During September of 2011 I attended Plumpton College where I completed my Principles of Vine Growing course. Chris Foss, Jo Cowderoy and Kevin Sutherland were brilliant lecturers and I remember Jo telling me that viticulture originated from Mesopotamia (today’s Turkey and Syria) over 5,000 years ago. Jo’s comment fascinated me and on 10 April 2018 I set off on a trip to visit South Eastern Turkey.

We flew to Mardin and travelled on to Tapebase, Dara, Kabala and Diyarbakir, visiting several vineyards along the way. The Assyrians and Muslims are still making wine in the area in the same style as they did thousands of years ago. Although tea and raki are the drinks of choice, the red wine is exported as far as China.

The thing I found very interesting and different from other vineyards I have visited in Greece and Cyprus is the vines are not grown in the 'goblet style', but several roots are planted in clusters approximately two meters apart with the rows laid out to the same distance. When I was there the rows had recently been ploughed and the land appeared well looked after.

This was a truly amazing trip, organised by Meristur, one of Turkeys premier travel agencies, highly recommend for people wanting to see a very different part of the world.