Blood into Wine: Documentary a standup movie about a couple of local standup wine makers
You won't find Maynard Keenan sitting down, pinky extended, sipping a glass of wine. The fact is he doesn't spend much time sitting.
It is difficult to see Keenan, arguably the Verde Valley's most influential voice from the vineyards, in any stereotypical setting of highbrow sophisticates debating the esoteric intangibles of long lean legs and an oaky nose.
His tastes in wine, as well as wine drinkers, lie far closer to the ground.
His partner in crime, winemaker Eric Glomski, shares more than one business venture with Keenan -- all built on wine and signed in blood -- along with Keenan's mutual disdain for the seamy side of their business -- the stuffy, straight back pomposity that has torn away at the true fabric from which wine was cut 5,000 years ago.
Their common goal is to see their world, or at least as it manifests itself in 21st century America, "demystified."
"Americans have missed the point about wine. It has been a part of cultures around the world and we have missed it," says Keenan, "Vineyards are the cornerstone of a close-knit community and wine is about communities getting together. It's not something elitist."
Put another way, "Wine should be fun, not stuffy. In too many ways it has become pretentious," says Glomski.
It is based on those notions that Keenan, a platinum recording artist turned farmer, and Glomski, an award-winning winemaker turned philosopher, chose to make a movie -- a very personal movie based on their thoughts about family...and place...and dirt...and food...and...wine and friends and laughter.
The movie, made with and by filmmakers Ryan Page and Chris Pomerenke will undoubtedly be the most anticipated documentary feature at this years Sedona Film Festival. Not only because it has been well over a year in the making, but also because it is also...somewhat...and to a large degree...about the Verde Valley and its potential as a world class wine growing region.
Page and Pomerenke took an interest in telling Keenan and Glomski's story two years ago when they were making another movie, based on Keenan and others' music, called "Heart of the Drum Machine."
"We were at his vineyard, shooting the other movie, poking around, and thought what he was doing on that rocky hillside above an old mining town would make for an interesting documentary," says Page.
To make the film, Page and Pomerenke followed Keenan and Glomski, along with their vines and wines, for a year, documenting the winemakers as well as the process.
"This film really challenges the Verde Valley and Maynard and Eric and what they are doing. There is a perception out there that some celebrities just lend their name to a wine, just to give it a push, and they are never there in the vineyard.
"Maynard is there and his hands are digging in the dirt. That's what interested us. We wouldn't have done this film if he wasn't active as a winemaker," says Pomerenke.
The filmmakers received some heat from California's established winemakers, some who consider it the dark side of the moon.
The film, however, makes clear that the Verde Valley is not the lush and moist wine country of California. It's rocky and craggy, It's a tough country, being pioneered by some standup winemakers who are already producing some standup wines.
There is also the clear fact that Maynard Keenan and Eric Glomski are not California winemakers living a soft and simple life in the land of milk and honey.
They are instead a couple of dreamers, showing what can be done if one is willing to turn their own blood into wine.
Blood into Wine plays Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25 at 4:50 p.m.
Photo courtesy SemiRebellious Films.