Overview

This 17 Day Wine Exploration will dive deeply into the two most prolific wine regions of Turkey: Thrace around the Marmara Sea, and the Urla peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea west of Izmir.  Combing two new, magnificent wine routes, the Urla Vineyard Road and the Thrace Vineyard Route (Urla Bag Yolu and Trakya Bag Rotasi) this is the longest most in depth tour for those who wish to learn about the 3000 year history of wine in Turkey, while also visiting the UNESCO historic sites and major attractions of Turkey in a longer tour with minimal road travel.  Our Italian trained Sommelier guide, Murat Yanki, will lead the elite group through the best history and wines of Turkey.

Common international varietals include:
Cabarnet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Petit Verdot, Cabarnet Franc, Pinot Noir, Marselan, Malbec, Tempranillo, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay, Vioginier, Rousanne, Marsanne, Semillion

Common local varietals include:
Bogazkere, Okuzgozu, Barburi, Kalecik Karasi, Papazkarasi, Karasakiz, Karalahna, Kuntra, Calkarasi, Bornova Misket, Sultaniye, Emir, Narince

This tour is perfect if you:

1. Have been to Turkey before and 

  • Are looking to go deeper into the progressive exploding wine and culinary scene. Join us to combine archaeology with Turkey's ancient but very modern wineries.
  • Want to visit regions outside the normal tourist path including Thrace, the Wine Island of Bozcaada, and the progressive Alacati Wine Peninsula and Ancient Bodrum.
  • Enjoy a mix of wine tastings, excellent meals, laid back country estate hotels, beaches and ancient sites, with time left for excellent spa treatments (Thrace tour) at some of the wineries.
  • Enjoy short distances, excellent hotels, lots of wine tastings with sommeliers, wine related archaeological sites, amazing locations and undiscovered wine varietals.

2. Are a wine and food aficionado who wants to

  • Tour with an Italian qualified Sommelier
  • Rediscover ancient history of wine, lost over the last 100 years in Turkey and now experiencing a reawakening.
  • Learn about Turkey viticulture the fourth largest producer of grapes, while not yet in the top 50 for wine production.
  • Learn about archaeological connections to wine in this ancient land.
  • Discover the unique grape varietals of Turkey, as well as their expressions of some of the Mediterranean’s beloved varietals. 
  • Meet the interesting, fun and diverse owners and winemakers of Turkey’s blossoming wine market in their vineyards and wineries.
  • Experience a very high value winery tour. 
  • Enjoy the agricultural and culinary abundance of Turkey.

Upon arrival, we’ll explore Istanbul and it’s ancient monuments, from the mosques to the Roman influenced architecture, and get an introduction to wine from local experts as well as your first Turkish wine tastings with our guide and Sommelier. Next, we’ll fly to Izmir and immediately after landing we'll visit an outstanding winery for lunch and tasting on the ancient road from Smyrna to Ephesus. We'll visit another winery this day that features the much acclaimed Bornova Misket, an explosive, flavorful white wine said to be the same as drunk by Homer in Smyrna 3000+ years ago.  While staying at a luxurious seaside resort on the Aegean, the next few days we will explore the Urla Wine Route and the 15 wineries throughout this unique mountainous peninsula in the Aegean, where wine has grown for thousands of years. After these days near Urla, and after a short stay in small boutique winery hotel in the hills, the trip will continue south through Ephesus heading to the fantastic ancient city (now sea resort and marina) of Bodrum and the amazing castle museum focusing on ancient shipwrecks. A short one hour flight back to Istanbul on day 9 ends the tour for those only touring the Urla region. 

For those continuing on the full 16 day tour, after a night in Istanbul, we'll head to the ancient city of Adrianapolis, now Edirne, which is in Thrace.  This area has a climate that is driven by the Marmara and Aegean Seas, which border the long Dardenelle Straights and makes a unique climate for red wines.  We'll cross the straights to visit one of the numerous islands, the wine island of Bozcaada. We'll visit its wineries, taste dozens of wines in Thrace, and have the chance to visit Troy, as well as some down time for spa services at various top class winery hotels. The final day we will return back to the heart of Thrace, with a final night near the airport before departure.

16 Nights 17 Days 24 May, 25 May, 26 May, and more İstanbul, İstanbul
Highlights

Istanbul: 

  • The heartbeat of Turkey - an amazing cosmopolitan place.  A must see. Also your starting place to meet the wide and varied wine culture of Turkey. See the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Bosphorous.



Urla:  

  • The warm peninsula that is heart of the Urla Wine Trail and 15+ modern wineries. The soil is light and sandy- and the hot summer is cooled by the breezes from the Aegean sea, both North and South of the area.  Both Red and White wine grape varietals grow here - the dry warm summer and hilly, sandy soil make unique terriors for bold wines. Delightful villages such as Alacati and Urla are home to vineyards and stone houses.

Ephesus / Aegean:

  •  On the southern most edge of the Aegean Once a mix of Greeks and Turks under the Ottoman rulers - it has been the center of viticulture since the Roman's called it "Asia".  This wide region gets lots of sun, wind and has mild winters - and a huge variety of grapes are grown here.   The vineyards here benefit from close proximity to Izmir and it's modern, educated, wine drinking citizens. And some vineyards lay in the foothills of Ephesus.

Bodrum: 

  • The southern point where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean, the Archaeological museum is a must see for wine enthusiasts with any interest in archeaology.  The 3000 year old shipwrecks and amphora displayed there are evidence of the antiquity of this regions wine culture. This area also is home to ancient vineyards and wineries, with some appearing in the ancient literature, known for their excellent, abundant wines.

Thrace:  

  • The crossroads of Asia and Europe, this region west of Istanbul has mild summers and mild winters due to the influence of the Black sea in the north, the Sea of Marmara in the south and the Aegean sea to the West. The regions climate and soil produces excellent wines especially red varieties, which some liken it to the Bordeaux region, but there are dozens of ancient Anatolian varietals with more unqiue local expressions. Troy and Edirne are major UNESCO sites here. 

Bozcaada:  

  • Known locally as 'the wine island' the climate and conditions are nearly perfect for 8 or so wine varietals. Everything that gets planted on this island seems to find a beautiful wine expression.  The wines here are often so good they don't require sophisticated, complex production techniques or barreling and allow the essence of the Island's excelent grapes to be fully experienced.

 

Itinerary

 

  Day

   Date

 Location

    Activities

    Hotel & Room Type

1

May 21, 2022

Istanbul

Your guide and driver will greet you upon arrival at the airport. After hotel check-in join a welcome dinner and orientation at Beyoglu Saraphanesi.

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus: Deluxe Partial Bosphorus Room

2

May 22, 2022

Istanbul

Sultanahmet Old City Tour, Lunch, Intro to Turkish wines, Spice Bazaar, Evening Free Time    

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus: Deluxe Partial Bosphorus Room

3

May 23, 2022

Urla

Fly to Izmir, Lunch and Wine Tasting at Isa Bey/Sevilen, Visit Nif Winery. Drive to Alacati Check-in followed by Dinner  

Biblos Resort Alacati : Comfort   

4

May 24, 2022

Urla

Visit Limantepe, Klazomenai and Ship site. Lunch at Od Urla Restaurant and Urlice Winery. Sunset wine at HUS Winery and late Dinner at Ikidenizarasi    

Biblos Resort Alacati : Comfort   

5

May 25, 2022

Urla

Stroll through Alacati town and visit Kostem Olive Oil Museum. Lunch and wine tasting at Peridix, Visit URLA and USCA for wine tasting. Dinner and wine tasting at Cakir Winery    

Biblos Resort Alacati : Comfort   

6

May 26, 2022

Urla

Check-out and stroll downtown Urla’s Art Street. Lunch at Hic Urla. Cooking class and olive oil tasting. Afternoon tasting at MMG Winery. Check-in and Dinner at Ayda Winery Hotel    

Ayda : Deluxe

7

May 27, 2022

Urla

Check-out and visit Lucien Arkas Museum and Key Museum. Lunch and wine Tasting at Lucian Arkas Winery. Visit Ephesus and Museum. Check-in and dinner at Yedi Bilgeler Winery    

Vinifera: Deluxe

8

May 28, 2022

Bodrum

Check-out and visit Miletus and Didim ancient sites. Drive on to Karnas for lunch, wine tasting, and cooking class. Arrive to Bodrum, check-in and free evening    

DoubleTree by Hilton Bodrum Marina Vista : Superior

9

May 29, 2022

Bodrum

Explore Bodrum Castle. Check-out and continue to Garova winery for Lunch. Flight to Istanbul. Check-in and then free evening.

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus: Superior

10

May 30, 2022

Thrace

Check-out and drive from Istanbul to the Thrace region. Wine tasting at Chamlija or Gurbuz Winery. Lunch and tasting at Arda Vineyards, Visit Synagogue, Edirne Museum, and Selimiye Mosque. Check-in and dinner with wine tasting at Bakucha Vineyard.  

Bakucha: Deluxe

11

May 31, 2022

Thrace

Relax morning for optional spa treatments. Wine tasting at Saranta. Lunch and tasting at Vino Dessera. Walk through Arcadia Winery. Dinner at Bakucha.

Bakucha: Deluxe

12

Jun 1, 2022

Thrace

Check-out and continue to Chateau Nuzun for wine tasting. Lunch and tasting at Barel Winery and Umurbey. Check-in at Barbare then Dinner and evening tasting    

Barbare Bağevi: Standard

13

Jun 2, 2022

Thrace

Check-out and visit Ucmakdere Winery for tasting. Lunch and tasting at Melen or Gulor, and Gali Vineyard. Check-in and tour of Caeli Winery before Dinner    

Caeli: Deluxe

14

Jun 3, 2022

Thrace

Relax morning for optional spa treatments. Check-out and visit Gallipoli Battlefields. Lunch and tasting at Suvla. Check-in to Bengodi, tasting at Etruscan. Dinner and wine tasting at Bengodi    

Bengodi: Deluxe

15

Jun 4, 2022

Bozcaada

Check-out and cross the Dardanelles to visit the Troy site and museum. Lunch in Ezine before the ferry to Bozcaada Island. Wine tasting at Corvus and Amadeus Wineries. Check-in and free evening to explore harbor    

Bozcaada Boutique

16

Jun 5, 2022

Bozcaada

Check-out and free time to explore the island shops. Ferry and begin return journey to Istanbul  Transfer.

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul:

17

Jun 6, 2022

Depart

Transfer to airport.

 

 

Our Sommelier and Guide: Mr. MURAT YANKI 

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

2004 – First researches and experiences about wine in Veneto, Italy.
2005 – 2006 – Bronze and Silver certificates about wine from Vindrome, Veritas Istanbul.
2008 – Intermediate and Advanced Certificate from London based WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) with merit level.
2010 – Certificate of Sommeliership from master sommelier Annie-Françoise Crouzet at NKU.
2012 – Diplome of Viticulture merit level – Plumpton College
2012 – Diplome of Professional Sommelier AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

1985 – License of professional tourist guide from  Ministry of Culture and Tourism in English and in French and in Japanese language.
2004 – Establishment of www.vinotolia.com, the first wine tourism platform of Turkey, initiation of tours with the theme ‘culture and history of wine’.
2010 – Opening of Sira Hotel in Cappadocia, management of the hotel, wine tastings and seminars about the history of wine in Turkish, English, French, Italian and Japanese.

PUBLISHED ARTICLES

A multicultural approach to wine in Mediterranean (in English) – Maviology magazine 2006
Akdeniz’de Şarabın Çokkültürlülüğü (Turkish) – Maviology dergisi 2006
Hititlerin Şarapları (Wines of Hittites) – Food & Travel Magazine February 2011
Four different articles on Cappadocian Wine, Cappadocian Cuisine, Saint Sophia in Istanbul, Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia in the book ‘From Istanbul to Cappadocia’ published by E Yayınları – 2009
Interview: Wine of Mozart – Forbes magazine April 2006.
Five Articles in the book ‘İzmir’den Antalya’ya’ published by E Yayınları, 2014: Şarap Tanrısının Romantik Kenti, Nysa; Işık Ülkesinin Keyif Kenti, Arykanda; Çok Eskiden Ege’de Zeytin Kültürü: Ege, Akdeniz ve Şarap; Ege ve Akdeniz Mutfağı.

SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS:

Wine Tourism Potential in sarkoy Area in the light of Byzantine Wine Culture – October 2010
Murat YANKI, Hilmi Rafet YÜNCÜ –  “Wine History, Wine Tourism and Capadocia”, The 5th World Conference for Graduate Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Proceedings Book, Cappadocia: 446-455., 05/2010

BOOK & BOOKLET & MAP

A Wine Journey in the land of fairies – A book on wines of Cappadocia January 2012
Wines of Turkey, Yenen publications July 2011
A Historical Wine Map of Turkey, 2012
Capapdocian Wines, Erik Yayınları 2014
A Historical Wine Map of Cappadocia 2014
Oenotourism Guide to Turkey with Goknur Gokdogan 2021

TV PROGRAMS

  • QUE SERA DEMAIN ? NATURE ET HOMME: QSD? LA NATURE ET L’HOMME-EP04-TURQUIE-LE VIN DE CAPPADOCE. French TV 5 channel, september 2011, interview in french.
  • CNBC – GATEWAY TO MIDDLE EAST – interview and speech on history of wine in Cappadocia. In English. 2009 by Joanna Andrews

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Speech on History of Wine and Viticulture in Turkey from Hittites to present. In French 2009 Grenoble, France. (in French)
Lecture on  ‘History of Food in Anatolia’ at EWBC Wine Bloggers International Meeting in Izmir – November 2012 (in English)

Inclusions/Exclusions

What is included in the tour

  • Luxury Accommodations: JW Marriott Istanbul, Hilton Hagia Sophia Mansions and Hilton Bodrum, Boutique Vineyard Hotels, Biblios Seaside Resort
  • Meals: All breakfasts, 12 Winery lunches, 11 Winery dinners
  • 32 +  wine tastings over 16 days
  • Archaeological Site Admissions including:
    • Ephesus
    • Ancient City of Troy
    • The Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cisterns
    • Limantepe and Ancient Klazomenai
    • Alacati and Urla Stone / Old Greek Villages
    • Arkas Museum
    • Priene, Miletus Harbor, Oracle at Didyma
    • Karnas and  Bodrum Underwater Archeology Musuem
    • Edirne Museum, Synagogue and Mosque
    • Tekridag Museum
    • Gallipoli Battlefields
  • Services of a private licensed professional English speaking guide and Italian trained Sommelier
  • Airport Transfers
 with private driver in luxury travel vehicles
  • All transportation with private driver in luxury travel vehicles
  • Domestic flights: Istanbul-Izmir, Bodrum-Istanbul 
  • Parking, portage, tipping (except guide & driver), toll road
  • Coordination and attentive customer service throughout the tour by Sojourn staff

  • Required Association of Turkish Travel Agencies Foreign Visitors Insurance 
(a basic mandatory policy and not an adequate replacement for purchasing your own travel insurance.) 

What is not included in the tour

  • International flight tickets and international air and departure taxes
  • Additional beverages at lunch not already included in wine tastings
  • Optional gratuities to guides, drivers, etc.
  • Travel insurance
  • Laundry, room extras, and personal items
  • Entry visas
  • Optional programs listed in itinerary
Price

$7320 per person in a Double room

Supplement for a single room: $2100

Full 17 day / 16 night itinerary through Istanbul, Urla, Bodrum, and Thrace
For more pricing details click SEE PRICING at the top of the page

Other options:
10 day itinerary in Urla: from $4040/person
10 day itinerary in Thrace: from $4490/person

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