Turkish Wine Advertising: Not Seen But Definitely Heard

Strict regulations on alcohol sales and marketing in Turkey has winemakers getting creative with promotion. According to Forbes, advertising in its most common terms is forbidden: no campaigns, no tastings, no websites. Other measures have made promotion more difficult still, with the government requiring that bottles sold in the EU carry large warning labels similar to those seen on cigarette cartons. So, how are winemakers selling their wine?

Turkish winemakers and their promotors are focusing on ancient forms of advertising and distribution. For example, Vinkara wines often host dinners, whose guests are privy to the event by word-of-mouth. “There is no explicit invitation, and no mention that wine will be served. But its understood, of course, that Vinkara wines will be served and discussed.” Wineries will also find another event (perhaps a celebrity chef’s) and ride its coattails. Or upload images on Instagram that highlight the beauty of the winery and its surroundings.

This, combined with direct-to-consumer contact has worked well for many wineries. For example, Can Ortabas (Urla winery) receives 60,000 calls annually, which account for 40% of his sales. And wineries situated along the Trakya Bag Rotasi (The Trace Wine Route) welcome the trail’s pilgrims for tours and tastes, which also allows winemakers to sell directly.

The regulations require wineries to be creative and community-oriented in order to survive. With emphasis on intimate gatherings rather than large events, and human connection rather than advertising campaigns, marketing wine in Turkey is subtle yet powerfully personal. [Forbes] [Image: Flickr/zone41]