College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Improving and Expanding a Winery

Village of Velika Hoca
Photo Credit: Joe Fiola
View of Velika Hoca, from the Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo

IPAN is working with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Baltimore, MD, to expand the Velika Hoča winery in western Kosovo.    In October 2015, Joe Fiola, AGNR's  Viticulture Specialist, and Dan Kugler, IPAN, traveled to Velika Hoca to work with Father Marko on expanding the winery and improving the quality of the grapes and wine. Father Marko is a monk in the Visoki Decani Monastery, which has been making wine in the valley for 600 years.  By expanding the winery, the Monastery hopes to improve the community living standards by buying more grapes from the area farmers.  The proceeds from the sale of the wine go to humanitarian aid for the local community.

Dr. Joe Fiola, UMD Extension viticulture specialist, is preparing tannins to be added to the wine samples.  (Photo credit: Nenad Prelevic, IOCC)

We are also working with the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Pristina to improve grain, vegetable and fruit production in vulnerable rural communities there. IOCC is installing grain mills for the farmers to process their locally rown grains.  The flour will then be used for  humanitarian aid and commercial bread products to be sold by the Monastery.   The Agriculture college is interested in developing cooperative extension, in which the university would conduct scientific research and work with farmers and agri-businesses to improve the quality and production of broiler chickens, eggs, vegetables and other food. 

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