2018’s Tour to the Albanian Wine and Uka Farm

Albanian Wine is another name of high tannic history. If you are remembering about an oldest wine manufacturing region then, I would prefer telling the name of Albania first. Astrological research suggests that geographically Albania is the oldest wine manufacturing region in Europe.

The article is based on the interview held between NippyWine and Flori Uka (owner of the Uka Farm). The quantifiable data presented below may differ as to today’s date of yours.

Albanian Wine History

The country has four wine region located separately in the border of the Adriatic Sea and Greece. Its wine is also great for a unique sweet and fruitiness that also comes in the writings of Ancient Roman writer Pliny. Throughout the Roman span, wine generation rose and became more coordinated. Decorations on many spiritual and family things bear witness to the wine-making civilization like in Butrint. Even though from the 15th century, also the most Ottoman Turks Came at Southeastern Europe. Throughout this interval, the wineries experienced a decrease and were primarily located in Christian-majority areas.

A substantial upturn started only after the Second World War, in the conclusion of that wine was cultivated on just 2737 hectares. The absolute most crucial producing area was Durrës region where the grape was coming from communist country ventures. In that period the national acreage corresponded approximately to the of tobacco but has been considerably lower compared to the olive and fruit trees. The exported wine has been consumed mostly in Germany. The export always dropped from 61,000 hectoliters from 1971 into 22,000 hectoliters from 1985. The reasons should be found chiefly in old manufacturing conditions and small technical stuff which made it hard to transfer and reduced the grade. On the flip side, the export of readily transportable grains was always in growth (around 3500 tons annually), although the shipping of new grapes has been marginal.

Wine production at Communist Albania attained its summit in 1972. Right now there have been 23 working wineries along with 47 grape manufacturing units. They lived the transition into some market economy in good shape.

Albanian wine

Albanian Uka Winery

There was a scientist who developed a biodynamic farming strategy. Yes, I am talking about Professor Uka, he who was a former Albanian minister of agriculture in 1996. Professor Uka worked in developing a single organ naturally from multiple grape organs. The biodynamic system works just without human intervention.  

Later on, his son (Flori Uka) commercially named the winery after his father’s (Uka Winery) name and has been developing another dynamic version of wine.

Flori Uka“The focus of the winery is to reconnect the Albanian market with the lost tradition of wine in both the quality and the autochthone varieties of the country. These elements were lost in the communist area and are being rediscovered now thanks to the efforts of few wine-makers.
Today, UKA Winery produces around 20’000 bottles a year. The main variety remains Kallmet, but also Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mavrud for the red wines. A special part of the portfolio is also the white wine Ceruja.” – Flori Uka

The purpose was to build a wild forest

albanian wine, uka farm

Traditionally, a vineyard has no other plant aside. Uses of medicines help to stop the entrance of insects. But, in a biodynamic farm, insects create a further plantation of separate grass and other plants.

According to Flori –

Insects are not Enemy. 1000 Years back no pesticides were there to stop insects

Flori also used organic fertilizer

To keep the biodynamic objective first, the farm uses organic fertilizers to grow its plants. The first step was to diagnose the fertility by planting sunflower. After that, natural fertilizers such as cow, goat and other horse wastage collected and used from neighboring villages. Nowadays, the farm uses green fertilizers (especially a compost type fertilizers comes from various leaves).

What else Uka Farm produce other than Wine

Apart from the grape, they also produce apples, tomatoes, green bean, peppers, plums, eggplant, and olives. They put their best effort in preserving the seeds as most of the plants are in a great risk of insects destruction.

The region also faced challenges

Most of the lands in Albania are owning by the small family. Flori buys their grapes and in another sense, he is contributing to the Albanian economy. Even though the wine production was become sluggish earlier in 1972 due to the Islamic influence but, the economy is now heading towards a better stability. Latest source shows that wine production has now crossing its peak and counting almost 49,000 acres (20,000 hectares)

What else is Awesome?

However, the best Albanian wine secret is its grape variety. Flori uses the Kallmet grape which is not available anywhere. The specialty is its deep color that comes without the help of oak wood. Its reddish residue even lasts in the glass for hours after swirling. Albanian grape

“Our purpose is to produce authocton grape varieties and promote the wine abroad to the world market as we believe they have a big potential to compete with worldwide wines. In our farm, we have 5% of grapes for wine of what we produce in our winery. The rest is harvested all over Albania where these authocton grape varieties are located, North, South, East, West. Our annual production is not the same for every year. In 2016 we harvested 18000kg of grapes. On 2017 40000kg of grapes. The quantity depends on the quality of grapes we find and not the market. Our point is to produce around 150 000 bottles per year in a good future. Always if we will have good connections with distributors that seek small family business wineries”. – Flori Uka

Major Wine Brands of UKA

Notably, three wine brands are famous from Uka. Kallmet, Ceruja, and Vera are the variety. These brands are now only a domestic brand but, exporting nationwide is in their future business expansion plan.

Moreover, Vlosh is also another specialty of Albania, comes from the Village of Narta. This is also a full-bodied wine.

The varieties Uka Farm produce there:

MAVRUD

Mavrud grapes come from South Albania in the area of Leskovik. This grape is well-known for producing a full-bodied wine with personality, structure, and longevity. It has a balanced bouquet of aromas ranging from ripe fruits and spicy herbs, with the scent of cacao derived from the oak used in the aging process.

KALLMET 

Red dry wine, with elegant red color with typical Kallmet flavors. At the nose strikes the scent of cherry and a light scent of vanilla coming from the Albanian oak used in the aging process. A back taste of caramel rounds up at the end. Flavor body and color are all in a perfect balance which makes up the quality of this wine. Because of its delicacy and balance, the Kallmet wine is better for serving at 15-17*C and fits well with starters, first courses and light meats and quality ham.Kallmet has the potential to become a collector’s product for wine connoisseurs that are looking for something unique. The wine brings passion, quality and originality from a region, which we are confident, soon will be on the new-world wine map.


BLENDED WINE (MERLOT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, KALLMET) Chimaera
 

The grapes of this wine come from central Albania 15 km from the Adriatic Sea. The vines were 9 years old at the time of the harvesting. After calculating the right acidity the harvesting goes live, tannins and sugar components need to be fit together, naturally. Each grape is hand-selected by in base of its sanity. Moreover, the grapes are then transported very gently to the winery where they have to undergo the fine processes of vinification. During this process, the winemaker puts his passion, love, and knowledge to extract the best components out of these grapes that are the base of a great wine.

So, what is important during this processes of vinification, is the fact that the wine is composed by living cells and they have to feel in their habitat to live in good conditions and develop the best flavors of each grape variety in this wine. By respecting their habitat means, creating the best temperature conditions they need and continuous monitoring of temperature until the last process they submit to the winery. Our objective is to maintain our product natural, without adding acidity, tannins, and sugar to correct the balance of a wine.

Again, the climate in Albania is perfect for a great balanced maturity of grapes, which gives us the opportunity, to leave Mother Nature equilibrate these components in the grapes that will fit perfectly in this wine and intervene with professional scientific methods that respect the sanity of the wine.Merlot, Cabernet, Kallmet combines the flavors and characteristics of these well-known red wines. The Cabernet lends its sturdy structure and robust flavors to form the backbone of this wine. Kallmet contributes its signature elegance and red fruit scents, while the Merlot adds softness and longevity.

The combination of the bigger Cabernet and Kallmet with the temperate Merlot creates a smooth, velvety wine. It is supple and flavorsome with elements of plum, dark chocolate, and berries making up the bouquet. This is a beautiful wine with a smooth, silky finish. It’s delicious when paired with grilled red meat, saucy pasta, and strong cheeses.

CERUJA 

Ceruja Wine has some very rare characteristics that make this product unique. The Ceruja vines grow wild in the Nor

Go and have a meal

Just imagine, you are sitting on Uka’s table. A four years old white Ceruja will come in front of you as an appetizer. It’s a full-bodied wine with 13.5% alcohol that gives a heavy mouthfeel. Followed by this, there can be a grilled chicken, lamb, beef or sausage are coming with the Uka’s best red wine. Can’t write anymore. Just imagining the combo smell in front of me.

Uka FarmLearn More:

  1. Beginners’ guide to wine etiquette
  2. Definitive buying guide for wine coolers
  3. Details of wine decanter, Everything you need to know
  4. Learn – what gives you a wine headache and why!

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