The area of Tirana is typical for the cultivation of at least two local, autochthonous grape vine varieties, namely “Sheshi i bardhe” (White sheshi) and “Sheshi i zi” (Black sheshi), respectively the first used for making white vine and the later for red. Furthermore, there is a long tradition in the area for the production of vine that goes back for centuries, hence this pilot project intends to promote and re-vitalise this experience and offer income generating opportunities to both rural and urban households of Tirana region.
Family Wine Producers Associations of Albania - AlbaniaLead applicant
Family Wine Producers Association of Albania (FWPAA) is founded in 2010 actually have 140 member. The association joins are wine producers in family basis and professionals enologists, university professors, students and wine degusting amateurs. The main objectives of FWPAA are: to group the vineyard owners and wine producers to protect their economic interests; to disseminate technical and scientific literature to improve techniques of vineyards agriculture practices and in parallel to orientate the wine production towards world best practices; promoting of local wines based on geographical regions and agro-tourisms initiatives through the implementation of objectives and sustainable development and positive outcomes will impact the rural economy; organizing of training courses for wine making, art of wine degustation and quality indicators. The scientific consulting offered by this association is in accordance with best technological practices, from farm-to-fork.
Vora Municipality - AlbaniaInitiative partner
Vora Municipality is located near Tirana city and is the main governmental body for Vora Region.
Faculty of Natural Science - AlbaniaInitiative partner
Faculty of Natural Sciences (FNS) is part of Tirana University and it is a key center in Albania for the preparation of senior specialists in computing, mathematics, physics, chemistry, industrial chemistry, biology, biotechnology. FNS is also important institution for preparing teachers for secondary schools in the subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and informatics system.
The initiative was borne by a handful of people in the early years after the political change of the 90s when people starting to implement their entrepreneur skills long forgotten during the 50 years of the Communist regime. It started originally with the homemade production of local “raki” or the grappa since many producers had much experience in this product. Latter they realised that wine had great potential for the local market and here the FWPAA came along with its training and technical support. Tremendous progress has been made. Many wine producers own also vineyards around the country where they implement organic farming, a must for producing good quality wine. However, much of the support provided by the Association is related to in-house wine making technology.
a. Re-establishing cultivation of local grapevine varieties in the hilly area of Tirana and Durres, central Albania;
b. Identification of best communication tools to distribute to Association members advanced technologies in wine production;
c. To link local wine production with valorisation of local food products and enhancing zero CO2 emission in food consumption
d. Establish public private partnerships
e. Support the growth of the tourism sectors in Albania.
Sustainable tourism in Albania has to merge with local conditions. One way to reach this is to combine wine tourism with local wine producers, local restaurants and the cultural heritage. There are already on-going initiatives in this, as few tour operators operate from the Tirana airport and the port of Durres several of such organised wine tours in the surroundings of both cities. Wine tourism in Albania is still at the first steps, but has been increasing steadily over the past decade.
The most successful wine regions of Albania have adopted some best practices in wine production which enable them to provide tourists with memorable experiences that keep them coming back time after time. Some of these best practices are mentioned below:
Wine Roads – The wine and food tours include local restaurants, hotels, and touristic sites.
Wine Community Partnerships involving all local stakeholders in support of their efforts to offer tourists the most memorable moments.
Unique Partnerships –to emphasise the values of local grapevine varieties such as a “Shesh i bardhë” and “Shesh i zi”. A good example is the Vineyards & Winery Vila -.Shehi. The event is held every spring in Tirana, where the local wineries match their wines to many different types of grill beef, and local restaurants pair up with wineries to showcase their culinary tradition.
“Green” or Ecotourism Focus .For wine tourists who seek organic and biodynamic wines, or those who enjoy begin around nature and in the outdoors, a newer best practice is an emphasis on “green” or ecotourism aspects of wine in Vila –Duka Vineyards and Winery.
Existing results show that the symbiosis between wine production, local food gastronomic testing and the tourism industry are having great benefits. More importantly foreigners are ever more nicely surprised by the quality of the services offered. Their numbers are in progressive increase every year. This promotes the overall economic growth of the country and the wellbeing of local people.
The beneficiaries are local vine producers of the Tirana and Durres area, numerous restaurant owners, and various tour operators
A dozen of people are involved, from vineyard –growers, to wine producers, consumers, local and typical restaurants focused in wine tourism.
Most important obstacles to be still overcome or kep under control relate to two aspects: 1) best practices in grapevine cultivation and 2) strict application of wine producing technology following high quality standards. Efforts are underway to improve agricultural practices in the grapevines with the support from the Agricultural University of Tirana.
Being a household process the environmental aspects of local wine production are limited. One problem of concern could the dump of waste after the cycle of vine production is completed. Efforts are under way with the support of the experts from the Agricultural University of Tirana to engage in transforming and processing these waste to compost to be used as organic fertiliser. In this way the cycle will be totally closed and the soil will receive the nutrients moved away.
Knowledge dissemination is underway. The Association is increasing its members throughout the country totalling more than 80 right now. Numerous workshops and seminars were organised and other are planned. The intention is to expand this very positive experience from the Tirana and Durres region in many other areas of Albania.
Dissemination include face to face discussions with grapevine farmers and vine producers as well as organisation of numerous training seminars and study tours. A web page is also under construction. Translation will be provided also in English, Italian and German.