Are you planning a trip to La Serenissima aka Venice? If you’re a wine lover, we have to tell you about an unmissable experience in the lagoon that we tried this month. Venice wine tours might not be the first thing that comes to mind – after all, they’re famous for the spritz – but wine has had an important place on the island for centuries.

In fact, it might surprise you to know that St Mark’s Square was full of vineyards until the 11th century! Keep reading to find out our favorite wine tours in Venice Italy and why we think you should join one. 

What is the story of winemaking in Venice?

On a recent food tour in Venice, we learned that once upon a time, all of the city’s ‘campi‘ or ‘piazze‘ aka (town squares) were full of fruit and vegetable gardens along with wine grapes. The wine grapes included varieties like Malvasia, Raboso, Tocai Friulano, Incrocio Manzoni, Refosco, Verduzzo Trevigiano, Pinot, Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay to name just a few.

The vineyards were nearly destroyed and indigenous grape varieties were nearly lost to history until a special project between the University of Padua and the Consorzio of Venetian Wines set up a project to try and reclaim them. The next time you get off the train at Venice’s Santa Lucia Station, wander to the vineyard of the convent of the Discalced Carmelites (Giardino dei cinque sensi). Squirrelled away within the Convent’s silent walls, they have replanted vines at risk of extinction!

If you’re curious to learn more about the story of the vineyard from the 1600s, you can read about it here.

venissa vineyard

What kind of wine do they make in Venice?

Did you know that Veneto (the region) has the highest number of native grapes in all of Italy? It is also Italy’s biggest producer of wine thanks to the glera grape used to make prosecco.

In times bygone, a classic Venetian wine was known as ‘vin moro‘ thanks to its dark color. It was tangy and astringent and popular to put on ships because it didn’t spoil. With a high alcohol content of 14%, it was designed to be drunk cold. Today we know this wine as ‘Raboso‘ or ‘Friularo‘ and it is grown in the lagoon and surrounding countryside. Some of the grapes still grown in the Lagoon today include:

  • Glera
  • Bianchetta trevigiana
  • Grapariol
  • Malvasia
  • Verduzzo trevigiano
  • Dorona,
  • Raboso
  • Marzemino
  • Turchetta
  • Recantina

 

vin moro venice

Our favorite Venice Wine Tour in 2024

This year we were thrilled to join a Venice vineyard tour and finally visit Venissa – one of our bucket list vineyards in the Venetian lagoon. Whilst not actually on Venice itself, this vineyard is just a boat ride away on the island ‘Mazzorbo’.

If you’re interested in wine even just casually, you will be so impressed with the tasting experience and storytelling here. Forget another boring visit to see the barrels – it is all about the history of wine on the island and told in a really engaging way.

Indigenous dorona grapes were grown on the island for as long as at least the 13th century until 1966 when a massive high tide destroyed all of the vineyards and the grapes were sadly declared extinct. In 2001, the owner of Venissa (also a Michelin restaurant and small hotel) rediscovered the vines and embarked on an enormous project to replant the vineyard and get the grapes re-certified by Italy’s wine governing bodies.

venice vineyard tours

Honestly, drinking the wine from Venissa was an unforgettable experience because we learned about just how difficult it is to grow and make wine in the lagoon. It’s essentially like growing a vineyard at the beach as the vines are surrounded by salty water and soil. There’s barely any room for the roots of the plants and the vines barely survive. You can imagine then what a small, boutique production this is!

We loved that the wine was essentially a piece of art and Venetian culture as the glass bottles are all made in Murano (famed for glass) and the labels are 24 carrot leaf gold handmade by the last goldsmith in Venice.

This Venice wine tour from Take Walks is wonderful as they organise a private boat to take you to the winery and then back to Venice – but not only! As a bonus, the tour includes a stop on the islands of nearby Murano and Burano. Burano is a must-see for their vibrantly painted houses, whilst in Murano you get to see a private glassblowing demonstration in a beautiful restored church.

venice wine tour

2 More Favorite Venice Wine Tasting Tours 

Here’s our 101 breakdown of the best dry Italian white wine to try! It’s not an exhaustive list, but a selection of Italian white wines that we think you will enjoy.

Prefer to stay on Venice itself and learn more about the food too? We love this evening tour at sunset to do as the Venetians do and indulge in cicchetti, spritz and wine.

During this 3 hour tour, you get to stop at 5 bacari (Venetian wine bars) where you’ll try some cicchetti (Venetian canapes or bites) paired with local wine, locally produced prosecco, and a traditional Venetian aperitif – made with Select not Aperol (trust us, it’s a 100 times better). 

This is an excellent activity to join if it’s your first time in Venice or on your first evening so you can discover some favourite bacari to return to throughout your stay. 

venice food and wine tour

If you’re looking for a wonderful wine tour from Venice, why not head to the nearby hills of Valdobbiadene and learn about its most famous export, Prosecco! 

Winemaking is about as old as time itself in these hills and you’ll have the opportunity to try the best of the best when it comes to Prosecco on this tour. You’ll have your first taste of Prosecco DOCG at a local Osteria with incredible views over the countryside, before visiting a winery in Valdobbiadene, where you’ll try at least 4 different Prosecco wines paired with typical local products like cheese and cold cuts.

Are you inspired to join some Venice Italy wine tours on your next trip? Let us know in the comments if you have tried any of these experiences! Or why not learn more about the Veneto wine region in our online guide.