Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
Omar Khayyám 1048–1131
’Saraphanesi’ or wine houses can be found all over Istanbul from the very modern to the traditional. One of the oldest can be found in Kadikӧy, on the Asian side of Istanbul. This lovely area with its Istanbul mix of modern and history is the cultural centre of the Anatolian side. It is here you can find Viktor Levi Wine House. The wine house moved to Moda, Kadikӧy from its original site on the European side in 2004 and is an ongoing popular and trendy place to visit. With its wonderful atmospheric interior and the welcoming large garden, it is a perfect place to relax. Well, maybe not the garden in January’s weather! The restaurant owners have kept a sense of history with the place and its connections to wine. The pictures around the walls reflect comments, poetry and photos of famous wine lovers; including Omar Khayyám’s poem. The music here is eclectic, alongside western pop, you will find Greek, Italian, Spanish, French and jazz.
The wine house is named after its founder Viktor Levi, who began his career as a seller of Sardines in Istanbul. Discovering that wine was more interesting, he moved into this line of work and opened the Viktor Levi Şaraphanesi in 1914; first in Galata, then to Hamalbaşı Cad before its current relocation.
As the January weather continues with its arctic hold, if you are searching for Istanbul flats for sale you will need to find somewhere warm and welcoming to relax and consider your options. If on the European side another couple of historic wine houses to visit would be Pano Şarap Evi or Hazzo Pulo.
Pano Şarap Evi can be found in Beyoġlu. Built in 1898 the building was specifically designed for wine selling by founder Panayot Papadopulus. The food and wine are superb and well worth a visit. Hazzo Pulo is situated in a building that is reminiscent of a wine cellar, with its masonry interior. With a 150-year-old history, it is one of the oldest in Beyoġlu and is as popular for its meze’s, cheeses and Scandinavian buffet alongside its wines from Turkey and the rest of the world. This post would not be complete without a mention of Incirli Winery in Kuruçeşme. Offering a vast selection of wines by the glass at trade prices. It also provides educational and tasting experiences with food matching sessions and wine seminars. Not a historical as the others mentioned but great way to discover the vast range of Turkish wines in a convivial atmosphere and very reasonable prices.