The wine guys of West Michigan: Part 2

    Maynard James Keenan of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards
    Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Trattoria, , 760 N. Verde Heights Drive, Cottonwood, AZ. The restaurant boasts a stunning 270-degree view of the Verde Valley. Photo courtesy of Merkin.

    It’s that time of year when people who don’t normally purchase wine might find themselves in the adult beverage aisle wondering which bottle to bring to the annual holiday extravaganza. Perhaps you’ve heard that a full-bodied white or a medium-bodied red pairs well with turkey, but you’re not even sure what that means (and you’ve purchased enough wine in your life to know that more expensive doesn’t always mean better). What to do?

    Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed down some choices! In our constant pursuit to shine the spotlight on all things local, we’re recommending some selections that have one thing in common: the winemakers are from West Michigan.

    In part one of the Wine Guys of West Michigan, we introduced to you former Grand Rapids resident Bill Schopf of Dablon Vineyards.

    Today, we are giving you a recommendation from a former resident who needs no introduction:

    Maynard Keenan. Photo by Alex Landeen.

    Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards are the brainchild of Maynard James Keenan, who is the descendent of Northern Italian winemakers. Originally from Ohio, Keenan spent his formative years in Mason County, Michigan, where he was a distance runner, and accomplished wrestler. Like a lot of West Michigan creatives, he studied at Kendall College of Art and Design. Unlike just about everyone else, he became wildly famous and widely known as the front man (lyricist and vocalist) and musical mastermind behind Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Pucifer.

    Nearly 20 years ago, Keenan started a vineyard in Arizona. The operation continues to grow, having recently cut the ribbon on Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria.

    Courtesy of Caduceus and Merkin.

    At right are our suggestions from Caduceus and Merkin. Locally, these and several of Keenan’s other wines can be found at Siciliano’s Market, 2840 LakeMichigan Dr. NW.

    Supplemental media: Blood Into Wine (film, 2010) and A Perfect Union of Contrary Things (biography, 2016). For more information, visit


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