Episode 401 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it marks a return to the show for Katie Parla, who was originally featured in episode 155 of IDTT. That earlier episode focused on Katie’s experiences dining in Rome, which she has cataloged online. This more recent interview brings out Katie’s knowledge of Turkey and particularly of Istanbul. Parla is the author of Katie Parla’s Istanbul, which is available in app stores.
Katie Parla doesn’t mix words when it comes to the situation for wine in Turkey: she ticks off the many steps Erdogan’s government has taken to stunt wine consumption at home, while encouraging exports out of the country. This is a fraught time for Turkish wineries, as the laws prohibit them from advertising, taxes price their product out of reach, and tourism further slows with each new terrorist attack. While this is a particularly tough environment for wineries trying to make a go of it, Katie explains that Turkey has always waxed and waned when it comes to alcohol consumption. On the one hand there is a long history of raki consumption, often considered Turkey’s national beverage, and on the other hand, only a small portion of the population drinks raki today. And wine – both winemaking and wine sales – has often been associated with minority groups within Turkey, such as Greeks, Jews, and Armenians, while those same minority groups have also experienced persecution and expulsion from Turkey in the past. The historical cycle seems to be at a low point for wine within Turkey today, even though, as Katie explains, the area is the historical home of the grape vine, and wine traditions there go back centuries. The scary part is that although this seems like a hard situation for wine in Turkey today, Katie describes aspects that may get even worse in the future. A dystopian reality for wine, in episode 401 of I’ll Drink to That!
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine