5 Grape Harvesting Festivals Held Across Türkiye
The history of the land is blended with the joy of harvest days. Grape harvesting is the pinnacle of this joy. They say that the grapes become the bride when the time for grape harvesting comes. The symbol of Dionysus, the god of fruitfulness and vegetation, is the vine tree, so he is also known as the god of grape harvesting.
The grape harvesting festivities are traditionally organized to celebrate fertility, proliferation, being together, and enthusiasm. The produce of that year is gathered with celebrations. Various grape products are prepared, such as molasses and wine, or the grapes are dried to be served on harsh winter days for a tasty treat.
Along with this, good food is prepared and eaten communally. Basically, grape harvesting means festivity, happiness, and union.
For grape harvesting, which is the harbinger of autumn, the grapes must enter the final ripening period. Therefore, in Türkiye, it is held on close but different dates according to each region’s climate. The harvest days turn into separate festivals in each region and all are fun activities to take part in when September rolls around.
In these festivals, where delicious tables are set, and various competitions are organized, vineyards and production areas are visited, and viticulture is introduced to all enthusiasts. Türkiye is the top 6th country globally when it comes to growing grapes. In Türkiye, we have charming towns that listen to the voice of the earth and turn the grape harvesting into a festival. Make sure to visit one!
1. Ürgüp Grape Harvest Festival
Cappadocia is one of Türkiye's largest wine-producing regions, and Ürgüp takes place at its center. The history of grapes in Ürgüp dates back to 5000 years ago. During the Ürgüp Vineyard and Balloon Festival, which is an international event, you can sample the grapes, chat with the farmers, and witness the extraordinary nature of Ürgüp that is sure to take your breath away.
In the festival area set around Damsa Stream, it is possible to find booths of the villages of Ürgüp, folklore and animation shows, painting exhibitions, food offerings, competitions, and grape treats. Hot air balloons, which are essential for regional tourism, are also an enjoyable part of the festival. The festival is organized at the beginning of September each year.
2. Bozcaada Grape Harvest Festival
The grape harvesting festival is held in the first weeks of September in Bozcaada, a charming island known for its ice-cold sea, narrow cobblestone streets, and fresh island air that makes you keep coming back each year. The first day of the festival starts with the symbolic grape harvesting that the wine producers on the island organize in their vineyards. Vineyard growers and festival visitors go to the vineyards with tractors, where grapes are gathered. The grapes are brought to Bozcaada square with horses, donkeys, and tractors in keeping up with old traditions.
Locals of Bozcaada sell homemade wines, jams and jewelry, and many more products in festival stalls. During the festival, concerts and competitions are held on the island as well. The Miss Grape beauty pageant is held, and the best Çavuş Grape is nominated and chosen. Make sure to make an early hotel reservation because the island is usually fully booked during the festival.
3. Denizli Grape Harvest Festival
Denizli is Türkiye’s rising wine region. Especially the Çal region stands out among winemakers and wine enthusiasts. The festivities, which aim to offer a few days of feasting for the local people, especially the grape producers, take place in the first week of September every year, depending on the ripening of the region’s tasty grapes.
Various competitions and concerts are also organized at the festival, which includes cultural and artistic events, dance shows, and tasting activities. The festival in Denizli is one of the most popular grape harvesting festivals in Türkiye.
4. Elazığ Grape Harvest Festival
Did you know that Türkiye’s largest grape Öküzgözü is endemic to Elazığ? Öküzgözü is also found in Thrace and the Aegean regions, just like Elazığ, but according to experts, the most delicious one is grown in this Eastern Anatolian city.
While folk dance performances are held in the square, a festival full of local food tastings, historical tours, and cultural events can be enjoyed. At the end of September, you can help gather grapes and check out the wines in barrels. Make sure to buy a few bottles to gift your friends and family back home!
5.Gökçeaalan Grape Festival
Osmancık grape is a flavour unique to Gökçealan in İzmir. In the festival organized to promote this local grape variety, the best Osmancık grape, other grape varieties, and even the best Sarma (stuffed grape leaves) are nominated, voted, and selected. This festival is held in mid-September and hosts many other cultural events, performance shows, and more to make sure you have a pleasant day in Türkiye.