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‘Father’ of Yellow Tail dies

Filippo Casella, founder of Casella Wines – the home of Yellow Tail – has died.

Casella, 88, died on October 12 at Griffith in the Riverina region of New South Wales, after a long illness. His funeral was held last Friday.

A third-generation Sicilian grapegrower and winemaker, and a prisoner of the British in India during World War II, he emigrated to Australia in 1957 with his wife, Maria.

In 1959 they established Casella Wines at Yenda in the Riverina, on a 16ha vineyard.

Building a winery in 1964, they sold bulk wine in 44-gallon drums locally and to workers in the cane fields of far north Queensland where they had previously worked.

Their second son, John, a winemaker, took over the winery in 1994.

In 2001, with marketing manager John Souter, he launched Yellow Tail. Designed specifically for the US market, and launched only in the US at first, it became the most successful wine launch in US wine history, recording sales of about 1m cases in its first year.

Its current annual global sales total about 12m cases.

John continues in charge of the company with brothers, Joe and Marcello.

Maria and daughter Rosa also survive Filippo.

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Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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