The Story of Kantina Mani
Family and homeland
Fatjon Mani is the owner of Kantina Mani and the 2,2 hectares of vineyard that surround it. He was born in 1981 in the village of Gruemirë where his father Tahir Man owned a large piece of land. Much of his family still lives nearby.
After the fall of the communist regime Fatjon, like many other young Albanians, left the country. He lived in Italy and later in England. He decided to return to Albania in 2011 and start a new life in the new Albania.
In 2012 Fatjon created his vineyard. He planted 7500 grape plants and built a well and an irrigation system. In the first years he sold his grapes to other winemakers and made his own wine and raki under very basic conditions in the garage of his sister.
The Dutch connection
In 2009 Sander Niemeijer from Holland bumped into Fatjon in a small restaurant in the mountains near Syracuse, Sicily. It was the start of a friendship that brought Sander to Albania in 2013 and many more times after that. Seeing the vineyard and the potential of the land they started to make plans to do more with winemaking but for some time it remained only a plan without the money.
But the dream to make their own wine remained and in 2019 Sander invited his Dutch friends Madoc van der Vegte and Bralte Keijzer to join him for a week of winemaking in Albania. All the hard work was worth all the fun and the results were surprisingly good. Fatjon said “You can make good wine from good grapes”. And this is true.
After their winemaking adventure, Fatjon and the three Dutch friends started to make plans to build a place to make good wines and to receive visitors. January 2020 marked the start of the building of Kantina Mani and the main building was completed in three months. A building was created from traditional materials such as granite and chestnut wood beams. The rocks for the outside walls come from Fatjon’s old family house.
On 7 May 2021 Kantina Mani was officially opened by the Dutch Ambassador to Albania, Mrs G. Korthals Altes.
Now Kantina Mani is producing great wines and raki and is open to visitors almost every day.
We look forward to having you as our guest!
Mire se vini!