Under Doctor’s Orders: The Grapes of John Lithgow

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over
After days of soaking in H2O, via my two-a-day thermal baths at the
Grand Hotel Terme (GHT) in Terme di Comano, I toweled off and joined a small group of my fellow “patients” and hotel staff and went in search of another liquid that can also do the body good: prized grape found along the Strada del Vino (Wine Road) in the Trentino side of the Trentino Alto Adige region of northern Italy.

Destination? A VIP tour of Azienda Agricola Fratelli Pisoni in Valle dei Laghe.

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over
This visit to the estate, which lies between Lake Garda and the Brenta Dolomites, and the degustazione (tasting) that followed, was organized by GHT, but expertly conducted by co-owner Marco Pisoni.

Signore Pisoni, who has a striking resemblance to American film, TV and theatre actor John Lithgow, is an expert in viticulture and enology who readily poured forth his knowledge of the family business and its award-winning line of wines, sweet santo, spumante, grappas and liqueurs.

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over

As Sig. Pisoni recounted, the family business goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and served as the sole supplier of fine wines from its cellar for the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church’s all-important ecumenical gatherings during the mid 1500s.

Since 1874, all family members have attended the very prestigious Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige (School of Enology). This requisite education is a Pisoni tradition and a then young Marco was no exception, as his well-earned parchment attests to his knowledge of and passion for the grape today.

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over
The underlying mission of Azienda Agricola Fratelli Pisoni is simple: Respect the environment in order to produce a more genuine product. And that is why every bottle of wine and spirits produced come from organically grown grapes hand picked out of its vineyard at Pergolese di Lasino in the province of Trento.

Our tour stopped next to rows of well-manicured vines, inside the grappa distillery, down into the underground cave where the spumante classico rests quietly along a long, low-lit corridor, and ended with a walk through the centuries-old cantina where little casks of sweet santo continue to age alongside some very large and impressive oak barrels.

Above ground again, we moved into the enoteca (wine house) for a fabulous tasting of the Pisoni labels complimented by regional finger foods of the Trentino.

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over
Of the five whites and four reds that Sig. Pisoni made available for our group’s degustazione, two bottles really grabbed my palate: Sarica — a stunning Syrah-Pinot Nero blend — and the cellar’s award-winning Pinot Nero varietal.

These two aromatic, ruby reds really moved me AND my wallet; I bought a case each to savor back home, and ordered both at the GHT, too, to compliment my remaining dinners at the spa-wellness hotel.

If you live in the United States, you, too, can enjoy the great micro-vineyard wines and grappas produced by Sig. Pisoni and his family. They’re now available through Cora Imports of Chicago, the exclusive importer into the U.S. for Azienda Agricola Fratelli Pisoni.

Should you ever find yourself in the Province of Trento up in the Trentino Alto Adige region, do yourself a favor and head for Azienda Agricola Fratelli Pisoni and request a guided tour of the estate with fratello (brother) Marco.

And if you visit, be sure and tell him that John Lithgow sends his regards.

Under Doctor's Orders: My Cup Runneth Over

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images



  1. When I’m in town for the next Council of Trent, I’ll grab a bottle. (Given my religious persuasions, I’m more likely to be nailing lists to church doors for the event, but that could work up a thirst, too.)


  2. That’s interesting. Good organically produced wine is difficult to find. I live in the middle of wine country and I don’t think any of the locals are producing organic wine. But I’m truly not suffering! 😀

Leave a Reply