The Virginia Wineries Association presented its 2021 Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. George and Nicki Bazaco, the founders of Doukénie Winery near Hillsboro.

They purchased the 400-acre western Loudoun farm in 1983, calling it Windham after George’s grandmother’s Hudson River Valley farm where he spent his summers as a boy. They planted their first vines—Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot—on the property in 1985. A second block of whites—Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc—followed two years later. Initially, they made wines for friends and family and sold or bartered grapes with the few other wineries in the area. In 1995, they applied for their farm winery ABC license and opened a tasting room in the basement of their farmhouse. “Windham Winery” was the 43rd winery to be licensed in Virginia; today there are more than 300 registered wineries in the commonwealth. 

In 2007, Windham Winery became Doukénie Winery in honor of George’s grandmother, Doukénie Bazaco, who was a winemaker in Greece following in the steps of her grandfather. Since bottling its first vintage in 1995, the winery has won numerous awards in competitions ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle International to the Virginia Governors Cup competition to the Loudoun County Wine awards. Last month, its 2020 Sauvignon Blanc was selected as the best-in-class winner in Loudoun’s wine awards.

The Virginia Wineries Association’s lifetime achievement award is named in honor of Gordon Murchie, a long-time and leading advocate of East Coast and Virginia winemaking who also is credited with promoting the use of European vinifera grape varieties, instead of hybrids or native varieties, in the eastern U.S.