Maria Casella, co-founder of one of Australia’s most successful winemaking family businesses, has died in Brisbane at the age of 87.
The Sicilian-born entrepreneur co-founded Casella Wines with her husband Filippo in 1957, after leaving post-war Italy for a better life in Australia. Today the company posts revenues in excess of AU$346 million (€241 million).
Casella died on Sunday, surrounded by family, and is survived by daughter, Rosa, and sons, John, Joe, and Marcello.
Filippo, her childhood sweetheart and husband for 62 years, died in 2009, at the age of 88.
Casella’s son John, chairman of Casella Family Brands, told local media he would remember his mother’s strength of character and dedication to her family.
John described the family business, which today produces 12.5 million cases of wine a year, as a “heroic tale of success” that was testament to his parents.
Casella’s other two sons also work in the business.
Filippo was a third generation winemaker, but the family didn’t find global success until they began producing their own label, Yellow Tail, having previously sold in bulk to other producers.
Having rebranded to Cassella Family Brands in May this year, the family business is now the largest family-owned winemaker in Australia exporting to more than 50 countries globally around the world.