Albania may not be known for its wine, but the country is home to some of the best wineries in the Balkans and one of the oldest grape variety in the world, kallmet. Until a few years ago, few people in Albania were aware of the value of their land’s wines. The truth is that Albania has nothing to envy neighbor countries in terms of wine production. Nowadays, a new generation of Albanian winemakers and enologists -who studied abroad, mostly Italy or France- are starting to produce excellent wines. The Adriatic country, with its good climate and strategic position near the sea, is the perfect place for many grape varieties: the most common varieties of indigenous Albanian grapes are Shesh, Debin, Vranac Vlosh, and of course Kallmet, among others.
The wine-making tradition of Albania is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the Bronze Age. During the Roman and Byzantine periods, the country’s wine production increased significantly, although under Ottoman rule there was a decline in production. During the communist dictatorship, there were several operating wineries and grape production sites handled only by the regime (under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, agriculture became cooperative and the country self-sufficient, private ownerships were forbidden). Things are now changed. The Balkan country can be divided into four big wine regions, including the coastal plains, the eastern-sub mountainous region, the mountains and the central hilly region.
Located 11 km far from the town of Lezhë, in the village of Kallmet i Vogël, Kantina Kallmeti is well-known in Albania for its tradition of grape cultivation. This winery hidden in the hilly area of Kallmet, was established in 2006 by the Gjini family with a huge love for her land and a great passion for good wine. The award-winning Kallmet Prestigj (silver medal at the Balkans Wine International Competition 2019) is a red wine produced following a careful manual selection of the grapes harvested, about two weeks after the harvest. It is aged for 24 months and kept in the bottle for a year before being introduced to the market. Kantina Kallmet produces raki liquor and olive oil too.
Find out more about Kantina Kallmeti
Location: Kallmet i Vogël, Lezhë, Albania