Vineyards and wine in Albania

(from “Report on existing GAPs and Best Practices”) Slightly more than one in ten farmers (35,666 farmers out of 320000 farms in Albania) have vineyards, employing (an estimated) 70 thousand people. Since the year 2000, the production of grapes from vineyards in Albania has increased drastically: in 2019 compared to 2000, the production of vineyard grape increased 3.5 times (from a low base of 35,522 tons in 2000 to 113,854 tons in 2019). During 2000ies, area under grape has been growing rapidly – it almost doubled. The growing trend in vineyard plantation continued in the last decade as well when the vineyard area has increased by 115 ha per year reaching 10,842 ha in 2019.

Despite positive development at vineyard farming, wine production in Albania is relatively small compared to its potentials. In 2019, Albania produced 23,470 tons of wine. After a steep increase between 2000 and 2013 (wine production increase 5 times, from 7413 tons in 2000 to 38,000 tons in 2013), wine production dropped drastically to 23,300 tons in 2014 and remained almost stable till 2019. Though stagnation seems to be the trend in wine production, a more detailed suggests an upward trend particularly for wineries producing high and medium quality wine.
Albania has a clear trade deficit in wine. Imports have been growing over time from 2,549 tons in 2010 to 4,934 tons in 2019. Exports are very modest and fluctuation between 5 and 28 tons. This combination of growing import and modest exports has resulted in a growing trade deficit; the trade deficit increased from 4.4 million Euro in 2010 to 11.0 million Euro ne 2019.

In the wine sector, there is a potential to substitute imports (there is unmet and even growing demand for wine in Albania) and also benefit from the growing tourism market, if quality and efficiency improvements -were to be pursued at farm/grape production level and processing level. The wine value chain is considered a priority sector considering import substitution potential and the specific link to (agro) tourism.

The leading region in terms of vineyard area is the Fier region, contributing with about 19.5% of total vineyard area. Other important producing regions are Elbasan, Vlora and Berat, which together with Fier make up more than half (54.4%) of total vineyard area. Similar pattern is observed in term of pergola. Total grape production from vineyard at country level is 113,854 tons. Fier park is by far the region with largest grape production (34.8 thousand ton, or 31% of total production), followed by Elbasan (16.5 thousand tons, or 14% of total production), Durres (11.1 thousand tons or 10% or total production) and Tirana (9.5 thousand tons or 8% of total production). Vlora has however the largest grape production form pergola, followed by Elbasan and Shkoder.

Wine processing industry is concentrated in Durres, Berat, Elbasan, Vlora, Tirana, and Shkoder. These six regions make up dose to % of (73%) of alcoholic/wine processing units. The distribution of wineries, by areas (quarks) and the quality groups identified, indicate potential areas for developing wine clusters in following quarks: Durres, Vlora, Berat, Tirana and Elbasan.

Albania has a clear trade deficit in wine. Imports have been growing over time from 2,549 tons in 2010 to 4,934 tons in 2019. Exports are very modest and fluctuating between 5 and 28 tons. This combination of growing import and modest exports has resulted in a growing trade deficit; the trade deficit has increased from 4.4 million Euro in 2010 to 11.0 million Euro ne 2019. The trade deficit is also stagnating during latest three years following the pattern of imports.
Though export is modest, field interviews support that wine export is becoming an option. All wineries producing medium to high quality wine report exports. The price of export is quite remunerative ranging from 8.00 to 11.00 Euro per litre; and sometimes even higher.

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