When I first heard about Venissa, I was baffled. Think of Venice and its waterways, and viticulture is unlikely to be the first thing to come to mind. But the lagoon as a long history of agriculture, with vines long an integral part of that tradition. And the indigenous Dorona grape, rescued from the brink of extinction by Gianluca Bisol (the Prosecco patriarch), has adapted to this waterlogged environment. The resulting wines are unique, really. Savoury, saline, pithy, textured and – with age – increasingly nutty. Wines that sit on the spectrum of Fino and Manzanilla, Savagnin sous voile and white Hermitage – they’re whites that deserve food, time and attention.
I sat down with Matteo Bisol, Gianluca’s son and Venissa’s CEO/winemaker, to talk about the wines and his family’s remarkable quest to save Venice’s viticultural heritage.