The history of wine-making & wineries in Albania dates to the Illyrian times more than 2500 years ago but we are going to focus on the present and the future of wine-making in Albania.
Albania wine during the last century.
The fifty years of communist isolation left us behind our neighbors in many aspects and including as well wine-making & viticulture. Only after the nineties were the first private vineyards established. In the beginning, they suffered from a lack of experience in modern wine-making and technological supplies in order to compete with foreign wine. But now this is the past, the present is telling a different story. There are more than thirty wine producers in Albania with their own specialties and they have narrowed the gap and are heading to compete with other well established European winemakers.
The future of the Albania wine is promising and some of those wines will be high-quality products desired abroad. The land, the climate and the rich soil make Albania a perfect country for high-quality wine in addition we bring a different variety of grapes that are traditional to our land. If you are visiting Albania a wine tour in one or more of those Wineries or Vineyards becomes a thing to do.
List of some of the wineries in Albanian
North Albanian wineries, the most known of those are Kantina Arberi, Kantina Kallmet, Kantina Zadrima, Kantina Medaur & Kantina Kopliku they produce wine from grapes such as “Kallmet”, “Shesh i bardh”, “Shesh i zi” or “Manakuq”.
Another district where wineries are doing very well is the Berat region with Kantina Cobo, Kantina Nurellari & Kantina Edoni. Visiting some of those places not only will expose you to the albanian wine but also will add a test of albanian cuisine. There are other albanian wineries in other districts such as Korca, and in the south but we wanted to highlight those that we know are ahead of others.
We will definitely be working on creating some wine tours for those that are interested, so send us an email and we will let you know if we can organize a trip to the north Albanian wineries.
Albanian grape varieties
“Sheshi bardhe” (white) and “Sheshi i zi” (black) are the most important varieties for wine production. The name comes from the hilly village of Shesh, located 15 km away from Tirana and from where it spread to many regions of Albania. It represents about 35% of the grapes processed for wine production.
It makes wines with bright ruby color and pleasant aroma and lasting taste are produced. With a good year & with time, it becomes an excellent summer drink. The wine improves significantly if it is mixed with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Kallmet, or Barbera.
Kallmet is the noblest red grape cultivated since ancient times in the provinces of Lezha, Zadrima, Shkodra, and around Lake Shkodra. It was spread by the Romans in the countries of Central Europe and the name was changed to Skadarka in Dalmatia, Kadarka in Hungary, Gemza in Bulgaria. Also known as Black Tokaj or Black Grapes of Shkodra. The wine produced from Kallmeti grapes is the traditional wine of the Shkodra area. It has an acidity of 5.5 – 6.0% and the alcohol degree varies according to the year. The wines of this variety are ruby-colored wines, with affirmed body & personality.
Vloshi is the most important red grape in the provinces of Fier, Vlora, Himara, Delvina, etc. The village of Narta is a typical vineyard. Production ripens in late September and the sugar content is very high. Alcoholic content 12.5 – 14%. Vlosh wine is a typical wine with identity and geography closely related to Albania. The wine has few colored substances, so it is recommended to mix it with the must of other cultivars such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Serini is the most important red and white grape in the province of Korca, Pogradec, Leskovik. Production ripens by the end of September, and the beginning of October and has a sugar content of 19 – 22%. The vesicle is medium and partially compressed. It is used for the production of quality table wines, which with ageing acquire organo-sensory characteristics of special importance.
Pulesi is the most important white grape in the province of Permet, Berat, Skrapar, and Mallakastra. It is a grape with late-ripening. Wines have high alcohol content and moderate acidity.
Debina White and black are the variety spread in the area of Permet, Kelcyra, Leskovik. There is little analytical data on the wines obtained from these cultivars. White Debina is the main cultivar for wines of the Ioannina area, which have 11% alcohol by volume.
Manakuq is a cultivar of pink grapes, selected, preserved and spread in the vineyards of the Balkan Peninsula. The largest area where Manakuqi is present is the triangle Albania – Montenegro – Kosovo. It is known as “Keci” in Kosovo or “Plovdina” in Podgorica. “Manakuqi” belongs to the group of Eurasian cultivars (Vitis Vinifera) in the centre of Proles Pontica.
The grapes are ripened in the first week of September and are used for the production of special pink wine in the fields of Mjeda & Zadrima, near Shkoder. Rich enough with tannins, alcohols, and acids, the wine produced by “Manakuqi” is one of the best rosé wines of Albania, typically produced in the region Lezhe – Shkodra – Koplik, which is characterized by the typical aroma of flowers.
Check our list of suggestions for some hiking trips in Albania.