Filippo and Maria Casella emigrated to Australia from Italy in the 1950s bringing with them their hopes and dreams and the know-how acquired through three generations of grape-growing and winemaking in Italy. Recognising the potential of the region, Filippo purchased a farm in the town of Yenda, New South Wales, in 1965. After selling the grapes from his farm to local wineries, he decided in 1969 that it was time for a new generation to put its winemaking skills to use, and the winery was born.
John Casella, one of Filippo and Maria’s three sons returned to the family business in 1994 and embarked on an ambitious expansion to build a new winery with the mission to blend old world heritage and new world technology. Today the day to day operations of the winery are run by the three Casella sons – John, Managing Director and Winemaker; Joe, Australian Sales Director; and Marcello, Director and Vineyard Manager. Filippo’s grandson, Phillip is the sixth generation Casella to join the business as assistant winemaker and public relations executive. In 2002, Casella brought in Alan Kennett as Chief Winemaker. Alan previously worked with a number of other successful Australian wineries.
Casella Wines shot to the forefront of the export arena in mid 2000 with the hugely successful brand [yellow tail]®. Based in the Riverina and operating as a winery since 1969, Casella Wines initially concentrated predominantly on the export market, and is now a key player in Europe, Asia, the UK, USA and Canada. In September 2003, Casella launched into the domestic market with [yellow tail] which has proved a remarkable success on home turf.
State of the art vineyards and wine production together with a solid infrastructure has allowed Casella Wines to maintain key markets and develop growing markets. In terms of volume, export sales have exceeded 12 million cases since 1998, and since June 2001 have seen considerable growth.
The winery at Casella is one of the largest in Australia. Recent developments have seen the installation of five new presses, three centrifuges and over 60 million litres of storage capacity. The winery is now capable of crushing 120,000 tonnes of grapes during one vintage. This is backed up by three bottling lines capable of a combined output of over 30,000 bottles per hour, and with two more lines planned, the winery will be capable of bottling over 65,000 bottles per hour. Our people are the key that makes all of this happen and with continued growth staff numbers now exceed 320 within the winery alone.
Casella Wines is located in the small villiage of Yenda, which is in the Riverina. The Riverina is located in the heart of southeastern Australia, 600km west of Sydney, 500km north of Melbourne and 800km east of Adelaide. The Riverina was the vision of Sir Samuel McCaughey in the 19th Century. In 1906 the government initiated the construction of irrigation canals leading from the Murrumbidgee River through the area which were completed by 1912.
The Pioneering farmers of the riverina were joined by soldier settlers after World War I and immigrants from Europe after World War II. The region has developed into one of the most culturally rich, agriculturally diverse and economically thriving regions of Australia. The Murrumbidgee River that runs through the Riverina and supplies water has it's source in the Snowy Mountains, the Alpine Region of NSW. The Riverina produces 10% of Australia's wine and over 50% of wine produced in New South Wales.
Casella Wines is a unique Australian winery when it comes to sourcing grapes for ever expanding export markets. Casella Wines source fruit from every major wine region in Australia with some of these grapes transported up to 12 hours across the country back to Yenda for processing. The main varieties sourced are Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and some smaller parcels of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Durif.