Christine Wente, 29

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Christine Wente is a fifth-generation California vintner, but when it came to learning about wine marketing, she went to where many go: E.&J. Gallo Winery.

Less than a year on the job as VP-marketing of Wente Vineyards, the Princeton graduate has helped move its product to the next level with a limited-production vintage labeled Nth Degree. The upmarket chardonnay, cabernet and syrah quickly sold out at up to $50 a bottle. The company also has grown to be respected for its "meritage" Bordeaux style blends.

Among her current challenges is to help raise the awareness of the Wente winery's region. Ms. Wente, 29, "has a very strong instinct for brand building and has been instrumental in crafting our plans," says Lynn Wallace, executive director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

"We need a `Sideways,' " Ms. Wente says, citing the film that gave a boost to the Central Coast.

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