Maynard James Keenan's Tips for Becoming a Wine Aficionado | Revolver

Maynard James Keenan's Tips for Becoming a Wine Aficionado

Rocker-viticulturist cultivates the palate
Maynard James Keenan SHINN, Travis Shinn
photograph by Travis Shinn

When not stomping around onstage in Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, Maynard James Keenan has been known to stomp a few grapes in his Arizona-based Merkin Vineyards. A good chunk of Puscifer's second album, Conditions of My Parole, was even recorded in the viticulturist's wine cellar. So Revolver asked the singer for a few tips on how to best appreciate our sips.

Watch your sugar intake
"One of the first things that's going to interfere with anyone trying to appreciate wine is sugar. If you're really serious about learning about wine, the best way to learn about it is get a couple bottles of the same thing. If you're a person who drinks a lot of Coca-Cola, or eats candy, or eats a lot of ketchup and mustard, go ahead and have your wine with those foods. Then don't eat or drink any of that stuff for a week. Just stick to stuff that's not seasoned. No sugar. Don't eat sweet stuff for a week. Then have your wine and try to recall your experience before when your palate was completely polluted with the sugar."

Beware of the heat
"Think of wine like you would ice cream. If you're picking up wine from somewhere and you put it in the trunk of your car and watch a movie and expect the wine to be OK when you get back… it's just not going to be. It's a vulnerable product. The heat will ruin it. That's why we don't ship during the summer. Once it's left your hands, there's no way to control how the postal service is gonna get it to you. They'll just leave it in a truck in the sun in Phoenix overnight. Your wine's toast."

Know your allergies
"If you think you're allergic to sulfites in wine, but you drink fresh orange juice—then you're not allergic to sulfites. You're probably more allergic to histamines or wines that have more wood in them then they should. Really oaky, woody wines. People think they're reacting to the wine, when they're really reacting to the wood tannins. Choose a wine that's not been aged in oak."

Maynard James Keenan discusses how puzzles and sacred geometry influence his wine-making in episode 2 of Revolver's original series "The Art of Work."