Karalahna

Wines and grape varietals - Turkey

Karalahna grapes are a round, thin-skinned variety with a very particular dark purple color. The fresh grapes are soft, sweet and odorless. They ripen in the second half of September, and one cluster of grapes weighs about 1 - 2 kg. One vine (omca in Turkish) can provide 27 to 30 kg of fruit. Plants generally have 3 - 5 stems. This variety has low production costs and is quite productive and well suited to the climate and soil of Bozcaada, but is not suitable for mechanized harvests. It is believed that this variety has been on the island of Bozcaada since the 1940s. In 1999, it was not widely grown and was mainly used by winemakers for its coloring properties. In the 2000s, its popularity grew and today five companies are cultivating Karalahna on the island. It is also grown in limited quantities in nearby provinces and islands. Today, on Bozcaada, approximately 55 tons are grown annually. Karalahna grapes typically produce a drink with 11 - 12% alcohol and a low sugar content. The grapes can also be used to make pekmez, a light molasses-like product. Today, the introduction of foreign varieties in the region has threatened the future of Karlahna grapes. Additionally, a lack of efficient and healthy viticulture systems and methods has also affected the quality of this grape and local vineyards in general.