If you are a wine lover staying in Venice these are the best local wines you have to try, plus 4 incredible wineries you can reach in a delightful day trip my car or train.
Cynthia Chaplin, my go-to wine expert on all things Italian wine, and I talked about the very best local wines to drink in Venice plus 4 wineries you can visit in an enchanting day trip. And one of them is right in the Venice Lagoon.
Best wine and winery right in the Venice Lagoon
If you're looking for a once in a lifetime wine experience then don't miss the Venissa winery right in the heart of the Venice Lagoon. Make a day of it: the winery is a special and unique place to visit with a fabulous Michelin star restaurant - Ristorante Venissa - AND accommodation.
Venissa is a Venice winery owned and run by the renowned Prosecco family, Bisol. Venissa is the heart and soul of the Venice Lagoon's Mazzorbo island right nearby colorful Burano island. This two hectare exquisite walled vineyard is a charming visit, complete with a 14th century bell tower.
It's not an inexpensive wine – a bottle of Venissa white wine runs about €120 to €150 a bottle, but you won't find it anywhere else in the world. Because the winery is so small they only produce about 3000 bottles per year. The bottles are a work of art themselves, hand-crafted in nearby Murano of Murano glass.
This delightful white wine is made from the Dorona di Venezia grape, thought to have originally come from Greece a thousand years ago. The grape is hearty and resists the saline effect of the lagoon. It macerates 40 days on its skins and then matures in bottles for two years. This is a wine that ages very well. Look for peach, apricot and bergamot flavor tones. The wine has a gorgeous golden color as the grape name (Dorona) implies.
On nearby Santa Cristina Island Bisol also makes a red wine, Venissa Rosso, but the true star is their white wine.
Enoteche & wine shops are the best places for fine local wines in Venice
You'll be hard put to find Venissa in most places in Venice but give some other local wins a try – Venissa's younger cousins in terms of depth and complexity: friulano, malvasia, ribolla gialla. These delicious wines are from the nearby Collio hills and are thoroughly enjoyable.
Keep your eye out for local wines made with Incrocio Manzoni grapes; grape varieties created by Professor Manzoni in the 1920s and 1930s by crossing and grafting vines.
Here's a Manzoni Bianco I had at the fabulous restaurant, Vini da Gigio.
Head to some of the smaller enoteche away from the main drag and big squares. Look around the smaller canals and preferably near the water. In the smaller locales you'll have a richer wine experience and the owners and sommeliers are usually anxious to chat about local wines and make sure you have a glass of something special.
A glass of wine in Venice is known as an ombra and the tasty assortment of appetizers on offer are cicchetti.
If you'd like to try a wine tour of Venice and Venice's enoteche and cicchetti then no better person than with Venice local, Monica Cesarato.
Here are a few spots you might want to check out on your own:
Cantine del Vino già Schiavi
Osteria al Ponte organic wines
Estro for organic biodynamic wines
Venice restaurants and wines
Although enoteche and wine shops are the best places to explore local Venice wines there are some great restaurants to try. I have a few personal favorites. One is Ca' d'Oro in Canareggio. And at the top of my list is Vini da Gigio, especially because they have an extensive and amazing wine list. Not to mention incredible food like this risotto with shrimp.
I also love the food at Osteria da Alberto. When I was in Venice during Carnival this year every single dish we ordered we then ordered a second time because it was all so delicious!
A wineries day trip from Venice: the three best places to go
The Venica winery vineyards occupy a 40 hectare area in the Collio Hills. Each hill faces a different direction and has its own unique microclimate. Venica's cru wines are fabulous. Their Ronco della Cime cru vineyard produces Friulano, and at Ronco delle Mele they produce Sauvignon.
Venica also produces wonderful pinot bianco wines. They also have a wine resort.
Head to the Prosecco Hills to visit these two fabulous wineries
The Bisol family (owner of the Venissa winery in the Venice Lagoon) has been a prolific producer of excellent well-curated Prosecco for 500 years. They have hundreds of acres in the Cartizze Hills, in Santo Stefano. In addition to Prosecco the Bisol family also produces metodo classico - Champagne style - wine.
When you visit this winery plan on sampling some delicious food as well. Make sure you try their Jeio wine; sommelier Cynthia Chaplin says this is one of her favorites - a contemporary and joyful Prosecco. You can choose from the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DCG Brut, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DCG Extra Dry, or the Jeio Prosecco Rosé Brut.
Villa Sandi is a slightly younger winery: they've been producing Prosecco for 400 years. This winery is owned and run by the Moretti family, more specifically by Giancarlo and his son and daughter. This is an ardently bio-diverse winery. In addition to Prosecco Villa Sandi also produces some metodo classico wine.
This Villa Sandi wine, La Rossetta, won the coveted Gambero Rosso three glass award.
Food is also excellent at Villa Sandi. Cynthia Chaplin recently enjoyed a bubbles only meal hosted by Villa Sandi and held at Vittorio Emanuele in Piazza Bra, Verona. – quite unusual and a reflection on the flexibility of this estate's wines.
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