Gian Luca Bisol Revives an Ancient Grape Varietal
In 2019 I had a memorable visit to the island of Mazzorbo where a local family has revived Venetian Wine Making.
In 30 minutes from the Fondamente Nove we arrived at Mazzorbo. Where we met the lovely Hotel manager Audrey di Fruscia at the Venissa Resort.
Audrey showed us around the six room resort. That is a haven of peace and tranquility. The Architecture of the historic spaces combine with innovation of quality Italian design.
The vegetable gardens tended by the locals on the Island. That are welcome to their seasonal share of seasonal herbs and vegetables. Together with the Estates one star Michelin restaurant and Osteria. Enjoy outdoor dining at both locations amoungst the historical vineyards. You can take a lovely walk over a small pedestrian bridge to the island of Burano. Enjoy drinks and aperitivo along the iconic colorful canals.
There are mulitple facets that makes this wine resort so special. It begins with heroic viticulture. For centuries the Venetian lagoon produced grape varietals. On the island of Torcello there is a historical vineyard that dates as far back as the Roman Empire. There were even grapes growing in Piazza San Marco in 1100! Many varietals became lost after the flood of 1966.
As we made our way through the enchanting gardens we met the proud owner Gian Luca Bisol. Gian Luca Bisol is the president of Prosecco and Cartizze wine estate. Founded by Gian Luca's family in 1542.
Gian Luca discovered the vineyard on the island of Mazzorbo by chance. The abbandoned vineyard was part of the monastery of Sant Eufemia. An antique dealer who owned the garden showed Gian Luca a vine planted by her father. The name of varietal was 'Dorona'. Gian Luca noticed the vine had a particular leaf. He became very curious about this unknown varietal. He contacted Carla Coco a historian friend. Carla researched the historical archives of Venetian Grape varietals. They managed to find eighty eight different types. This is when they started their scientific research.
Together with a team of agronomists that included Leone Braggio and Stefano Zaninotti. Enologist Roberto Cipressi they managed to recuperate a piece of Venice. The Dorona Grape skins maturate with the juice for a long length of time. As Desiderio Bisol explains Venissa Wine is the perfect balance between a red and white wine. It has the robust and longevitiy of a red wine. With the elegance and freshness of a white wine.
The next challenge was to dress the wine. Gian luca met with one of the fathers of Murano glass making Giovanni Moretti. Giovanni designed the bottle with the gold leaf label. The bottle is hand made in Murano. The gold leaf label at Mario Berta Battiloro. Berta Battiloro is the last of the Three Hundred gold leaf workshops that once existed in Venice
Venissa produces four thousand half litre bottles, a few magnums, Jeraboam and Imperials. The vineyard has the lowest yield of grapes produced per hectare in the world. This is due to its terroir. The natural salt waters of the lagoon. Where at times the entire vineyard can in water 'acqua alta'.
As we sip on Venissa wine made from 'The Golden Grapes of Venice'. Gian Luca recounts the story of Venissa Wine Resort at one of the biggest satisfactions in his life.
To learn more about the Story of Venissa and its ancient grape varietal Dorona check out this youtube video