Movie review: Blood into Wine

Sunday night, I checked out  Blood Into Wine, the movie documenting Maynard James Keenan’s Arizona-based quest to make great wine. It’s fairly well known (at least in wine geek circles) that he’s the singer for Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer… and that he has chosen to make wine in northern Arizona. What’s perhaps not as widely known is the fact that he has been guided through his wine-making nascence by mentor and business partner, Eric Glomski who is a relative veteran at making wine in the area.

I guess I went into the theatre hoping it would be something with which I could identify – passionate wine guy sets out to make wine… albeit a passionate wine guy with millions of dollars in the bank from his more-lucrative-than-mine regular job. He’s living the dream. Instead, a good part of the film focused on Maynard’s regular gig… and the wide-eyed groupies associated with the rock star thing. There was also an extremely annoying supposed-to-be-funny running “interview” by alt-comedy guys, Tim and Eric (of “Tim and Eric Awesome Show“). Wow, those bits got OLD quickly.

Somewhere around the half-way point, the film turned a corner and started to focus on the wine instead of the rock singer behind it. From that point, the film became much more of the movie that I had hoped it would be. There’s a surprisingly touching scene during which Maynard tells how the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon bottling, Nagual del Judith got its name – a nod to his deceased mother, who spent half her life disabled by a series of aneurysms and whose ashes are spread across the small vineyard.

Was it a great wine movie? Not really. Was it an interesting flick. Sure. It’s a decent documentary that just tries to do a few too many things at once. It’s a worthy watch for wine geeks and fans of Maynard James Kennan though. Both will be equally rewarded.

There are brief appearances by a few of Maynard’s friends, such as comedian Patton Oswalt, Primus drummer Tim Alexander and Milla Jovovich. Wine Spectator‘s James Sucking also drops by and seems pleasantly surprised by the wines he tastes.

Check out their site for screenings – or if you live in Vancouver, it’s showing at the Rio Theatre until Thursday, March 18.

3 1/2 stars

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