Kocabağ is a family owned wine producer and viticulture company located in Uçhisar
. The firm also has a storage and production in Gülşehir, with an annual capacity of 300 thousand litres. Mehmet Erdoğan, whose three sons, Hasan, Memduh and Mesut own the company now, started the winery in 1972 with just a simple cave carved into the local volcanic tuff rock.
Carving a winery out of the rock was not a particularly novel idea, as tuff, a soft rock that is basically just compressed volcanic ash, has long been practically the sole building material in Cappadocia, ever since it was discovered how easy it can be worked by hand. However, this combination of practicality and frugality also prompted his grandfather to use it in wine making as well. The winery has twelve 250 hectoliter tanks carved out of the tuff rock in which their wines ferment and age.
In the tank the wine is in direct contact with the rock, but over the years the rock has become coated with tartrate crystals, so now every tank is lined with a thick layer of tartrates. As the old tuff tanks are somewhat limiting in their capacity, the winery also has a new facility, which houses larger steel tanks. The original tuff tanks will continue to be used, in memory of the grandfather, who died in 1987 from CO2 suffocation, together with an aunt and a worker while trying to save the latter who had fallen into the tank.
Kocabağ is the only one of the three commercial wineries in Cappadocia to use such tanks, and they may very easily be the only winery in the world to do so. The tuff tanks keep the wine at a constant temperature of 8-10 degrees, and seem to lend a wonderful, neutral stoniness to the overall character of the wine, not unlike the cement or stone tanks used elsewhere in the world. They do not use French barrels in order to preserve the aromatic characteristics of the Turkish grape varieties.
Kocabağ focuses on making wines solely from grape varieties indigenous to Turkey, including the two primary white grapes, Emir and Narince, and the three major red grapes, Kalecik Karası, Boğazkere and Öküzgözü. The winery currently has a 300.000 litre cave cellar and new stainless steel tanks for 300.000 litres. totalling 600.000 litres. Their wines are also exported to Canada, Hong Kong, the USA, Germany and Austria.
A visit to Kocabağ winery to taste their famous wines is included in our Underground city tour
, Winter special tour
2 and can be added to any private tour