Did that title just blow your mind? That is the same reaction I had the first time I ever heard about Venissa! A vineyard in Venice? Why did this blow my mind? Because wine grape vines don’t like to have “wet feet” and I know that Venice tends to have this who water issue…its called a lagoon…and flooding. So, before I get into all the details about wine nerdy stuff let me share with you how to visit Venice’s floating winery of Venissa!
We left for our tasting at Venissa from San Marco’s square using the ferry line #14 from the “Marco San Zaccaria” station (which takes about an hour and 20 mins) you can take this all the way to the island of Burano (which is the island famous for Lace) and then you can take a short walk across a bridge to the neighboring island of Mazzorbo where the beautiful vineyard of Venissa rests.
When we visited I was very intrigued to learn about the minor phenomena a unique grape like Dorona varietal could survive – like a massive flooding of salt water that happened in 1966!
Little background history time! So, Venice sits as the capital of the region of Veneto which also is better known as the Prosecco DOC region of Italy! Which means, like the rest of Italy, there is a TON of wine to be had in this region. However, since Venice is a lagoon you don’t really think about grapes being grown on or around the islands. This is where I was shocked! It was 2017 when I first watched a video about Venissa and the “Golden grape of Venice” and visiting Venice’s floating winery.
At first I thought for sure it was a gag video on Facebook because there was NO way that grapes would be able to grow successfully – you know with all my infinite wisdom in the wine industry after only working in it for a year…*insert face palm here*.
History of Dorona in Venice
Back to the story – in 1966 there was a HUGE flood that basically almost took out many of the smaller islands of Venice and overran the vineyard which had been established in 1100AD and maintained by the monks who lived at the monastery that once was here – you can still see the iconic bell tower. But thanks to a team of experts in lagoon history, the last 88 vine plants that survived the flood were found.
During their research, experts met Gastone, a farmer who produced a small amount of wine for his family and used the traditional winemaking methods of the lagoon, including the long skin maceration that give Dorona its impressive longevity. Subsequently, Roberto Cipresso and Desiderio Bisol, Venissa’s enologists, were inspired to produce a white wine with the body and structure of a red.
A few years later, Gianluca Bisol’s dream became a reality when he found an estate on the island of Mazzorbo located just steps away from the island of Burano. It is a small estate surrounded by medieval walls and a 14th-century belfry located in the vineyard. As you walk around the property you can see it is surrounded by water on all sides, is crossed by a canal and has its own fishery. The land is what can only be referred to as extreme, and agronomists did not advise planting vines there because of its high salt content.
Walking through the vineyards and hearing about the struggle that both winemakers and the land endure because of the location of the vineyards (because they now have two but the one we visited is the original vineyard site). But because of the salt water that the vines soak up you’ll get a lot of minerality and strong notes of the salty terroir of Native Venice. In 2011, Rosso Venissa was first introduced; made with grapes from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines grown on the nearby island of Santa Cristina. From the same vineyard, in 2013, Rosso Venusa was born.
Book your Tour
You have to book a head of time for a tasting and tour and they have several packages available for wine lovers and enthusiasts alike – you can book by clicking here
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