Heart of the business Winery and agriculture
Vendodhja Shko te harta
Nearby UNESCO world heritage city of Berat, Mount Tomorr.
Two daily public minibuses (furgon) from Berat to Roshnik leaving from the “Spitali” neighbourhood in Berat. By private car, 30 minute drive northeast of Berat,asphalt road.
8 rooms, private and dorm. Dorm room from €10/person,
Private room from €30/night
What to do
Farm tour, wine tasting, picnic down at the lake, hikes
What to bring back
A bottle of barrel-aged Merlot Kabernet or the region’s
autochtonous Pulës white wine.
Perched in the rolling hills beneath Mount Tomorr lies the village of Roshnik, home to 120 families, a 30-minute drive north-east of Berat, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and orchards. Kantina Alpeta is located at the end of the asphalt road through the village and past the mosque.
A truly family-run business, Alpeta comprises a family winery, guesthouse and recently added restaurant, all run by the brothers Alfred and Petrit Fiska. Alfred, the quieter of the two, mostly takes care of the vineyards, while Petrit, more outgoing, happily shows around guests. Their older brother Ilirian owns the well-established slow-food restaurant in the centre of the village, just a few minutes’ walk. In both establishments you will find three generations of the Fiska family serving their guests.
The winery you see today started off as a small enterprise by their father Beqir, who was an agronomist during the communist period. Using his expertise, he started planting his own grapes in 1992, to produce his first wine in 1994. At first, the family sold only open wine and raki, and with the profit they made, expanded their business. The first years of democracy in the 1990s were spent acquiring land and consolidating the scattered family properties communist expropriation and reallocation left throughout the country. In 2005, the first bottled wine was sold in supermarkets and restaurants in the nearby cities of Berat, Lushnja and Fier.
Since then, Alpeta winery has come a long way. In 2018, the winery produced about 50,000 bottles of wine and has made a name for itself through supplying numerous restaurants in Tirana and the south of the country. Touring the extensive 5.5-hectare vineyards, you’ll come across several kinds or grapes cultivated on the farm: the local Albanian autochthonous shesh i zi, the pulës variety of the Berat area, rrush dimeror (winter grape) xas well as some internationally known varieties like cabernet, merlot and muscat.
From these, the family produces a merlot-cabernet blend, both barrel and non-barrel aged, a white pulës, and a clear and barrel-aged grape raki, the latter with wooden notes and a golden colour. Over the years the brothers have acquired expertise and experience, refining their products’ flavours. They admit that making good-quality wine was a challenge in the beginning, a learning process that they only mastered through trial and error, finding the best varieties suitable for open wine, bottling and ageing.
The shift from a simple winery to an agritourism business came gradually for Alfred and Petrit, after tourists sampling their wine in Berat asked to visit the winery. As Petrit is based in Berat, working as the director of water supply for rural areas, the brothers started to show visitors around their vineyards and production facilities two years ago. Demand quickly increased and by April 2019, with the help of a governmental grant, the family transformed their house into guest rooms for tourists and extended the wine cellar across the road into a rustic restaurant, featuring a natural stone, wood and wicker interior, part of it being used as a raki distillery.
A stay at the family’s guesthouse encompasses the full farm stay experience. The immaculately kept, peaceful garden invites visitors to sit and rest under the shade of a giant walnut tree. There are views on all sides of the surrounding green hills, and behind the house lies part of the village that is still home to a few traditional houses. The majestic double-peaked Mount Tomorr lies in the distance. This setting is perfect for wine tasting, accompanied by home-grown olives, nuts, and local cheese, and usually either Alfred or Petrit, often assisted by their English-speaking children, is happy to join for a chat, showing that they care about their guests just as much as about their wine.
After some rest, a tour of the family property will give you a good overview of the agricultural potential of the area. Like the villages around Roshnik, agricultural income here mainly comes from orchards and olive cultivation. In between the rows of grapevines, you can see large fig trees, while the steeper parts of the land are covered in olive groves. Roshnik is well-known in Albania for its high-quality dried figs, but the for the Fiska family they serve an additional purpose: the trees provide a natural trellis for the pulës grapevines, which grow on trees and thrive in the slightly cooler conditions of the trees’ shade. Yet another reason for having the vineyards interspersed with fig trees is that they keep undesired insects away from the grapes.
Apart from figs and olives, there are a range of other fruit and nut trees on the farm, including pomegranates, citrus, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, while a row of wooden bee boxes allows the family to produce their own honey. From the terrace of the Alpeta restaurant, you catch a glimpse over one of the vegetable patches where aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, okra and other produce grow before making its way onto your plate. Meat, especially traditionally goat, and dairy that are used at the restaurant are sourced from the villages along the nearby slopes of Mount Tomorr.
At the bottom of the Fiska’s property lies a reservoir, about 15 minutes’ walk from the guest house, where the family are planning to create a picnic area for visitors to relax and enjoy, and potentially use for wine tastings, too. The wider surroundings offer hikes in the nearby Lepija forest (2 to 3 hours), to Dukova canyon (3 hours), Sotira waterfall (4 hours), to the nearly deserted village of Sazhdan (5 hours) or for experienced hikers all the way up to the Partizani peak of Mount Tomorr (6 hours to the top). Some of these hikes require a guide and an approach by an off-road vehicle, which your hosts can arrange upon request.
Even without any additional activities, just staying around the guesthouse and sitting in the family garden feels like a little, quiet paradise, cut off from the rest of the world, and just one night in Roshnik will refresh you like a weeklong holiday. Watching the sun set over the village and bathing Mount Tomorr in the most astounding shades of red creates a truly magical setting you’ll want to return back.