Turkish tribes arrived in Anatolia from Central Asia they, too, drank wine. Production continued even after Islam began to dominate the region, and a comfortable balance developed between Christian and Muslim residents: Christians, for the most part, produced the wine; both Christians and Muslims consumed it. During the long period of the Ottoman Empire (1299–1923), wine production and trade were carried out exclusively by non-Muslim minorities (Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, and others). However, what we today would call wine-bars, usually in Christian eighborhoods, were also patronized by Muslims. During the Ottoman period, the general atmosphere of tolerance was interrupted from time to time by official prohibitions on the use and sale of alcohol. Wine-bars were forced to close and heavy sanctions, even death penalties, were applied to those who didn’t obey the new rules. The prohibitions were always short-lived, however each time they would be first loosened, then eventually lifted completely. This regular reversal of policy had an economic reason: the tax collected from wine sales was an important source of income for the Ottoman treasury, so any long-term banning of alcohol sales contradicted state interests. Even during periods of prohibition, vineyards were never uprooted: grape production was simply diverted to other types of consumption. A ready supply of grapes enabled wine production to recover rapidly after each hiatus.

Wine production reached record levels and alcohol prohibitions ceased during the second half of the 19th century, in the atmosphere of tolerance and freedom brought about by the Ottoman modernization movement. At the same time European vineyards were being devastated by an epidemic of phylloxera (a vine-attacking insect), reducing wine production dramatically. In order to meet the resulting surge in European demand, the Ottoman Empire’s wine exports increased substantially reaching 340 million litres in 1904.