Gallo's Carlo Rossi plugs the jug to lure 'new tasters' away from beer.

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Anheuser-Busch isn't the only one crossing over into wine. Consider rapper E-40. Born Earl Stevens, the 40 in his name refers to the typical bottle size of his favorite malt liquor. But E-40's also been seen in public with a jug of the E. & J. Gallo Winery's Carlo Rossi wine and, in fact, has a song named after the marketer of his favorite burgundy.

But so far Gallo hasn't reached out to E-40. Gallo Senior Marketing Manager Peter Brennan said he was unfamiliar with the Vallejo, Calif., rapper and his song but nevertheless acknowledged that the beer and wine industries are in a pitched battle for the stomachs and discretionary dollars of young adults 21 and over. Mr. Brennan calls them the "new tasters": 21- to 29-year-olds who are unfamiliar with the wine's history and tradition. It's a key beer audience and one the marketer is pursuing with a campaign.

"They don't care about conventions and are the people that everyone wants to come to their party, their show or their opening because they are the people that make it fun. They are smart, real and willing to seek out ways of being different," said Mike Doherty, co-president of Cole & Weber United, Seattle, agency for Carlo Rossi.

In its campaign, Carlo Rossi is brought back to life on the web through a home page that features vintage ads with the now-deceased Gallo employee and family friend. Mr. Rossi also has been given a page on MySpace. Agency writers come up with his comments.

To seed interest in the wine, the marketer had artists design pieces of furniture, lighting fixtures and even a speaker system out of used jug bottles. The designs were taken to five niche festivals around the country, such as the Boston Tattoo Convention, the Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis, and Austin's Fashion Show and Guerrilla Craft Fair. Each fair had its own posters and a booth in the over-21 area showing the furniture. The furniture is being sold on eBay to fund events related to the fairs.
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