grape variety Sauvignon Gris.
Established in 1991 by Bülent Kalpaklıoğlu who, after living 21 years in the US and France, left investment banking to start his own vineyard. Now, years later Chateau Kalpak in Şarköy, Tekirdağ has amassed nine gold medals in European wine competitions and is the only three star rated winery in Turkey. The vineyard can be visited by making an appointment online.
Having been lovingly operated by the Çetintaş family for three generations, Melen Winery is in Hoşköy on the coast of the Marmara Sea and has a history that goes back to the 1920s. Visiting this excellent winery also includes a tour of the Monastery of St. Ioannis that stands within the vineyard where varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Shiraz, Papazkarasi, Öküzgözü, Sémillon, and Gamay are grown.
Established in 2000, Barbare makes wine according to organic, biodynamic, and sustainable principles. After completing his education in France, founder Can Topsakal searched far and wide for the perfect land to establish his own vineyard spurred on by Xavier Vignon, a prominent oenologist and wine consultant. He chose a location near the villages of Barbaors and Yazir, and also set up the Barbare Vineyard Houses with nine elegant rooms, wine tours, and restaurant that offer the full experience.
Founded by Hakan and Nilgün Kavur, Gali Winery stands out with its winery constructed from local rocks and stones, which are able to successfully regulate temperatures and humidity. The hand picked grapes are aged in French oak barrels, which means Gali wines possess a distinct and rich taste. The World War I bunkers that happen to be at their property are also quite the reason to visit.