Grape Harvesting Festival in Ancient Vineyards

26 September 2022

The magical journey of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere into wine has started

Grape harvesting festival in ancient vineyards in Elazig

Harvesting of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere, the most special grape varieties native to Eastern Anatolia, has started in Elazig. Held in a region which is referred to as the homeland of wine, tells about the magical journey of the grape varieties of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere with unique taste into wine. The industry professionals, who participate in the grape harvesting event hosted by Mey|Diageo, also have the opportunity to take a boat tour on a a secret paradise, Hazar Lake, and taste the local delicacies of Elazig, experiencing the spectacular gastronomy tourism of the city.

The excitement of grape harvest has taken Eastern Anatolia, which is regarded as the homeland of viticulture and winemaking. Mey|Diageo has started harvesting Okuzgozu and Bogazkere, the noble grape varieties native to Anatolia, in its vineyards in Elazig, where the winemaking history dates back to ten thousand years ago.

Elazig Winemaking Plant of Mey|Diageo, the only plant where the grape varieties of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere can be processed on site, stands out as the only winery, which was one of the wineries that were put into operation in 1930s, after researches on vineyard areas and grapes, with the incentives of Atatürk, and where wine production still takes place. The annual wine production capacity of Elazig Winemaking Plant of Mey|Diageo, which was established as a workshop in 1942 and turned into a large plant in 1944, is 6.2 million liters.

Stating that the history of viticulture in Eastern Anatolia dates back to 10 thousand years ago, Levent Komur, the General Manager at Mey|Diageo, said:

“We are in Elazig. MeyIDiageo's Production Plant, the winery located in the easternmost Türkiye, is also located here. We are more than proud of it. We are engaged in viticulture in the westernmost and eastermost Türkiye. We have vineyards in Elazig and Sarkoy. But, our Alpagut vineyard, located herein, has a distinctive feature. It is the only vineyard where the grape varieties of Alpagut, Okuzgozu and Bogazkere are grown in Türkiye.  These lands, the homeland of these grapes, are located in the geography where viticulture originated in the world, about 10 thousand years ago.  Bogazkere and Okuzgozu are ancient grapes, which have survived from such an old date to the present day. We, as a country, are the owners of lands where viticulture and wine originated. More importantly, we have hundreds of grape varieties of our own.  There are hundreds of local grape and wine grape species native to Anatolia. “Despite the fact that these grapes are incredibly valuable, they are not very well known in the world.”

For Turkish tourism industry, wine is like the oil. 

Stating that Türkiye but ranks quite low in wine export despite the fact that it is one of the top grape-producing countries in the world, Komur said, “Our aim and mission is to rediscover the grape varieties native to Anatolia, bring them to light and share them with the world. "We aim to protect these grapes, ensure their sustainability, and represent the wine made in these lands internationally for the first time, because for Türkiye, wine is like the oil. Highlighting that they positioned themselves as the most boutique of top producers and the largest of boutique producers, Levent Komur added: “In 2020, there were 40 producers; but, today, there are almost 200 producers. The efforts of our producers have sparked a renaissance in winemaking in Türkiye. The only reason behind this is that the leading brands in the industry have started to be managed, changed and transformed by women.” 

About Mey|Diageo:

Mey|Diageo, the representative of a tradition that started in 1862 at the General Directorate of Monopolies, and continued with Tekel, has been operating under the umbrella of Diageo, the world's largest and leading producer of spirits, since 2011, with business operations in approximately 180 countries and regional offices in 80 countries. Mey I Diageo, Türkiye's fifth largest FMCG company with 9 plants and more than 1,000 employees in Türkiye,  has been providing contributions to livelihoods of hundred of thousands of people, through direct and indirect relationships it has established with the farmers, tradesmen, distribution channels, sub-industries, and tourism and service industries since its establishment. Playing a critical role in the agro-industry, the company, holding the title of being the first ISO 9001-certified raki producer and the first ISO 22000-certified wine producer in Türkiye, has a portfolio that includes a wide range of distilled spirit and wine brands. Standing out as the first and only company in the distilled spirits industry to have its environmental management system certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard, Mey | Diageo makes efforts not only for achieving the goal of fulfilling its corporate social responsibility, but also for being a "responsible social organization".

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