October 5, 2007
Calling Carlo

During Sacramento's Second Saturday art walk, I see a lot of Charles Shaw wine being poured, but I can't recall ever seeing a gallery owner unscrew the cap on a jug of Carlo Rossi. This is odd, given not only the long relationship between struggling artists and cheap wine, but the cozy relationship between artists and Carlo Rossi's marketing geniuses.

About a year and a half ago, Seattle artist Jay Blazek teamed up with Carlo Rossi to base a line of whimsical furniture on the wine's iconic glass jug. He built furnishings like a "chardonnay chandelier" and a "cabernet couch," then took his "Jug Simple Furniture Collection" on the road for exhibits about the country.

Now three other artists have found inspiration in the Carlo Rossi jug. Glass blower Joe Cariati created a series of colorful wine decanters that mimic the jug's design, including its ring handle; designer Jason Miller stuck an ornate crystal wine glass in the jug; and jewelry designer Jules Kim created a gold necklace with a mold of her lips in red garnet, reputedly inspired as she sipped a glass of Carlo Rossi merlot.

The limited-edition works are being displayed and sold in four shops about the country, including the furniture and accessory store Propeller at 555 Hayes St. in San Francisco. Cariati's decanters sell for $225, Miller's jug of crystal for $225, and Kim's chain for $200. None are in Sacramento, but maybe when the next Second Saturday rolls around Oct. 14 we'll at least find some Carlo Rossi wine.

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