Website: Gulor Winery
Country Location: Turkey
Gulor is one of the rare boutique wineries in Turkey offering original and high-quality blends of both international and local grapes.
The people. From Homer’s Iliad to the pages of Forbes magazine, the indigenous wines of Turkey, a land identified by molecular archeologists as the birthplace of wild vitis vinifera, are once again making history. Modern wine culture emerged in Turkey when Gulor Winery, and the boutique wineries that followed its lead, picked up where the Turkish government left off after introducing French grape varieties to Thrace in the 1950s. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties were planted at Gulor when the winery was founded in 1993 by Turkish businesswoman and philanthropist Güler Sabancı and the winery is credited with Turkey’s first commercial production of Bordeaux-style wines.
In addition to her role as chairperson of Sabancı Holding, the second-biggest industrial and financial conglomerate of Turkey, Sabancı makes wine, collects contemporary art and directs both a namesake university and an international museum. Her belief that Turkey, while still in a developmental phase in terms of growth and restructuring as a country, has made a giant leap forward over the last decade is an observation that applies to the evolution of Turkey’s wine industry as well.
Upon founding Gulor, Sabancı sought the assistance of Professor Nicolas Vivas from the University of Bordeaux. Vivas has directed all phases of production and winemaking there for the last two decades. Since 2012, winemaking at Gulor has been in the hands of Antoine Bastide d’Izard, a seventh-generation winemaker from the family estate of Domaine de Beaumont in Languedoc. “Gulor is one of the rare boutique wineries in Turkey offering original and high-quality blends of both international and local grapes,” said d’Izard. “Our potential is our willingness to promote the indigenous grapes throughout the world.”
In the vineyard. Gulor’s modern winery and 12 hectares of estate vineyards are located in Tekirdag on the north shore of the Marmara Sea in the region of Thrace. The winery is sited just outside the town of Murefte which for centuries was the historical center of Turkish wine production. The estate is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc in addition to Italian varieties including Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Gulor also owns vineyards in Anatolia and contracts with producers there for indigenous varieties like Öküzgözü in Hankendi, a town in the province of Elazıg in the northwest corner of the Euphrates River valley, and Boğazkere from Ergani on the right bank of the Tigris River in Diyarbakir Province.
In the cellar. The winery produces approximately 200,000 cases of wine annually across five tiers of wine; three of which – Rouge, Silver and Sayeste – are currently being imported to the United States by Meritaj Inc. Okuzgozu and an Okuzgozu-Bogazkere blend are bottled under the Sayeste label; the winery’s Silver label is devoted to blends of Okuzgozu with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot; Bordeaux varieties and blends comprise the Rouge label.