Maynard James Keenan admits that playing AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Portishead to his grapes has no effect whatsoever on the taste of his wines: "100%, no. It's just a great story"

Maynard James Keenan
(Image credit: MJK - DannyWimmerPresents | Grape soundtracks - Maynard James Kennan/ Merkin Vineyards)

Back in 2020, Tool/Puscifer/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan gave an interview the Discogs website where he revealed that, at his Merkin Vineyards site, he and his team carefully selected a bespoke soundtrack to play to his grapes.

"During vintage, I choose whole albums to play to the grapes while processing," he revealed. "Some playlists are played year after year to the same fruit. We note what music was played to what grapes, and then these playlists are included with the tasting notes. All whole albums. Played to the new grapes all day on rotation, but not shuffle."

The article was accompanied by a photo (partially shown above) which revealed that while certain grapes grew listening to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Pink Floyd, others came to maturity listening to Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack, for example. 

When Keenan appeared recently on the DannyWimmerPresents podcast, hosted by Matt Pinfield and Josh Bernstein, former MTV host Pinfield brought up the subject of these playlists with the singer, asking him to explain the thinking behind this, as he personally considered it "really interesting."

"Yeah, when something comes in I have a playlist in mind," Keenan replies. "Historically, we might have something specific playing to a specific grape, or a block that comes in, we always write it down and then when it comes in next year we'll look back at the last playlist to see what was playing and try to match that again, so that that wine always has similar music playing when it comes in."

An impressed Pinfield then asks, "Literally, do you find there is an absolute significance and difference depending on what kind of music is played?"

"100 per cent, no," the mischievous singer admits. "It's just a great story."

As Keenan looks off-set to persons unknown with a smug smile, Pinfield's co-host Bernstein cracks up laughing. Ever the professional, Pinfield recovers quickly from this potential embarrassment and says, "I love you for those!"

Lovely stuff.

Watch the full episode below:


Last week it was announced that Keenan is opening an ice cream parlour, a restaurant, a winery and his own tram line in Arizona, on a hilltop in Old Town Cottonwood, on the former site of a Masonic Lodge.

The Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria will be open from 11am to 8pm Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11am to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Merkin Vineyards Pocket Park Gelateria, meanwhile, will be open 11am to 7pm Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11am to 8 pm on Fridays/Saturdays.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.