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The very first ticket to Blood Into Wine was purchased by Harry Canalejo, one of our fab event staffers. Even though TT staffers get free movies, Harry insisted on buying a ticket to support his inspiration, Maynard James Keenan, who acts on his passions whether it be music or winemaking.  And I, in turn, was inspired by Harry’s integrity. I got a screener and gave it to Harry so he could watch it and write a review (below).  

James DeFord is another wonderful TT staffer and Tool fan who saw the screener also wrote a incisive review.

Both reviews are terrific.  Thanks, Harry & James!     

Blood Into Wine  — One Show Only Wednesday, October 20 
6:00 – Pre-film Reception with light hors d’oeuvres, cash bar & concessions
7:30 – General admission for film only
8:00 – Showtime

The Wickedest City in the West Meets Rock Star Status
by Harry Canalejo

Blood Into Wine delivers a holy experience in which we are taken through a spiritual journey of wine through its early stages at Merkin Vineyards in Jerome, Arizona with the self-proclaimed “Mobile Vortex” front man of Tool, Maynard James Keenan, and his Muse, Eric Glomski. The film offers a personal look at Tool’s front man which has eluded fans for many years. Although this is a documentary about Maynard and his vineyard, many others share their own personal stories and experiences. I feel that having multiple voices helps viewers draw their own conclusions about wine instead of being distracted by Maynard’s celebrity and following his words blindly. As we continue through the passage of wine making, we see Maynard’s true inspiration: his mother Judith Marie. The movie paints a heartfelt and more sincere picture that is sandwiched between the comedic outtakes of Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Bob Odenkirk. Ultimately, we see Maynard trying to constantly reinvent himself and his wine as he has done with Tool and his other bands for so many years. He inspires us to never be stagnant in life and keep moving forward and evolving — just like making good bottle of wine.

Why Arizona?
by James DeFord

There’s a concept in winemaking called terroir.  Broadly speaking, terroir is the idea that growing grapes take on certain characteristics of the land on which they’re grown, and that therefore the wine made from those grapes can be evocative of that land.  Different regions produce different individual characteristics in the fruit grown there.  Wine produced in a certain place tastes, literally, of that place.

Blood Into Wine takes us to Arizona, where Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) has started a full production vineyard and is about to release his first Cabernet Sauvignon grown entirely on his own land.  Arizona is stark, not that that’s news to anybody: it’s very dry, and largely red, and corrosive to anything alive.  Significant portions of the beginning of the movie are devoted to long (but achingly beautiful) panning shots of soil and brick and rust; mining conglomerates more than 150 years old literally own all the usable water in the vineyard’s area, and have to be sued into giving it up; wild native pig-beasts eat the young vines.  Really.  Growing wine grapes in Arizona is like trying to farm on a newly terraformed Mars.  

So why do it?  California is a scant few hours away.  Plenty of people have made plenty of money making wine there, wine ranging from perfectly serviceable to world-class.  Seems to be easy enough there.  Why Arizona?  Well, have you ever listened to Tool?  

Music can be evocative of place, too.  Maynard’s music isn’t desert music in the shallower way that, say, Calexico can be.  But it’s intricate, incisive, challenging.  Spare in a way that speaks of precision and intent.  Disdainful of wasted motion or effort.  It creates the impression of vast age without being old.  It has the flavor of the desert.  I bet his wine does too.

Blood Into Wine  is like Maynard’s music in another way, too, in that it manages to be a lot of different things at the same time. It’s mostly a beautifully filmed documentary about the nuts and bolts of winemaking and -tasting. It gives some rare insight into Maynard’s personal and professional lives, and his discomfort when they cross over. At a few places it’s a showcase for some of his celebrity friends (Tim & Eric, Patton Oswalt, Milla Jovavich, Bob Odenkirk in a hilarious scene over the end credits).  And it’s a bit of a love note to rural Arizona.  

Wine, as oenophiles won’t stop telling us, is not just a drink but an experience.  The story of how the wine was made, where the grapes were grown, who had their hands in the creation is written in the bottle of wine itself.  The story of Merkin Vineyards, the story of Maynard and his wine partner Eric Glomski, and a piece of the story of the Southwest US all come together in Blood Into Wine.  They taste great together.

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