BAKER & BRAIN, San Luis Obispo
Their first vintage, 2008, yielded only 2 barrels of Syrah. They’re now at 1300 cases, consisting of up to 10 different wines. Matt and Josh think outside the box — offering a single-vineyard Gruner Veltliner, and a remarkably rich, beguiling and age-worthy Grenache Blanc from California’s Edna Valley, in addition to a selection of site-specific Syrah & Pinot Noirs. Still too small to have their own winery, the winemakers lease space in a San Luis Obispo custom crush facility which is certified sustainable and solar powered. Baker and Brain’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop there — only lightweight bottles are used, and the labels that adorn them are made from 100% recycled materials.
Both men have backgrounds in Biological Sciences and experience working in large wineries. Josh is head winemaker at Edna Valley Vineyards, while Matt teaches in the Enology department at Cal-Poly SLO, where he also manages the cellar. Josh & Matt share winemaking duties, while Melanie Brain looks after admin — their playfulness and innovative spirit are clearly reflected in these boutique-style, environmentally conscious wines. Matt is a native of Georgetown, and met Melanie while studying in the US — another example (see also Mike Lancaster, Frank Gehry, Monty Hall, Ted Cruz…) of the remarkable brain trust that Canada has contributed to America.