Tomato juice from Tokat to Fiji
The latest trend is for industrialists to publish their biographies.
As well as the country’s leading industrialists such as Vehbi Koç and Sakıp Sabancı, others that come to my mind are Borusan’s founder Asım Kocabıyık’s “As Nearing 90,” founder of Otacı known with its herbal products, Niyazi Kurtsan’s “The Story of an Otacı,” and industrialist from central Anatolian city Kütayha, Rıza Güreli’s “The story of a Kütahya Family from Commerce to Industry.”
Founder of Dimes, a significant brand in the production of fruit juice, milk and wine, Mustafa Vasfi Diren from Tokat has the most recent book of this kind, his own biography, “The Man Who Created his Own Wind.”
Even though the literary value of the books mentioned can be debated, they shed light on the steps taken on the way to industrialization in Turkey’s big cities and in Anatolia.
As a matter of fact, Mustafa Vasfi Diren’s biography has features of a documentary of from where to where we have gone in agriculture industry.
I have met the Diren family in 2005. I remember being affected by the endless farm and orchards I had the opportunity to wander at Tokat with the second generation boss of Dimes, Ali Rıza Diren as well as the vision of the father Mustafa Vasfi Diren.
Mustafa Vasfi Diren started producing wine at his house in 1958 without any capital to make use of Tokat’s beautiful grapes. In 1963, he was the first person from Tokat to be able to travel to Germany where he studied wineries and fruit juice factories for a month. He learned the technique of wine and fruit juice. One year after his trip to Germany, he produced Turkey’s first packaged fruit juice brand Dimes. He sent two of his four sons to Europe to learn the business.
This year Dimes is celebrating its 55th year and it is the leader of the sector in Turkey. It holds 65 percent of exported fruit juice. About 100 countries from the Middle East to Far East, from Africa to Europe know the brand and the taste of Dimes.
One of the third generation bosses of Diren family, Dimes General Manager Ozan Diren, said net profits were high in fruit juice exports and production. “It is more advantageous to process products and sell it round the year instead of selling them fresh. Tomato juice can be sold even to Fiji Island all year round,” he said.
Dimes also produces milk and milk products as well as wine alongside with fruit juice. Their first love winemaking has never been given up. They produce nearly 2 million bottles of wine annually.
Second generation Orhan Diren, who is an oenologist himself pioneers in the growing of about 20 types of grapes in Tokat’s 200-decare vineyard.
Tokat has been one of country’s foremost centers of winemaking since the antique times.
Last year, in the tasting of the “Les Muses” wine produced from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown at Diren vineyards, Orhan Diren explained that Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror, had brought gardeners and vine growers from Tokat to Istanbul. Orhan Diren was very proud of his “Les Muses” wine he had rested in French made oak barrels for 18 months.
I don’t know if there will be any enthusiasm and motivation left for winemakers who are struggling to upgrade Turkish wines in the world after the recently introduced bans on alcohol?