There seems to be an incredibly specific passion within the California wine community concerning the Pinot Noir grape, one that is as fixated as it is contagious, and Joe Otos caught the bug early on. Joe Otos is the winemaker and soul behind Sonoma County’s Willowbrook Cellars – a major up and coming producer of vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs. While attending Sonoma State University, Otos was introduced to the local wine community by visiting the nearby tasting rooms with friends from college. His interest and curiosity spiked immediately, and he was especially drawn to the elegant yet finicky qualities of the Pinot Noir grape. Otos started working part time at Ravenswood Winery before moving on to Wellington Vineyards where he assisted with winemaking for four harvests. During this time, Otos formulated a business plan that would ultimately become Willowbrook Cellars. He joined forces with friends John Tracy and Ed Sillari, and their combined experiences were all the pieces needed to get the new project underway. In 2001, the three founded Willowbrook Cellars and they haven’t looked back since. Today, the small winery produces a comfortable 2,500 cases of premium Sonoma County Pinot Noirs and the friends couldn’t be more pleased with the successes they have found along the way.