About BWGA About BWGA

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 have been 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, Kombucha and beer analysis services were also added 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 results 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. Her primary focus is keeping all the equipment and technology current as well as overseeing the accounting and continuously improving the efficiency of the lab processes.

Sherrie Holzer
In the beginning of 2018, Sherrie joined the Baker team with an impressive resume. She graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science in Enology and Chemistry, holds a wine business certificate from Sonoma State, an Advanced Sensory Certification from UC Davis, is a TTB Certified Chemist, and has obtained WSET Level 2 certification. With over a decade of diverse experience in professional winemaking, Sherrie is not only a full member of the Baker team in the lab, she has also developed and implemented our sensory analysis program. Troubleshooting and puzzle solving makes Sherrie's day, so feel free to bring in your problems (beverage only please - Sherrie is a lot of things, but a licensed psychologist she is not).

Rebecca Chapman
Rebecca joined our team in the summer of 2019 as a Lab Chemist with a strong background in science and the wine industry. After graduating from West Virginia University, Rebecca began her career in a Molecular Biology lab for the Centers for Disease Control. She has also worked in public health and clinical research and during a few months off to take a breather, Rebecca went out on a whim and answered an ad for a harvest intern in Oregon. So began her journey in to the wine industry where she worked multiple harvests between the US and New Zealand while also completing the UC Davis Winemaking Program and obtaining WSET Level 2 Certification. 

Cinnamon Girl
Also lovingly known as Cinna - she became a member of the Baker puppy crew in the summer of 2017. With her adorable eyes and super smart brain, we are glad to have her here to entertain us and give a friendly welcome to all of our customers!