13th August, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
Maria Casella, co-founder of Casella Family Brands and its flagship brand Yellow Tail, has died aged 87.
Casella passed away peacefully at the Redlands Base hospital in Brisbane on Sunday with her family by her side.
Born Maria Patanè in Sicily on 21 January 1927, Casella married her childhood sweetheart, Filippo Casella, in 1947 soon after he returned from the war.
With Filippo having moved to Australia to pursue work, Maria and their young family joined him in 1957 to help build the Casella Family Brands business.
Following her death, Casella was praised by her children for her strength, perseverance and dedication to raising her family during times of hardship.
“My mother was integral to the creation of Casella Family Brands and the birth of the Yellow Tail brand,” said Casella’s son John Casella.
“She epitomised the values of family, hard work, dedication and loyalty. These values have not only shaped our family, but are upheld within our business today.
“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 tail of success that is testament to my parents’ determination and hard work from the beginning,” he added.
Last October, Casella Wines celebrated the bottling of its billionth bottle of Yellow Tail, having reached the milestone 12 years after the brand was launched in 2001.
Casella is survived by daughter Rosa and sons Joe, John and Marcello. A requiem mass for her will take place this Saturday at the Griffith Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New South Wales, followed by internment in the Griffith Cemetery.
As a mark of respect, Casella Family Brands will be closed for business from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 August.