A Useful Idiot

Categories: Booze
Photo courtesy of deep_schismic.
Maynard James Keenan performing with Tool.

Quality wine doesn't usually come from a vineyard named after a pubic wig (Merkin Vineyards) or a man called "Maynard" who happens to front one of the most popular metal bands in the world and who once carried business cards with "Jesus H. Christ" printed on them.

But Caduceus Wines seems to be the exception to the rule.

Notoriously eccentric entertainer Maynard James Keenan, lead singer for hardcore metal bands Tool and Puscifer, may seem like an unlikely candidate to start up a vineyard and winery.

Believe it or not, Keenan is a food and wine lover who is part-owner of a restaurant in Los Angeles (Cobras & Matadors), a produce market in Arizona, two vineyards and -- soon -- an organic market that will be partnered with one of the vineyards, Arizona Stronghold. Keenan's northern Italian family were winemakers back in the old country, a tradition that he's rekindled in Arizona.

Keenan was first introduced to the pleasures of the vine in 1995 by Tori Amos, who shared a bottle of Silver Oak Napa Valley 1992 with him.  Bitten by the wine bug, he started his own vineyard in 2004 with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes.  Today, his wines from Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards and Arizona Stronghold are sold nationwide.

Keenan himself will be on hand here in Houston this week, signing bottles at the Whole Foods megastore in Sugar Land on Thursday, March 26th from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Get there early to get your bottles signed and maybe a word or two with Keenan.  Just don't be surprised if he doesn't look exactly as you recall...

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