Over the past week, heavy rains and high winds have pummeled the Italian city of Venice, causing high coastal tides and the worst flooding the city has experienced since 1966.
The flooding began on Sunday, Nov. 10. By Tuesday, waters had submerged nearly 80 percent of the city, The Guardian reports. In addition to the floods causing the closing of St. Mark’s Square, the city’s only vineyard, Venissa, was completely submerged after waters reached 187 centimeters (approximately six feet) over the regular lagoon level.
Founded in 2002 by Prosecco producer Gianluca Bisol, the Venissa vineyard sits on the island of Mazzorbo and is the only vineyard in the world planted with the Dorona grape, a rare variety that nearly disappeared after the devastating floods more than 50 years ago.
Speaking to VinePair via text, Gianluca’s son and Venissa’s general manager, Matteo Bisol, said that the water has now left the vineyard but his family will not know if the plantings have survived until spring. In the meantime, they are irrigating the vineyard with fresh water and distributing chalk to lower the salinity.
“Dorona is a grape variety that adapts itself to survive in the unique terroir of Venice, so we hope it will resist this difficult situation,” Bisol said. “When we planted the vineyards in Venice, we were completely aware of the risks, but the dream to make one of the world’s most unique wines always gave us the spirit to overcome this challenge.”
To help raise funds, Bisol has released six magnums from old vintages, pledging to donate all the proceeds to local families affected by the floods. For more information, check out the Venissa website.