Visiting Gelveri Winery in Turkey

Visiting Gelveri Winery in Turkey

We just came back from our wine trip in Cappadocia. We were lucky enough to be invited to the Dionysos Symposium hosted by Udo Hirsch, the wine wizard behind Gelveri Winery. 

What is Gelveri Winery?

I met Udo first time in December, at RAW wine in Berlin, and I completely fell in love with his wines and the pioneering work he does in Turkey trying to rescue autochthonous grape varieties such as Margaz, Koku, Taș, Ketem Gömlek, It, Kizil, Bulut, Kalecik Karasi, Hasan Dede.

Udo and Hacer have been making wine for a while now and have dedicated all their activity to rescuing grape varieties that were long forgotten. The vineyards they work have only ungrafted vines, some more than 120 years old. The locals here managed without even noticing to escape the phylloxera pest and therefore Udo Has been able to study and test these grape varieties at their purest. 

But these are not the only special things about the Geleveri wines. Udo and Hacer have been collecting ancient amphorae or Küps in Turkish and have acquired by now an impressive amount, with different capacities and origins, the oldest dating back to Roman times and the biggest fitting 2000 litres. They have restored these artefacts and have been ageing their wines (and also cheese!) in them since the beginning. 

How did we end up there?

When Romanian Wine & Dine Chapter 3 was canceled for April, and Udo’s email came in just a couple of hours later, I knew this was an opportunity I could not miss. As I have been trying to import his wines to Germany, this was the perfect opportunity to connect with the place, and its people.

The Dionysos Symposium is a get-together that Udo and his wife Hacer have been organizing for a decade now, focusing on tasting the new vintage. We travelled there together with our friend and wine partner, Nicola, the person who actually introduced us to the Gelveri world. I had no idea what to expect or whom I’d meet there and this was indeed the right attitude.

We arrived on Saturday around noon at their beautiful house in the village and were greeted by our lovely hosts and their other guests. We started the day by tasting some vintages that are not on the market anymore, and only in their cellar. 

The place gave us immediately a sense of home. There is something about Udo that reminds me so much of my grandfather. It could be the look in his eyes when he speaks about wine, it could be his genuine kindness and so much more. 

After a small introduction round in the courtyard of their home, Udo and Hacer took us to the cellar, where we got to listen to a few stories and speeches from them, but also other important Turkish wine activists and pioneers while Hacer was moving between the Küps and pumping out wine in carafes and later on pouring it into our glasses. 

There were several moments when I felt tears building up in my eyes, and I could not believe that I was in this room surrounded by these people. Pumping wine directly from the glass wine containers was one of the most fun activities I used to do with my grandfather and I was immediately transported back in time to those perfect spring days by his side.

It was pure magic to walk between these vessels and taste six different wines, the atmosphere the energy and being surrounded by like-minded people with huge hearts. 

We eventually went out of the cellar and continued our visit to another courtyard, where two other Küps lay partly in shadow partly in the sun, and we continued our tasting. 

The last stop was another cellar room where more Küps were buried in volcanic tuff, and I took a small moment to sit in between them and process everything that was happening.


Of course, this was the ideal place to stick Pointer to the ground and enjoy an indoor picnic. Never did that before :)

We could (un)fortunately only take Champagne Pointer with us, as it is still the only model we have in stock at the moment. Production is in full swing and all of you ordering from all around the world are pushing us further to new horizons.

There was a grape press in this room identical to the one my grandfather had, and as we were a smaller group now, I shared with my new friends that this was the only activity I was basically allowed to do during harvest back in my village in Romania. 

After this beautiful walk and taste experience, we returned to the courtyard where we continued tasting other Gelveri wines, but also different types of homemade bread as well as goat milk cheese aged in Küps with wine. It was also the first time we tried the very famous traditional Turkish grape syrup, Pekmez. All of these made by Hacer, of course. 

The day went on and until midnight we managed to speak to almost everybody there and discover their connection to Gelveri Winery and wine in general. Amongst us were like-minded wine makers from Turkey, exporting partners of Gelveri from all around the world, wine bloggers, Turkish sommeliers and so much more that we could write a blog post about each and every single person there.

Exploring the vineyards

The next morning we attended the meeting of the association Udo and Hacer grounded with their like-minded friends, trying to rescue local grape varieties. Most of the meeting was in Turkish so after a while, we said goodbye and headed to the vineyards following the Google maps coordinates that Udo had given us.

After 20 minutes drive, we arrived at the foothills of the Hasan Dag volcano, and we took a one hour stroll between the vine bushes, admiring the 100 year old vines and observing the holes that are dug around the vines at this time of year in order to force them to go deeper with their roots in search of water. 

What an impressive backdrop, the volcano still covered in snow while the sun was blasting on us. It was a great hour to take in everything that had happened to us over the last 24 hours and it is safe to say now that we completely fell in love with the region and the people who lift it up. 

We are very excited to see what will happen in the next years and decades, and we are happy to contribute to the rebirth of Turkish wines, promoting the Gelveri bottles and not only on markets where they are for now completely unknown.

Our top 10 moments while visiting Gelveri:

  • touching 100 year old vines at the foothills of Hasan Dag volcano
  • trying for the first time goat cheese aged with wine in Küps
  • discovering the natural wine community of Turkey
  • having an indoor Pointer picnic on volcanic tuff
  • meeting the souls behind Gelveri Winery, Udo and Hacer, in their natural habitat
  • tasting the amazing long maceration 2012 Bulut (last 6 bottles)
  • tasting the new vintage directly from the Küps
  • reconnecting with the child in us, remembering all the winemaking activities with grandpa
  • sharing this experience with our friend and wine partner Nicola
  • the sun, the wind, the altitude and all the natural elements of the place.


Thank you so much, Udo and Hacer, for the invite. Words cannot describe well enough in what way this experience has touched us. We cannot wait to be back! Teşekkür ederim!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.