Virginia Wineries Association Announces Industry Achievement Award-Winners

During the Virginia Wineries Association’s 2021 Annual Conference & Meeting in November, recipients were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the Virginia Wine industry. Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring, VWA President George Hodson and VWA Treasurer Mitzi Batterson led the program in honoring the award-winners. The following awards were presented: 

Wine Person of the Year – 

  • Laurie Aldrich, Executive Director of Virginia Wineries Association

Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award – 

  • Dr. George Bazaco, owner of Doukénie Winery, Pulmonologist at Inova Health System
  • Nicki Bazaco, owner of Doukénie Winery

David King Advocate of the Year – 

  • Mary Beth Williams, President of Williams Compliance, VWA consultant

Legislator of the Year – 

  • Delegate David Bulova, Delegate of the 37th District

“It was great to come together in-person this year to celebrate the award winners and their contributions to our growing and thriving industry,” said Hodson. “As advocates and leaders, their efforts have been critical during times of uncertainty over the past two years.”

Wine Person of the Year has been awarded since 1993 and recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond to serve the Virginia Wine industry and is critical to its success. Laurie Aldrich, 12-year Executive Director of the VWA, is this year’s recipient. Batterson spoke of her passion, loyalty and perseverance, particularly during the pandemic. 

The Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have dedicated several years of their lives to the Virginia Wine industry. Dr. George and Nicki Bazaco, co-founders and owners of Doukénie Winery, first purchased a farm in Loudoun County in 1983, with the first vines planted in 1985. By 1995, Doukénie Winery, formerly known as Windham Winery, became the 43rd winery to be licensed in Virginia. Since then, the Bazaco’s have contributed to the industry with roles in the Loudoun Winegrowers Association, the Loudoun Winery Owners Association and the Virginia Wineries Association. 

David King Advocate of the Year is presented to an individual who embodies the principles of advocacy, volunteerism, dedication and passion. This year’s recipient, Mary Beth Williams, helped guide the industry through the fast-changing landscape of COVID-19 and continues to advocate for the industry through ongoing ABC and legislative efforts. The award was created in honor of David King, co-founder of King Family Vineyards and two-time Chair of the Virginia Wine Board. 

This year’s Legislator of the Year, Del. Bulova has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006 and serves as the current chair of the General Laws House committee. During the pandemic, he helped pass legislation authorizing certain licensees to offer “cocktails-to-go” and has been a long-time supporter and thought leader on agricultural issues. 

For more information, please contact the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office at 804-344-8200 or [email protected]

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