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Yellow Tail (Chardonnay and Shiraz) is the new face of Australian wine industry and it is taking the world by storm, or at least the U S, which is closing in fast on Britain as the largest market for Australian wines .In the $ 20 billion US market’s (2001) the dominant supplier is Kendall-Jackson with $600 million. Of the $ two billion import segment, the annual Australian share is $ 585 million. The breakdown of Australian imports is as follows: Lindeman’s 154,566 ( 9 L cases),
Rosemount Estates 93,392,
Jacob’s Creek 50,158,
Yellow Tail 48,404,
Alice White 28,067,
Penfold’s 19,345, Black Opal 18,694,
Banrock Station 12,160, and
Wyndham Estate 7495.
As you can see, up to recently a relatively unknown Yellow Tail brand is 4th on the list outranking several well-established brands
Yellow Tail is the brainchild of an immigrant family from Sicily, and the genius of John Soutter an Australian marketer and brand manager
Filippo and Maria Casella arrived in Australia from Sicily in 1957. Filippo had spent seven years as a prisoner of war in India, worked as a cane cutter in Queensland and picked grapes in Griffityh, Australia. By 1965, the Casellas paid a deposit for a farm in Griffith and built their home which still exists. Now it is surrounded by huge fermentation tanks and sheds to accommodate the huge production of millions of cases of wine.
Production stated in 1969 and grew every year but the big break came in 2001 when the family, with the help of John Soutter, introduced the Yellow Tail brand (Chardonnay and Shiraz) in the USA.
The original projection was 25,000 cases the first year (an ambitious objective) but sales surpasses 48,000 c/s. Yellow Tail is now not only the Number 1 Australian wine, but also the No.1 imported wine in the USA, , having overtaken the Italian brand Riunite.
The phenomenal success can be attributed to meticulously planned and executed marketing strategies, packaging, pricing, product , place and promotion.
The Yellow Tail Shiraz is a full-bodied, flavourful and balanced wine, while Chardonnay is blended to please the palates of novice American wine drinkers who prefer fruit-driven wines with a slight sweetness.
By all accounts, both Yellow Tail brands have taken the US marketers by surprise, but actually the credit belongs to the Casella Winery’s management that insisted to introduce the brand at the right time with the right importer, ready and bale to distribute and support the brand throughout the country.
Australia exports to 89 countries, and of those, the U K is number one, followed by the US A, New Zealand, Canada and Germany.
As an interesting statistic it is worth to point out that Shiraz with 23 percent of all planted vineyards in the world ranks Number 1 as far as grape varieties are concerned; Cabernet Sauvignon (18%); Chardonnay (9%); Merlot (6%), Pinot Noir (5%), and others 38%)
Australia’s Shiraz production is significant, but ranks second after France. Unfortunately for France, Shiraz is marketed as a generic wine, whereas Australians market it as a varietal and at most reasonable cost.
Casella’s success rests with John Casella, and John Soutter the general manager and sales and marketing guru, good timing, and an attractive product at the right place.
Now that the winery has been able to establish its brand in the USA, the most lucrative market in the world, they have started to export to Canada, first British Columbia and now Ontario.
Yellow Tail is marketing success story and you should be part of it.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu
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