If you’re a wine lover and a fan of heavy metal, it may not seem like there’s a special publication out there just for you. But there is. After years spent in the music industry and returning home to Walla Walla, Wash., to find a booming wine and food scene, inspiration struck for Stacy Buchanan. Buchanan launched Blood Of Gods magazine to dive in on the similarities of wine and heavy metal, and to serve a good cause along the way. And while it may seem entirely niche, the intricately illustrated magazine has grown to offer interesting stories any wine lover might find appealing. We sat down with Buchanan to learn all about it.
Where did the inspiration for Blood Of Gods come from?
I used to be more directly involved with music, having worked at Century Media in their Los Angeles and German offices back in the mid-2000s. I also did a fair amount of freelance writing for magazines like Thrasher and Alternative Press before that. During this same time, my hometown of Walla Walla had blossomed into a wine and foodie haven. A number of amazing restaurants and loads of wineries were crafting world-class wines, transforming it into a tourist hot spot. When I returned to find my hometown suddenly culturally enriched and packing some “best-kept secret” cachet, I was a little taken aback by its evolution. However, many parallels between my former world in the music business and the wine industry quickly became apparent: trends in style, distributor dealings, media habits, general fandom and more.
It was mildly humorous at first, but then the frequency and sheer number of comparisons became startling. The [Blood Of Gods] zine originally started as a pithy commentary on how these two seemingly different realms actually have a lot in common, admittedly a bit more of a kitschy novelty. But, as the old precept goes, what started as a light-hearted joke grew to the point where it became more serious. There was still loads of humor in the zine, but there was also some heart and sincerity to it. Higher profile names lent some more legitimacy since there was also some interesting insight and educational components as well. Like most great albums and wine, balance is key, versus being a one-trick pony. So, I hope the zine maintains a well-roundedness as it grows and evolves.
Why combine heavy metal and wine into one?
I’d like to show how much heavy metal and wine actually have in common. Also — this is maybe most important — how each is deeply passionate about their respective craft. That spirit is the same to me. The excitement, the nerdism, the joy, the appreciation, the expressiveness, the fun and the desire to know more. They are completely equal between wine and metal, in my eyes. Additionally, I think they each have similar problems, such as gatekeeping, elitism and issues with misogyny and racism, so maybe there’s an opportunity for wine and metal to help each other combat these issues, or at least draw them out into the light more. The whole premise of the zine is to show that stereotypes and snap judgements are usually skin deep, and those outdated cliches are really limitations to enjoying these wonderful realms more deeply. But at the end of the day, I’d like to remind myself and readers and followers that this should be fun and enjoyable, otherwise, what’s the point? Life’s just too short, so let’s listen to some crazy tunes, drink some wild libations and party down together.
Net proceeds from Blood Of Gods are donated to the Blue Mountain Humane Society. Why is that an important mission to you?
I’ve always been a big supporter of animal rights. I went vegetarian over 20 years ago on my first full U.S. tour. In short: I want to live in a more peaceful and just world and eating animals just doesn’t fit into that aim for me. I like to approach the topic as “teachy” not “preachy.” I can’t stand people who force their opinions and beliefs on others, so I really appreciate how one’s diet can be, in its own way, a silent protest. In other words: I don’t support this thing, whatever it is, so I abstain from it, don’t give it my money, etc. It’s kind of like the concept of “voting with your dollars” or the opposite, boycotting. The Humane Society isn’t directly involved in the food industry side of animal welfare. They deal more with animals as companions and members of the family, which I think gives them a broader appeal to folks who might not normally be involved in trying to help animals. Plus, I really appreciate how helping animals is apolitical. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you generally fall on, or how you typically vote, helping animals is a universal concept anyone can get in support of.
What are a few of the most under-rated wineries in the PNW you think people should try?
Oh man, this is like asking which one of my children I love the most! I really like Foundry Vineyards. It’s hard to say if they’re underrated, though, but I love the wines — the style, the wide spectrum, including their sister brand Pet Project. The people there are 100% true blue, and the tie-in with the Walla Walla Foundry is quite special as well. I’m not sure how underrated they are, but some others I’d definitely recommend people check out:
- Delmas: Stellar Rocks District fruit that’s been a driving force for this special region.
- Grosgrain: Wines are unique among their Walla Walla brethren, a bit lighter with a freshness that is like manna from heaven.
- Echolands: Doug Frost might be known as one of only three people currently holding both Master of Wine (MW) and Master Sommeliers (MS) titles, but his winery’s ambition, and wines they are producing, are worth writing home about.
- Time & Direction: Delicious wines and also FUN, reminding people wine is not always meant to be so serious.
- Devium Wine: People might know Keith from his time at the also stellar Sleight Of Hand Cellars, but Devium is his baby and a clear indicator that his young project demands your attention.
- Elephant 7: Classic and honest wines with minimal intervention.