About BWGA

The Lab

When Dr. Brenda Baker moved to California in 1998 to accept an Assistant Professor position teaching chemistry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo –she had no idea that instead of academia, entrepreneurship was her future.

During the summer of 1999, Brenda got a job as a part time lab tech for Meridian Vineyards, her next door neighbor. Why? Just for fun.

Over the next couple of years, she learned what analytical techniques were important for wine chemistry and recognized the need for an independent commercial laboratory in the growing wine region of Paso Robles.

Baker Wine & Grape Analysis started in January of 2002 as a ‘hobby’ laboratory. That ‘hobby’ grew rapidly into a well-equipped laboratory offering a range of analytical services for the wine industry of the Central Coast. In December 2002, Dr. Baker earned TTB Certification for Wine Exports of California and so the lab began reaching customers far beyond the Central Coast.

Over time, the lab expanded its services. BWGA earned approval from The California Olive Oil Council to provide chemical certification for extra virgin olive oil. Microbial Services such as bottle sterility, microbial cultures, yeast count & viability and DNA analysis were added to the lineup. Sugar profiles for various food stuffs (cherries, strawberries, apples, watermelon and potatoes to name a few) are measured throughout the year. Distilled spirits and beer analysis services were provided as those local industries began to thrive.

The laboratory moved to its current location in 2015, which will be our final move, as we could purchase our own commercial property. Our team loves providing great service and accurate resutls for the industries we serve, and we plan to do so for years to come!


The People

Dr. Brenda Baker
Dr. Brenda Baker earned the title of TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) Certified Chemist in December 2002 and has been analyzing wine and juice for an ever expanding customer base since. Dr. Baker earned her Doctorate in Biochemistry from Colorado State University in 1992 with an emphasis on protein chemistry, and taught Chemistry at the University level at Colorado State University, University of Colorado and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Heather Mikelonis
In 2006 Heather began working at the lab to help with accounts and upgrading the technological processes. With a Master’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University, her expertise was not initially in the science field but Heather has become an integral part of the lab and is now the Operations Manager and primarily focuses on the accounting and ways to improve the efficiency of the lab processes.

Nick Cross
Nick joined the lab in 2014 after obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Cal Poly. Nick’s primary role as lab manager is focusing on day to day management of the lab with a focus on enzymatic analysis. Nick became a TTB Certified Chemist in 2015 for both Wine and Beer. With past work experience in tasting rooms, Nick is a professional at customer service.

Patch Armstrong Baker
Patch started at the lab as a puppy in 2005 and takes his role seriously as lab greeter. He is also responsible for floor cleaning.