Pulëz is an old Albanian grape variety. It is also known as verdhëza or landari. This grape has been selected over centuries by Albanian farmers, mainly in the southern areas of the country, including Berat, Skrapar, Përmet, Tepelena, and Gjirokastra. It can also be found in
Elbasan, Librazhd, Gramsh, and Mat. It grows best in areas with a transitional Mediterranean climate with high temperature fluctuations.
Pulëz is often grown on arbors, and the vines used to be grown up trees. It produces a lot of buds and an abundance of high-quality grapes no matter what pruning system is used. This variety is less susceptible to powdery mildew disease than many other varieties. It can be planted in areas up to 700 meters above sea level. Weeding and harvesting is still done by hand.
Pulëz grapes ripen a bit later than other local grape varieties; it is usually harvested in early fall. Pulëz is usually intended for the production of white 31 table wines with high alcohol content. Families that grow this variety also use it as a table grape, but the fruit is not found for sale in produce shops.
The pulëz grape is closely tied to the rural communities around the above- mentioned cities. Celebrations and feasts linked to raki making and grape harvesting still take place in the countryside. Pulëz raki was often served at wedding parties, which were organized in September after the raki was produced. In recent years, many Albanian villages have begun to celebrate local feasts dedicated to their typical local produce. Several wineries organize a celebration of pulëz wine each September.
Pulëz vines are often grown beside oak trees, and the raki made from these grapes is known as raki e lisit or “oak raki.” The pressed grapes usually ferment for about 25 days.
With the revival of viticulture in the area, some wineries in around Berat and Përmet have started using pulëz to make table wine. Pulëz raki and wine are sold in small shops and supermarkets. The highest-quality products are sold through organic store chains created in recent years. Raki e lisit is mostly a household product.
The departure of young people from rural areas poses an obvious risk to the future of traditional farming and local varieties. Also, many areas that were planted with pulëz vines have been replaced with other cultivars, such as Merlot and Cabernet. Growing pulëz in new areas presents challenges, as the variety must adapt to new conditions.
Winemakers use pulëz for the production of raki (a distilled spirit) as well as for the production of wine and vinegar. Local communities also used this grape to dye bread during the winter, and for fruit juice. Pulëz grapes are also used for the preparation of medley grapes, which is usually served with nuts and bread.