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Matriarch and co-founder of Yellow Tail and Casella Family Brands dies

Published:  12 August, 2014

Maria Casella, the co-founder of Casella Family Brands and its flagship brand, Yellow Tail, died on August 10, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.

Maria Patanè, Casella's maiden name, was born in Sicily on January 21,1927. She married Filippo Casella in 1947 after the war. In 1951, Filippo took work in Australia, as Italy was ravaged by the aftermath of World War II and worked between Italy and Australia. Maria Cassella raised her four children pre-dominantly by herself in Italy.

In 1957, the entire family was able to move from Italy to Australia and join Filippo where they put into practice their family knowledge of winemaking. The Casella family had been making wine in Italy since the 1820s.

John Casella, one of Maria Casella's sons, said: "My mother was integral to the creation of Casella Family Brands and the birth of the Yellow Tail brand. From the early days spent travelling from the Riverina region to far North Queensland selling their locally produced wine, to the incredible 12.5 million cases we now produce every year, our family business is a heroic tale of success that is testament to my parents and their determination and hard work from the beginning."

Maria Casella is survived by her daughter Rosa and sons Joe, John and Marcello.

Yellow Tail was formed in 2000 and the Casella's family began producing their own labelled wine for the first time. Prior to 2000 the Casella wines were sold in bulk to other wineries. That same year the Casella Family Brands joined with WJ Deutsch & Sons to help market and distribute wine to the US market.