Gianluca Bisol’s desire to rediscover the ancient wines from Venice has proven to be a mammoth yet worthwhile undertaking. The Venissa vineyard in Mozzorbo was planted a decade ago and the first vintage of Venissa Bianco produced in 2010. The high density of ungrafted planting also further increases the concentration. Made in miniscule quantities, with under 5,000 bottles produced each year, Venissa has fast become a cult wine for esoteric wine collectors and connoisseurs in the know.


In 2011, the winery also started to produce a red wine, Venissa Rosso, made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, grown on the nearby island of Santa Cristina.


The grape variety Dorona di Venezia was only recently rediscovered when Gianluca Bisol (whose family has owned vineyards in the Prosecco region for hundreds of years) visited a cathedral on the island of Torcello and stumbled across a number of vines growing in a small domestic garden. Following DNA testing, it was confirmed the vines were the long lost Venetian varietal. The varietal is a natural cross between Garganega and Bernestia Bianca and its existence for the past millennia in this humid, wet region has resulted in a natural resistance to fungal disease. It also has the ability to produce high concentration of flavour, despite its access to excess water, without suffering from dilution.


The discovery of the varietal set the wheels in motion for the great revival of this rare Venetian grape. Through further searching around the region, 88 original Dorona vines were discovered, propagated, re-propagated and planted on one of the original vineyard sites surrounded by medieval walls, on the small island of Mazzorbo. Mazzorbo is connected to the neighbouring island of Burano (famed for its guild of lace makers) by a wooden footbridge. The vineyard is a beautiful garden vineyard surrounded by water and overlooked by a fifteenth century bell tower – it is an extraordinary site and these days the only premium vineyard in Venice.




Due to the vineyard being just one metre above sea level, there is no space for the roots. They can’t grow in depth so, naturally, they have adapted to grow on the surface, superficially. The vines therefore require fresh water from the rain to clean the salinity from their roots, having shallow roots therefore is necessary for the vines to survive. Ironically it is the shallow roots system that makes it possible for the vines to survive and the essential stress on the grapes comes not from lack of water, but through the stress caused by the high salt content in the water. This stress creates the complexity of flavour in the grapes; a perfect natural balance that is a miracle and pretty unique to this type of viticulture.




Grape growing in the Venetian lagoon has in fact existed on-and-off since at least the 1100s. There were even vineyards on the iconic Piazza San Marco during medieval times. First planted in the lagoon in the 1100s, the indigenous varietal of the region is the Dorona di Venezia grape. Named Dorona (derived from d’oro) due to its unique golden colour, it was first planted by monks that settled in the area. Although the monks had left by the 1400s, it continued to be grown on the islands surrounding Venice until the mid-1900s, albeit in small quantities, and was largely consumed by Venetian aristocrats in the Doge’s Palace. Following the great flood of 1966, in which practically all agriculture that existed in the Venetian lagoon was wiped out, it was thought that this incredibly rare varietal had been lost forever.


The Venissa vineyard is part of a bigger restoration project in which Gianluca wants to reintroduce the agricultural heritage that existed on the islands surrounding Venice before the floods of 1966. The vineyard is completely organic and no sulphur or copper is used on the vineyard, using seaweed as an environmental alternative.



2011 Venissa Rosso Tenuta Venissa Northern Italy

2011 Venissa Rosso Northern Italy


0 Venissa Bianco Collection (2011, 2012, 2013) Tenuta Venissa Northern Italy

0 Venissa Bianco Collection (2011, 2012, 2013) Northern Italy


0 Venissa Bianco Collection (2010, 2011, 2012) Tenuta Venissa Northern Italy

0 Venissa Bianco Collection (2010, 2011, 2012) Northern Italy


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