Vineyards in Kosovo are bearing fruit for the first time in more than a decade because of a joint regeneration programme developed from the European Commission, The United Nations and the European Agency for Reconstruction.

In 1990, nearly 10,000 acres of vineyards produced high-quality wine to traditional recipes, 80% of which was exported creating a thriving wine industry in the region.

However, in the decade of political chaos that followed, these wineries suffered severe repercussions from the lack of maintenance. EU studies indicate that many vines had not been pruned for five years, a situation made worse by the thick undergrowth and damaged trellises. Other vineyards were destroyed by fire during the conflict.

Now, a total of 4,087 hectares of vineyards have been rehabilitated in the regions of Gjakova, Rahovec, Istog and Suhareka. About 2,900 people from the local villages were employed to prune the vines, cut back the trellises and replant grape seed varieties such as Kardinal, Riesling, Tamjank and Black Game, which have been successfully converted into table wine.

Wuria Karadaghy, project organiser from the UN, told the project was a complete success. He said: "This project was not only vital in renewing wine production in Kosovo and bringing in jobs and money for the locals but also through winemaking, the identity and the culture of the people has been rekindled."