Venissa is a project launched by the Bisol family, a winemaking family that has been producing Prosecco in nearby Valdobbiadene for centuries. Gianluca Bisol, a talented winemaker with an entrepreneurial spirit, became fascinated by the idea of Venice’s long-lost wine and set out to search for the lagoon’s native grape, a rare variety known as Dorona, named for its vibrant golden color. Bisol rediscovered a few lonely vines on the nearby island of Torcello and replanted them within the walled vineyard of Mazzorbo, giving new life to this forgotten grape.
Wine has been produced in Venice for millennia, though it’s only thanks to a modern resurgence that we’re able to enjoy it today. The lagoon’s salty water and remote location turn otherwise simple tasks into trying endeavors, and the threat of acqua alta, or ‘high water’, can make farming difficult and sometimes even impossible. In 1966, the city suffered catastrophic flooding and much of its agricultural land was wiped out — including its fragile vineyards. The native grapes were forgotten by history until the turn of the century, when an oenological revival started sweeping across the Venetian lagoon.
Rich in flavor from the salty water and with bold tannins, Dorona di Venezia was famously enjoyed by the Venetian Doges at their banquets but was thought to have gone extinct after the floods in the ’60s.
Today, Dorona grapes are used to create the estate’s highly-sought after Venissa wine, which is priced at over €100 a bottle. In homage to Venice’s artisanal traditions, the bottles are produced on the island of Murano, which is famous for glass- blowing techniques; the golden labels are made by the Battioro family, the last gold leaf-producing family in Venice. Each bottle is numbered by hand, and only 3,000 bottles are produced each year.