Development of Turkish Winemaking Industry and History of Doluca

Started its business activities in a period when the Republic of Turkey was established, Doluca is one of the oldest and long established companies of Turkey. Being in the service of wine lovers for over 85 years, Doluca converts high quality grapes into delicious wines without sacrificing principles and high quality production concept...

Resided in Germany for three years for receiving education in the field of oenology and viticulture at Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute, Nihat A. Kutman returned to Turkey in 1926 and founded Maison Vinikol at Galata. Thus, this company which was the base of today’s Doluca took its place in the first page of the history of Turkish winemaking industry.

Mr. Nihat produced his first wines from Yapıncak and Karalahana grape varieties grown in vineyards in Mürefte and surroundings where he was born. After completion of production, these wines stored in barrels and having the names Vinikol, Kara Elmas (Black Diamond), Sarı Elmas (Yellow Diamond) and Eti (Hittite) were sent to Maison Vinikol at Galata for bottling purposes.


A Journey to Germany and France for grapes...

However, as Mr. Nihat sensed that wines produced from these grape varieties were not sufficient in terms of quality, he began a new quest and in 1935, he organized a visit including Germany and France for purposes of searching different grape varieties.

As consequence of these researches, he brought the most appropriate varieties of their time such as Cinsault, Semillon, Gamay and Riesling to Turkey and began to grow these varieties by planting cutting stems of them to the vineyards in Mürefte and surrounding villages. As the results of first trials were very positive, Mr. Nihat also pioneered the way to disseminate these varieties in Turkey. Today, except for Riesling which is solely grown in the vineyards owned by Doluca, particularly Semillon and Cinsault have gained a significant place in the wine grape range of our country.


The first wines made from these new varieties were placed on the market under the name of Doluca in the early 1940s and in a very short time, they met with great appreciation. The name Doluca was taken from the highest hill of Mürefte region...

Even though the gradually increasing interest and demand since that date, Nihat Kutman continued to make his wines for long years in the mansion where old, small sized and traditional methods were applied.


There was no highway between Mürefte and Istanbul until 1950s. Therefore, transportation of wines was provided through sea. In the periods when there was no highway connection between Mürefte and Istanbul, the wine barrels of 500 liters named “bomb” were towed behind rowing boats and carried to the larger boats came off the cost of Mürefte and loaded onto these boats by deck boys.

The wine barrels transported to Istanbul by sea were unloaded in the wine dock at Galata to be distributed to old taprooms and wine maisons of Istanbul. The emptied barrels were reloaded to boats and sent back to Mürefte.

When they arrived to off coast of Mürefte, they were thrown into the sea and then carried to the coast by small rowing boats. The empty barrels arrived to the coast through this way were collected by workers of wineries (the name given to small sized wine production facilities). As each barrel was stamped with the logo or emblem of the winery they belonged to, nobody was taking one other’s barrel mistakenly.

Truck transportation was started with highway connection to Mürefte in 1950s. Transport capacity in the said period was only 10 bombs for each truck; namely, ten barrels each was around 50 liters.


However, when 1960s arrived, Doluca was guided towards new directions both by uninterruptedly growing market besides progress in the technology. At the first hand, “Maison Vinikol” at Galata was moved to its new building at Tophane under leadership of Nihat Kutman and took the name "Nihat Kutman and Copartner Limited Partnership". Thus, a new page was opened in the history of the company. In line with this development, a new wine production facility was built in Mürefte, and use of different electrical equipment was started by help of generators. Yet, mansion period was mainly closed and a rather modern production facility was put into service according to the prevailing circumstances of the time.

The destemmer, horizontal press, and particularly chillers providing temperature control in this facility started operation in 1963 caused an observable increase both in quality of wines and quantity of high quality wines produced.

After completing his education in the field of Oenology and Viticulture at University of California at Davis Ahmet Kutman returned to his country in 1969 and continued his military service for two years, and he joined to the company management. In the same year, two significant developments occurred in Doluca. Villa Doluca red and white wines which were delicately aged in the new facilities were introduced in the market. Become the most prestigious and popular wine of Turkey in a short time, Villa Dolucas have always been among the most demanded and top selling products of Doluca until today.

Launched in 1969 as the prestigious wine of Doluca, Villa Doluca takes its name from the second production facility of Doluca in Mürefte which is illustrated on the label of this wine. Besides, the word "Villa" is chosen as it resembles the French word "Chateau" nearly identified with high quality French wines.

This prestigious wine that is imprinted on minds as Villa continues to hold its meaningful place within the Doluca product family broadened extensively.


In 1970, Doluca placed on the market its first varietal product, namely Riesling wine which was produced from a single grapevariety.

This wine, made from Riesling grapes once brought to Turkey by Nihat Kutman that has been growing solely in vineyards of Doluca, has become one of the most prestigious products of Doluca.


Within the period including 1980s, high quality wine range of Doluca was broadened gradually. Furthermore, growth in domestic consumption as well as increase in foreign tourist flow and exports to foreign countries resulted with huge increases in production and sale volumes of Doluca. Yet, a new and large scale investment was unavoidable due to these developments. Thanks to investments costing tens of millions dollars commenced in 1985 and which have been continuing uninterruptedly for the last 15 years under several different projects, Doluca has achieved a significant position among most developed winemakers of the world both in terms of capacity, technology and quality.

Besides that, Doluca has become the first company in its sector realizing such a large scale investment thanks to its background.

Started to give service in 1987, Sefaköy wine filling and packaging unit is a facility equipped with cutting edge devices where wines are bottled under inert gas atmosphere without air contact and stored in cellars at constant temperature.


Put into service in 1993, the production unit established in Mürefte on a land of 12 decares having a closed area of 10 decares has ranked among the top production facilities in Europe thanks to its 12 million liters capacity, oak barrels imported from France for aging of wine, stainless steel tanks, modern devices and cutting edge technology. The bottling unit added to this unit offered the opportunity of “estate bottling” - bottling of wine in the winery where they are produced- for many different products.

In the meanwhile, Doluca joined a co-project named Sarafin which would create a significant milestone in Turkish winemaking history. At the beginning of 1990, two school friends, Güven Nil and Ahmet Kutman, started a venture for offering to Turkish wine lovers the specialty wines under name Sarafin to be produced by growing most renowned grape varieties of the world in Turkey. Güven Nil took the responsibility for growing vineyards while Doluca took the responsibility for production and bottling of wines. Nilkut Ltd. was established under partnership of Ahmet Kutman and Güven Nil in order to implement the Sarafin project. In the vineyards located on a land larger than 700 decares at coast of Saroz Bay, growing of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties which were among "noble" wine grapes was begun. In 1996, the first product was obtained from the grape saplings planted in 1989, and offered to appreciation of wine lovers in 1998.

As summarized in the famous French saying “you can make a bad wine from good grapes, but not a good wine from bad grapes”, the first stage of making good wine is the vineyard and the second stage is the production facility.


When 2000s were sighted on horizon, Sibel Kutman Oral, daughter of Ahmet Kutman took her place in the management of Doluca after receiving trainings on marketing and oenology in the USA. Established the marketing department and rendered service as the director of this department for long years, Sibel Kutman Oral has spent intensive efforts to provide each brand to become a market leader in its category. Within that period, corporate identity of Doluca was renewed and this renewal was sensed from logos and labels at the first hand.

Within the period including 2000s, Turkey’s first natural sweet wine Safir besides DLC and Karma series at first, lots of products were offered to wine lovers. In 2004, Doluca played the leading role in introducing universal wine making movement to winemaking industry in Turkey for the first time with Karma series using native grape varieties in combination with universal grape varieties.

The pioneering role of Doluca to have a modern production strength was undertaken by Ali Kutman who completed his Oenology and Viticulture education at Napa Valley College at California that is among the most renowned wine countries in the USA. Giving assistance to Ahmet Kutman in wine production, Ali Kutman is pioneering the issue of “producing what is proper” by virtue of research and development activities he is leading.

Grape vineyards owned by Doluca have now taken their place as the important investments among vineyard investments in Turkey. Being in the first place Alçıtepe, Ecebat and Kızılcaterzi, Doluca vineyards equipped with up-to-date technology have undertaken a very important role in enhancement of viticulture in our country.

In 2008, a mysterious, authentic wine with a distinctive character that is made from most favored grapes of the harvest in every year, Signium was offered to appreciation of wine lovers combining passion of creating the best with excitement of exploration.


When 2010 arrived, with Alçıtepe brand showing the final destination that Turkish viticulture arrived, Doluca opened a new door for wine lovers in the world of wine by introducing another innovation which could be considered as a building block in the history of Turkish winemaking industry.

Tuğra series that we offered taste of Anatolian origin grapes with Doluca quality was introduced to wine lovers with the motto “heritage of Anatolia, sign of Doluca” in 2011.

Within the same year, thanks to investments made in recent years, Doluca put into operation its production facilities with a capacity of 14 million liters in Çerkezköy located on a land having a total surface area of 52,000 square meters (a closed area of 22,000 m2) which was equipped with the cutting edge technology besides the environmentally compatible design

Having the mission “Doluca adds pleasure to life”, also today with the same faithfulness and self-devotion, Doluca continues to have the desire to offer to Turkish wine lovers always the higher quality products carried on with success since its foundation date of 1926...