Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Mediterranean country situated on the Adriatic coast between montenegro and greece with a history closely linked to agriculture, particularly viticulture. Albania claims one of Europe’s longest histories of vine-growing. French historian Henri Enjalbert considered Albania, the Ionian Islands of Greece, and southern Dalmatia in what is now bosnia and herzegovina may well have been the last European refuge of the vine after the Ice Age. Wine production is believed to have been practised by the inhabitants of Albania in the Bronze Age, and there are written accounts of vines being cultivated in Illyria (as Albania was known in Classical times) as early as the 8th century bc. Until the Ottoman invasion in the late 15th century, vines were grown in every region, and every parish church had its vineyard. The Ottoman occupation of Albania (1479–1913), followed by a period of uncertainty between the two World Wars, and the isolationist communist regime suppressed the development of the Albanian wine industry, but there is a very considerable level of viticultural potential in this small country, particularly due to the presence of its distinctive indigenous vine varieties.