The Bazaco Family
Doukénie Winery is above all else a family operation located in Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country. From the moment you step through the door of the tasting room, you feel the hospitality of the Bazaco family. The Bazacos trace their success back to a 14 year-old Greek girl who in 1919 boarded a boat for the journey to America. George Bazaco also gives much credit to the young girl’s father who agreed to allow her to take this journey.
Doukénie Babayanie Bacos had a firm commitment to family. In 1948, she and her husband purchased 200 acres in a small upstate New York community called Maplecrest as a summer place for their family. Doukénie’s daughter, the aptly named Hope, married the elder George Bazaco, and by this time had three young children of her own. The men would work in New York City and come out to the summer place on the weekends, but the family would stay out at the Maplecrest farm near the town of Windham. The name Windham harkens back to the joy of the summer place (which the Bazaco family still owns and cherishes).
The summer place provided a retreat from New York City and clearly sparked the agricultural imagination of Hope’s eldest son, George. “George would get up really early and work in the fields all day on an adjacent farm,” Hope recalls, “He would arrive on the front porch covered in mud and sweat but with a smile from ear to ear.”
George followed in his father’s academic footsteps attending Virginia Tech. He was a very good student and was faced with a choice after his undergraduate studies, either to pursue a career in agriculture or medicine (his other calling). While he felt the strong pull of his agricultural ties, he also recalled that his grandmother had deferred her life long dream to become a doctor. He went away to study medicine in Europe with the clear intent he would work in the medical field but would also someday own a farm.
In 1981, George and his wife Nicki purchased the first track of land in Loudoun County that is now Doukénie Winery. The land, at the foot of Short Hill Mountain, was being farmed for corn, hay and cattle. The mid-eighties were an exciting time in the viticulture business in Virginia – the Bazacos decided to plant their first vineyard in 1986. The winemaking business came later as the winery itself was constructed in 1995. In many ways, this activity takes the family full circle as the young Greek girl who was boarding the boat was leaving her farm where her father, a local sheriff, also was a winemaker.
Today, visitors to Doukénie often get to meet Nicki in the tasting room and taste Hope’s homemade Baklava. If visitors are lucky, they may peer out over the vineyard and see a man on a tractor, smiling from ear to ear, that’s George Bazaco.