[yellow tail], the Australian family-owned wine brand that won millions of hearts around the world, celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021.
In the (literal) spirit of good tiding and cheer, feasts with family are commonly punctuated with the presence of bubbly non-alcoholic drinks for the kids, along with wines and spirits for the adults. From full-bodied red wines to the classic whites, the delicate rosés, and more, there is a drink or two that is designed to fit your palate.
It’s a different story though if we’re talking about brands. Just as there are many spirits to choose from, the plethora of brands (whether Spanish, Italian, or the like) available is just as diverse. But amid all that, one well-loved brand stands out: [yellow tail].
From Humble Beginnings to International Success
With humble beginnings deeply rooted in Australia, [yellow tail] was first created by John Casella, the Managing Director of Casella Family Brands, in 2001. To date, it is now a 14-million (9LE) case brand—one that is available in over 60 countries worldwide, including the Philippines.
Like all brands, [yellow tail] is a global success that did not grow overnight. Its growth rate, however, has surpassed all expectations, even for John himself. While its first shipment in 2001 comprised of 1,104 cases (9LE), the increase was stratospheric, to say the least—with about 13.5 billion cases being sent out in 2021. That’s almost 12.5 billion glasses of [yellow tail] wine being enjoyed globally since its inception!
“Over two decades, [yellow tail] has grown to be one of the most famous wine success stories of our time. We have achieved this without losing sight of who we are or what the [yellow tail] brand stands for, which is ultimately about bringing people together and creating moments of happiness,” John shares, fondly reflecting on how he has carefully crafted the brand to have an ethos of brand excellence.
What’s more, [yellow tail] has been recognized as the Most Powerful Wine Brand in the Worldfor four years in a row! All this is thanks to parent company Casella Family Brands, which employs over 900 staff across Australia and works with 155 distributor partners to bring [yellow tail] wines to consumers around the globe.
Easy Drinking and Food-friendly Wines
But what is the story behind[yellow tail] wines? Back then, wine catered more to a niche market. In fact, first-time drinkers would consider it too intimidating or unapproachable. By targeting this large untapped consumer base of potential wine drinkers, John was able to transform the conventional wine category into a more diverse one.
He then set his sights on creating a more flavorsome and approachable brand of Australian wines that cater to those who want an easygoing and simple wine. But more than taste, it had to consistently overdeliver on quality and value. And so, [yellow tail] was born.
Inspired by his family’s sociable approach to enjoying wine, John created [yellow tail] with the goal of creating a wine that people could enjoy on any occasion. By marrying his family’s passionate Italian winemaking heritage with the relaxed Australian outlook on life, the result is an easy-drinking, food-friendly range of wines that friends and family can enjoy together.
“[yellow tail] delivered on an unmet need within the traditional wine category and provided a fruit-forward, accessible, easy-drinking alternative,” John says proudly. “From the wine through to the packaging, everything about [yellow tail] demystified and simplified the wine choice and attracted a new category of wine drinkers, which presented a sizable market opportunity.”
The Key to Success
“At its inception, [yellow tail] stood out in an overly crowded and traditional wine category due to its unique personality and differentiated positioning,” John shares. “As the category has become increasingly cluttered and fragmented, with consumer tastes and trends constantly changing; we have had to work extremely hard to maintain our position and continue to grow [yellow tail] worldwide.”
To date, many wine brands are present in the playing field—both traditional and modern in nature. What’s more, the consumers’ palate has evolved through the times. Given all this, it can be a challenge to remain relevant in these times. But [yellow tail] stood its ground and here’s how:
1. Remaining Relevant
Starting out with two founding products—Shiraz and Chardonnay—[yellow tail] kept innovating and expanding its portfolio. To date, it features an impressive portfolio of 23 varieties, which cater to the equally diverse tastes and preferences of consumers, along with their many consumption occasions.
This strategic approach to innovation led to new product developments, such as the Jammy Red Roo red blend, fruit-flavoured Sangria for the US market, a lower alcohol and calorie content drink called Pure Bright, and the new to market [yellow tail] Whiskey Barrel—aged in Australian Whiskey barrels.
2. Market Diversification
When [yellow tail] first launched, the goal was to reach the US. However, many brands seeked to imitate [yellow tail]’s success, which prompted John to diversify. Through a global diversification strategy, [yellow tail] is now available in over 60 markets, including the Philippines.
What does this mean? To date, [yellow tail] is now the leading Australian wine brand and has taken over 40% of total Australian wine in the market based on latest export numbers from Australia. In fact, the volume of [yellow tail] consumed has doubled over the past 5 years in the Philippines alone! Combining this with a strong social media presence and its omnipresence in Philippine fashion events, there is no doubt that [yellow tail] is a highly sought-after brand.
3. Brand Investment
In order to remain relevant to retailers and consumers, [yellow tail], like all brands, needs to establish a strong presence in the market. And this includes marketing investments. Citing its importance, John notes, “It’s a matter of how we connect with our consumers around the world, and how well we work with our distributor partners, importers and retail customers, to maintain their enthusiasm for the brand.”
Of Future Plans and Aspirations
With many parties, occasions, and milestones to celebrate, [yellow tail] continues to remain relevant, even in these times. “The last 18 months have proven the appeal of [yellow tail],” John shares happily. “As consumers turned to a familiar, known, and trusted wine brand, [yellow tail] experienced its highest ever volume of global sales recorded.”
However, John admits that he can’t take it easy just yet, adding that, “To succeed in the next decade, we need to continually reinvigorate [yellow tail] to remain relevant and meaningful to consumers.” With that in mind, the company aims to leverage on consumer-driven trends to grow the [yellow tail] brand. How? Through products that targets new consumers and occasions.
While celebrations are essential, the ongoing global pandemic has shifted people’s attentions to something more essential: the need to help others. Understanding the consumers’ need to feel like they’re making a difference through the brands they purchase and consume, [yellow tail] is paving the way with a sustainability strategy. By investing in both environmental and social causes, John’s vision will soon be realized.
And that is to contribute to the long-term sustainability and resilience of the Australian wine industry.
“We are fortunate to have a unique, strong, and powerful global wine brand. I’m very excited for the next chapter,” John ends. “There is still so much opportunity for [yellow tail], and I know [that] we have the passion, the people, and the ability to ensure that [yellow tail] is the world’s most loved wine brand for years to come.”
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