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Stacy Buchanan, editor of Blood of Gods Magazine and founder of the annual Merrymaking Festival in Walla Walla, will receive an Emerging Leader Award during the TOAST! Honoree Celebration for the 2024 Auction of Washington Wines. (Image courtesy of Auction of Washington Wines)

WOODINVILLE, Wash. – The Auction of Washington Wines, one of the five largest charitable wine auctions in the United States, has nominated Stacy Buchanan, editor of Blood of Gods and organizer of the Walla Walla Festival, as the recipient of one of its Emerging Leader awards.

This year marks the 37th annual auction of Washington wines, and the presentation to Buchanan will be part of the third annual TOAST! Awards Ceremony on Thursday, August 8, at Sparkman Cellars in Woodinville.

The celebratory Winemaker Picnic & Barrel auction – sponsored by Seattle author and wine merchant Paul Zitarelli and his Full Pull Wines – will take place on Friday, August 9 on the campus of Château Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, followed by the auction’s gala event on Saturday, August 10. The gala online auction begins Tuesday, August 6 and runs through August 10. Funds raised will benefit Seattle Children’s, Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program and sponsor partner Vital Wines of the Walla Walla Valley.

Washington Wines Auction launched its TOAST! program in 2022 and the 2023 recipients are listed here.

For the second year in a row, the nine TOAST! award winners will be announced this week on

Monday — TOAST! Vine to Wine Award: Eduardo Enriquez, Corliss Estates
Monday — TOAST! Healthy Land and Communities Award: Kiona Vineyards and Winery
Monday — TOAST! Award: Markus Keller, Washington State University
Today — TOAST! Emerging Leader: Jordan Small, Woodward Canyon Winery
Today — TOAST! Emerging Leader: Matías Kúsulas, Gård Vintners/Desert Wind Winery/Massalto/Valo
Today — TOAST! Emerging Leader: Stacy Buchanan, Blood of Gods
Wednesday, 9am – TOAST! Wine Industry Champion: TBA
Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. – Washington Wines Star Award Auction: TBA
Wednesday, 11am – Lifetime Achievement Award: TBA

Previously announced 2024 Washington Wines Auction honorees include Leslie Sbrocco (Honorary Chair), Christophe Baron of Bionic Wines (Honorary Winemaker) and Robert Rivera of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard (Honorary Winemaker). Co-Chairs are Laura and Ian MacNeil and John and Deanna Oppenheimer.

“We are delighted to recognize these outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to the Washington wine industry,” said Jamie Peha, Executive Director of the Auction of Washington Wines since 2019. “Their dedication, innovation and passion have contributed significantly to the success and reputation of the entire region.”

TOAST Honoree Celebration sponsors include Republic National Distributing Co., Saxco, Woodinville Wine Country, Washington State Wine Commission, Château Ste. Michelle and Trysk Print Solutions.

The Emerging Leader Award is designed to recognize those whose contributions, service or involvement in the Washington wine industry are paving the way and providing a vision for the future. Buchanan describes himself as a part publisher, producer and event promoter who is “a one-man hype machine, with a preacher’s passion to bring not hearts to God, but wine to heavy metal music.”

In the spring of 2020, the fifth-generation Walla Walla Valley native began publishing Blood of Gods Magazine twice a year. Then came Merrymaking — a festival of art, music and wine in downtown Walla Walla. The third edition of Merrymaking will take place this year on Saturday, July 20, at The Motor Co.

There is no doubt that Buchanan has found an audience, and he describes his approach as “a gift for bringing together people and ideas from all backgrounds and industries, attracting accolades, praise and pilgrimages in the process.”

Among the early supporters was Paul Grieco, the irreverent chef and owner of the famous New York wine bar Terroir, who attended Buchanan’s first Merrymaking.

“This is the audience and demographic that the wine industry is craving,” said Grieco, a two-time James Beard Award winner for his work showcasing wine, which includes his annual Summer of Riesling festival.

Buchanan’s free seminar for the public, which will kick off Merrymaking 2024, will feature Justin Moore, a Master Sommelier from the District of Columbia, and international wine critic Anthony Mueller, a former staff writer for Michelin’s own Wine Advocate.

Thanks to his outreach and innovation, Buchanan has secured a spot among Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “Future 40 Tastemakers of 2023,” a group praised by the magazine’s editors for their advocacy on behalf of an industry grappling with unprecedented uncertainty and neo-prohibition.

“Advocating for the inclusion of people of all backgrounds in an industry that is struggling to gain traction and appeal beyond its traditional base, as well as advocating for the environment, advocating for each other, and advocating for the hospitality workers on whom they all depend in one way or another,” they wrote.

Last year, Buchanan led Imbibe Magazine readers on a tour of the Walla Walla Valley craft beverage scene, and the magazine’s “Imbibe 75” list includes him among those who “will inspire our drinking habits in the coming year.” Recent speaking engagements on behalf of the wine industry have taken him to New Zealand and given him a platform at Taste Washington. At the Seattle Festival earlier this year, the seminar he attended was titled: Border Breakers: Washington’s Founding Icons and Modern Outsiders.

The book he is working on is scheduled to be published next year.

According to Buchanan, “it is clear that the mission will continue and the show will go on.”

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