By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
From the critically acclaimed hard rock band Tool, commercially successful yet with a musically educated successful cult following, lead singer Maynard James Keenan has spent these past few years on a new passion, making wine. Being a food and wine writer and not a rock n roll journalist, I will at least say this: there are moments in a few Tool albums that are some of the best in rock n roll history, period. There is a level of musical genius, energy and beauty there that is rarely touched. Though their music is perhaps a bit heavy for the overall mainstream to fully embrace, Tool still maintains its status as an iconic rock n roll band.
Now, onto the wine. Maynard Keenan has spent years building Merkin vineyards, spending all of his time and money on making wines. A self-described intense and passionate person, Keenan has invested himself fully in this new venture, which he is pursuing with wine guru and partner Eric Glomski.
Keenan and Glomski’s extensive efforts to build a viable vineyard in the unlikely locale of Arizona’s Verde Valley are featured in the 2010 documentary Blood Into Wine. Fighting both harsh winters and local wildlife, which threaten to decimate Merkin’s grape vines, Keenan and Glomski persist and earn their pioneer status as winemakers in the region. The comedy, drama and deep introspection showcased in the film make it obvious that Maynard has poured his soul into these wines. From Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese, to Syrah and Bourdeaux, Merkin Vineyards is making a full array of wines available on the shelves. We will be reviewing the documentary in part 2 and the wine in part 3 of our piece on Caduceus Wines by Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski.