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Description to Albania
The area is considered in some sources to be one of the cradles of European viticulture. Wine-growing goes back to the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. Already in the 8th century B.C. there was cultivated viticulture in Illyria. Early Roman authors mention the introduction of a high-yield Illyrian grape variety to Italy. In the 7th century B.C. Greek colonies were founded. Around 350 B.C. an independent kingdom of Illyria was established. In the middle of the 2nd century B.C. the empire was conquered by the Romans and became the province of Illyricum around 30 B.C. From the end of the 4th century A.D. onwards, it then belonged to the Byzantine Empire for many centuries. From the beginning of the 16th century until independence in 1912 it was under Turkish rule. During this time, viticulture was insignificant due to the ban on alcohol.
After the Second World War, a new start was made, with the first grafted vines being planted. In 2012, the area under vines covered 10,000 hectares, which was double that of 2000. 190,000 hectolitres of wine were produced (see Wine Production Quantities). Only about 20% is used for wine production. About 30% goes into the production of raisins and table grapes. The main part with 50% is used for the distillation ofRaki (schnapps), especially popular is the traditional, high-proof marc spirit "Raki Rrushi".
The most important wine growing areas are Shkodra with for example the municipality of Kallmet (northwest), the hills around the capital Tirana with for example the municipality of Lundër (center), Berat and Përmet (south), Durrës (central east), Korça (southeast) and Lushnja (southwest). In the interior of the country there are partly terraced vineyards up to 1,300 meters above sea level, making them among the highest in the world. Many autochthonous varieties are cultivated. These are the white wine varieties Debina Kala, Debine e Bardhë, Kryqëz, Pulës, Shesh i Bardhë and Tajka e Bardhë, and the red wine varieties Debine e Zezë, Gomaresh, Kallmet, Serina e Zeze, Shesh i Zi and Vlosh. The most important international varieties include Aligoté, Barbera and Mavrud.