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Day five of my epic Albania/Kosovo road trip continued in the town of Rahovec, Kosovo! Join me as I visit the country’s largest winery, Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery in Rahovec, Kosovo!
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After leaving the city of Gjakova earlier in the morning, my boy Erjan from Travel Media EU and I arrived in Rahovec. The town is located between Prizren and Peja, in one of the main wine-producing regions in Kosovo.
The largest winery in the country, Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery, is located there. It’s also one of the oldest in Kosovo.
We started off in the center of Rahovec, where there are lots of bars and cafés. We tried some ice-cold raki at a café and then checked out a women’s dress shop.
Then, we hopped back in the car and drove to Stone Castle.
There is one other winery and lots of smaller boutique wineries in the area, but Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery is the most famous. It’s roughly a ten-minute drive outside the town. The main building really looks like a stone fortress. It’s massive!
Outside are the American, Kosovar, and Albanian flags. The owner is actually a successful American businessman! As soon as you go inside, you enter the cellar, where there are lots of massive barrels. There, I met Anesa, who explained to me that the winery was established in 1953 and privatized in 2006.
We passed by their red and white wines in their 10,000-liter barrels. They make 30 million liters of wine annually! I’d never seen a cellar this big! They make many different types of white wines, including chardonnay. They also make reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, shiraz, Pinot Noir, merlot, and others. They even make cognac and raki!
They have lots of differently-sized barrels, including 500-liter, 2,500-liter, 10,000-liter, and more. You can’t find them anywhere else.
We saw smaller, 225-liter barrels of some of their younger, high-quality wines from 2016 and 2017. They’re made of American and Hungarian oak.
Then, we saw their stainless steel tanks, some of which can hold up to half a million liters each. They’re the biggest steel tanks I’ve ever seen in my life! Then, I saw the machine that presses the grapes and separates out the seeds before the wine goes into the tanks.
They have their own 2,243-hectare vineyard. They actively grow grapes on 700 of those hectares, and the rest is used by private farmers. They also use grapes from the private farmers.
The resort and spa will have the largest golf course in Europe, as well as a private tunnel that connects the hotel and the cellar.
Next, we tried wine directly from the barrels! Our first was a young 2019 red that was 50% cabernet and 50% merlot. It wasn’t too oaky, as it had only been there for a month. Then, we tried the same variety from 2016. It was phenomenal and had a rich color.
Then, we headed to the wine tasting room, which is open to everyone. There, they have white semi-sweets, rose, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay reserve, vranats, raki, and more! Their reds go up to 60 euros for a bottle.
The rose was made for pinot noir grapes and stayed in barrels for 5 months. Their 2015 red dry shiraz was fantastic—it’s my favorite grape! Their 10-year-old brandy is 40% alcohol and is smoky and delicious. They also have a 42% raki and a 49% one. The 49% is stronger, made from grapes, and aged longer. It’s super smooth.
Then, I bought some Stone Castle wines and brandy for friends and family before we left! What an amazing experience! Huge thanks to my friends at Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery for the opportunity.
Where have you been?
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My name is David Hoffmann. For the last 12 years, I have been traveling around the world in search of unique culture, food, and history! Since starting David’s Been Here in 2008, I have traveled to over 1,200 destinations in 80 countries, which I welcome you to check out on my YouTube channel, travel blog, and social media sites.
I focus a great deal on food and historical sites, as you probably have seen! I love to experience the different flavors that each destination has to offer, from casual street food to gourmet restaurant dining. I’m also passionate about learning about the local history and culture.
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