Vinkara - based in Kalecik, a town in the mountainous region north-east of Ankara - has been putting its heart and soul into revitalising the reputation of Turkish wines since 2003.
In fact, the Anatolia region, which encompasses most of Turkey, has a viticultural tradition dating back to the Hittites in 3000BC, but during the country's turbulent political journey both the levels of production and the quality diminished.
Vinkara is owned by the dynamic Gursel family. Father Oguz Gursel was a very successful civil engineer, and the family now own excellent individual hotels, such as the Marmara in Istanbul. His daughter, Ardic, runs the winery with similar vision and commitment to quality.
The vineyards stand at around 650m above sea level, and are surrounded by mountains, creating an ideal microclimate for viticulture: during the summer, the mountains allow the flow of air to the plain, and in the spring and autumn the accumulated rain act as the vineyards' natural water supply. They are also only 4km from the Kızılırmak River, which provides irrigation when necessary. This terroir - along with the large variation between day and night temperatures - give grapes grown here a high acidity and wonderful aromatic quality.
This climate is similar to that of many regions around the world where merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir are grown, and Vinkara does plant these popular varieties along with sauvignon blanc and riesling, however its first priority is the production of indigenous Turkish varieties.
These include öküzgözü, boğazkere, emir and narince. However, a whopping 60% of Vinkara's vineyards - which began at 22 acres but are now 135 acres strong - are planted with the beloved local grape kalecik karasi. Its popularity dipped owing to bad agricultural practice in the 1950s, but research at Ankara University in recent years has helped revitalise its production, and it is now the local growers' grape of choice.
Their winery now has state-of-the-art technology, including a closed press system, stainless-steel cooling tanks, and humidity and temperature-controlled wine caves in which wines can be aged in French oak barrels. They also have a laboratory for continual experimentation with their winemaking practices to ensure they get the best out of their grapes. They have increased quality levels further by working with experienced Italian producer Marco Monchiero since 2008.
Their aim is admirable: after years of stereotyping and negative connotations surrounding Turkish wines, they want to show the world that they can produce top-quality, smooth, easy-drinking wines that can be enjoyed every day.
Grower profile: updated 22/10/2013