Blood Into Wine is a strange choice for the Noise Pop film festival — it’s only tangentially about music. More precisely, it’s a feature-length vanity project for veteran rock singer and novice winemaker Maynard James Keenan, who has delighted audiences since 1990 with his rock band Tool and hopes to do the same for oenophiles with his forthcoming line of Arizona-grown wines.
Made by new-on-the-scene filmmakers Chris Pomerenke and Ryan Page, whose IMDB pages are as sparse as their Rolodexes clearly are not, the film was created without a definable narrative. To compensate for the lack of dramatic tension, the directors pack Blood Into Wine chockablock with celebrity cameos and adulatory interviews with and about Keenan, who even pretends to be offended while appearing on a fake talk show created exclusively for the film, hosted by Cartoon Network’s Tim (Heidecker) and Eric (Wareheim).
As long as Blood Into Wine hews closely to the actual process of winemaking, it more or less succeeds. The directors set themselves up with a talented cinematographer, and the wide shots of the Northern Arizona countryside that houses Keenan’s vineyard are satisfyingly majestic. The singer’s philosophical musings about the artistic nature of winemaking are similarly affecting — he compares the careful calibration of a Cabernet-San Geovese blend to painstaking process of composing a song — and the diminutive, chrome-domed rocker clearly has a passion for everything involved with the burgeoning, insular wine industry.
His partner, Eric Glomski, is the resident expert, a tousled dirty-blond who has reaped the full benefit of Keenan’s Tool millions while nurturing his personal fetish for Arizona winemaking. Though he is often the most informative presence on camera, Glomski’s surfer-dude pedantry often becomes grating, not least when he explains that his senses have been so refined by wine-tasting that he can smell when a nearby woman is menstruating.
If the on-screen crowds at Keenan and Glomski’s grocery store “bottle signings” are any indication, the filmmakers are hoping to tap into the lucrative “Tool fans with more money than sense” demographic, and as a wine-themed love letter to the genius and deep pockets of one Maynard James Keenan, the film is a success. Those without an interest in prog-metal or terroir will likely leave disappointed, however. Though the film boasts a raft of celebrity guest appearances and a slick P.R. campaign, it’s more Boone’s Farm than Chateau Margeaux.