Day five of my epic Albania and 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!
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. I’d heard lots of great things about it, so I couldn’t wait to go there and try some of their amazing wines!
We started off in the center of Rahovec, where there are lots of bars and cafés. Our first stop was a café, where we tried some smooth and ice-cold raki. It was so good! Then, we met a guy there who invited us to check out his clothing shop in town.
It was a woman’s dress shop. In the back, they were sewing lots of beautiful creations! Then, we hopped back in the car and drove to Stone Castle. I was amazed by the friendliness of the people in Rahovec. They were very hospitable and didn’t even charge us for the raki. Rahovec may not have many attractions, but you should still come for the people. They’re amazing!
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. They’re building a resort there that will be open in the future. 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. Stone Castle Winery makes 30 million liters of wine annually! I’d never seen a cellar this big! They make many different types of white wines, including chardonnay, as well as reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, shiraz, Pinot Noir, and merlot. 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.
Stone Castle has 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 Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery 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 (unlike the cellar, which is for VIPs). 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 back to Gjakova! What an amazing experience! Huge thanks to my friends at Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery for the opportunity to visit. I also have to give a huge shout-out to everyone at Travel Media EU and Rental Car Albania for making this trip so special!
I hope you liked coming with me to Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery in Rahovec, Kosovo! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!