Yellow Tail with John Casella – Part 1

Managing Partner, John Casella Oversees his Production Facilities

Today we sit down with Australia’s John Casella, Managing Partner of Casella Wines, better known for its popular wine brand Yellow Tail. With over 8 million cases ($350 Million US) of wine arriving in the USA this year Yellow Tail has grown to become one of the world’s most popular wines. Join us for this 2 part series and discover how Yellow Tail got to where it is today.

Learn about Casella Wines and [Yellow Tail]:

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Show #53
(23:26 min 11 MB)

41 Responses to “Yellow Tail with John Casella – Part 1”

  1. 1 Daniel Jackstone Oct 31st, 2005 at 3:02 pm

    I don’t really like their wine but they have a great story. The growth at a time of such a massive wine glut is amazing. Thanks again I look forward to hearing part 2.

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Crew Oct 31st, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    You may not like the wine, but you tried it! I admire that you you did not pre-judge the wine. You did not care for the wine, others love it. No matter what, you have to be impressed at their growth and their ability to tap in to an underserved market.


  3. 3 Richard Nov 1st, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    I too have tried their wines, can’t say that I am a big fan, but have tasted different ones they have made. Incredible growth story. I am prefering great recommendations from my wine merchant for less expensive wines that I feel are better. But good show, look forward to the next one.

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Crew Nov 2nd, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Richard. We have more few great shows coming in the near future.

  5. 5 Brian C. Giles Nov 2nd, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    Now, I’ve only tried their Shiraz, (and, to be quite blunt, the fruit juice criticism isn’t too far from my own opinion) but I was pleasently surprised by how interesting Casella’s interview is. I guess with the runaway success of Yellow Tail, I was expecting some sort of mechanized boogyman, but Casella seems remarkably humble and good natured. Whatever I think of his methods and product, I can’t argue with his success. Quite a few people really seem to love his wine, and he is a genuinely interesting person.

    Might even have to give a few of his other wines a try, after this interview…

  6. 6 GrapeRadio Crew Nov 2nd, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    Brian, did you get a chance to try their reserve and/or their merlot?

    We opened a bottle at a tasting I opened and many felt it showed reasonably well.

    He seemed to be direct, open and friendly. I liked him.


  7. 7 paul Nov 3rd, 2005 at 10:42 pm

    c’mon, the dude adds sugar, i mean concentrated grape juice, to his wine… a brilliant businessman, yes, but, personally i would rather support someone who is trying to make wine honestly….

    i have never tried his wines, but for my $6-10 dollars, i would rather try people making wine in a more traditional way. las rocas any one? how about the 2001 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza? its about $13 here in socal…

    i love the interview, jay asks the tough questions, and i found it interesting as i have seen their marketing but i have not tried their wines. now that i know what they are, i know they are not for me… no judgement, but i would rather support other winemakers… he does seem to be a very down-to-earth humble guy…

    the question of art v science will continue to come in the winemaking business. i have tried sean thackery’s low priced wine (about $20). that particular bottle did not show well (at least to my palate). as i read more about him, i would certainly not even hesitate to buy another bottle with his name on it. i think he would make a very engaging interview… very polar opposite from mr casella…

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Crew Nov 4th, 2005 at 4:42 am

    Paul, I respect your position, but I would like to comment on a couple things.

    I think you have made a judgment. This is you right of course, and is probably well founded based on your personal preferences. But since you have not tried their wines you will never KNOW they are not for you.

    What do you mean “someone who is trying to make wine honestly”? You seem to be implying that because his methods are less traditional than other winemakers you respect, that his wines are in some way artificial and not “true” wines. I guess one could discuss the definition of what is a true wine or at what point does the product become a beverage and not a wine. However, I prefer not to focus on semantics. He is making a “product” that has a huge following of loyal customers. Their customers can open a bottle and enjoy it with their friends and family. Their customers do not care about techniques or styles. If he is filling that need, I for one find it hard to fault him for it.

    BTW, I laughed about me asking the tough questions. I would have never guessed someone would say that. I try to go out of my way not to ask people questions that makes them uncomfortable. The last thing I want is for them to feel they need to be guarded or careful about what they say. I am not trying to judge our guests; I am trying to understand them.

    Your comment about Sean Thackery is interesting. I sent them an email requesting an interview but never heard back from them. Maybe I should try again?


  9. 9 paul Nov 4th, 2005 at 8:15 am

    okay, you’re right i made a judgement… i blame the rioja…

  10. 10 Al Nov 4th, 2005 at 1:39 pm

    Very good interview. I look forward to part 2. I personally have only
    tried Yellow-Tail once and did not care for it but people are buying it
    by the case load so he must be doing something right.


  11. 11 Jason Adams Nov 4th, 2005 at 1:56 pm


    I applaud your near total objectivity with all of your guests and I have listened to nearly all of your podcasts.

    I listened intensely to your Yellow Tail interview waiting to hear the inside story on this industrial brew. Though there were a couple of questions steered toward flushing out the methods on how this product at 300 million cases a year or whatever is so consistent year after year, I was left wanting – especially after two hours of interview. It was all very cordial.

    It comes as no surprise that wine has surpassed beer as the more popular beverage in the US. Wineries have adopted the industrial practices of commercial breweries, churning out the same consistent product year after year, like Budweiser or Coca Cola Review that picture of the field of stainless steel tanks – is this a winery or an oil refinery?

    I must agree with the comments from Paul about creating an honest product. Real wine is a natural product as opposed to an industrial one and its differences and inconsistencies should be celebrated and enjoyed.

    I drink wine nearly every day and I have had some of the Yellow Tail product. I find it completely as advertised – a beverage.

    Keep up the good work.


    PS. Thank god you’ve got a new sponsor. If I had to hear Lee say “Goombay” one more time, I think I would have gotten sick.

  12. 12 Kevin Ellis Mar 28th, 2006 at 8:05 am


    Could you please advise where i can purchase yellow tail shiraz from in spain, my location is in torrieveja. south of alicante.

    I have introduced some friends to it and its all the rage,

    Your help would be very much apreciated.

    Kevin Ellis

  13. 13 GrapeRadio Bunch Mar 28th, 2006 at 2:17 pm


    Torres (La Bolsa de Los Licores)
    Nou de la Rambla,
    34 08001 Barcelona

    Tel: 933173234

    Price will be equal to about USD $8.00 per bottle

  14. 14 MIA Unleashed Jun 26th, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Did you all know that yellowtail is cask wine put in a bottle that has no shelf life made with the cheapest additions money buy! Tell them John how many growers you have back stabbed and sent bankrupt building you little empire, lets not forget all the people nearly killed in you winery because you fail to implement OHS in day to day operations or the people sacked for no reason just because a supervisor/manager needed to cover their ass to save their own job.

    The only advice I can give you all is drink homemade wine it is far better for you and easy to make. You don’t need to be winemaker to do so anyone can do it….

    Regards MIA Unleashed

  15. 15 Larinda Jun 27th, 2007 at 6:20 am

    I was wondering if there are any additives put in the Yellow Tail Cabernet , twice I have become very ill after having two glasses with dinner.

    Anyone else notice a harsh “hangover” effect from the Reds of Yellow Tail?

  16. 16 Sam Patel Jul 2nd, 2007 at 4:51 am

    Well, what can I say…I have a two liquor stores in Delaware and few Australian wines like Yellowtail, Little Penguin, Friday Monkey…to name a few sell like hot cakes. I have to agree that this famous brands have opened up new wine drinkers! By my experience, my wine buying customers have increased dramatically and thus resulting in over all sales. I think brands like Yellowtail and Friday Monkey have helped our stores, consumers and distributors. Its a complete win:win. Overall good wines at the right price.

  17. 17 Terry Hsiao Apr 5th, 2009 at 2:12 am

    This is the first show i have heard from the grape radio. I often roam on WLTV. however, that is nothing in comparison to this in terms of educational value.

    Let me state my points on yellow tail first.
    I have tried it and even in a blind tasting. it as disgusting as concentrated grade juice with reduced sugar and alcohol. I can taste the chapatization used in the wine. one word. disgusting.
    I wonder what kind of herbicide and pesticides he used in making this wine. Given that he adds sugar and water in the juice, he probably used a substantial amount of pesticides.
    he is TAKING ADVANTAGE over the consumers’ ignorance as to what exactly was used in the fermentation process. I bet you that he put oak wood chips in their barrels.

    he is using the public inadequate knowledge of wine as a weakness to sale his wine.
    a very evil business man making very ugly products.

  18. 18 Jay Selman Apr 5th, 2009 at 4:28 am

    For those of you that do not know Terry, he is the director of sales for yellow tail 🙂

    Terry,you tried the wine and hated it. Ok, I have no problem with you expressing your opinion. Then you move on to suggest he uses pestcides and wood chips without any basis for those allegations.

    Then you conclude he is “evil”. Judge the wine, but to judge the man, I think is unfair.

    I hope you continue to post because I admire people like you that speak their minds.


  19. 19 Kathy Martin Aug 19th, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I would like to know if YellowTail has been tested for pesticide residue. I have bought this wine for years, however I will only be buying wine from now on that is pesticide free. Thank you for your feedback.

  20. 20 GrapeRadio Bunch Aug 19th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I would be far more worried about pesticides in fruit/vegetables bought in the supermarket. Pesticide use in vineyards is rare.


  21. 21 Maren Aug 22nd, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    In reply to your absurd comment above which I am posting here I am nearly speechless but I had to post a comment about this unbeiievable statement you made recently:

    “I would be far more worried about pesticides in fruit/vegetables bought in the supermarket. Pesticide use in vineyards is rare.


    I live in California Wine country and to my knowledge there are only a handful of organic wineries in the State, Frey and Fitzpatrick come to mind, but all nonorganic vineyards use pesticides and usually use them liberally and often especially in the Spring and early Summer. Buyer beware, you are what you eat and drink.

  22. 22 GrapeRadio Bunch Aug 22nd, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Maren, sorry you feel that way. I respect, though differ, with your poition. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂


  23. 23 Caspar Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:06 am

    A brand doesn’t earn it’s fame by beeing disgusting for a big range of people. We will always have the “average” taster and the audiophile of wines criticising.
    Our opinions differs, so does our bottoms 🙂


    Caspar from Sweden

  24. 24 Brian Jul 13th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I enjoyed this series and learning a bit about Cassella Wines and Yellow Tail. In spite of the criticism above, it appears as though they have managed to accumulate quite a few awards and honors in the past few years.

    Thank you,


  25. 25 Pen Aug 1st, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I live in Germany, in the famous ‘Kaiserstuhl’ wine growing area. I must admit, I’ve not heard of the Yellow Tail brand before. But after going through all of this discussion above I’m curious to find out how this wine tastes. Will probably be hard to find here where I live.

  26. 26 Amy Loren Sep 30th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    It seems like quite a few people on this pages comments are not really satisfied with Yellow Tail wines, so I thought I would chime in as someone who actually enjoys it. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am an expert in the world of wines (I am not), the story behind these wines and the taste has been something I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past on more then a few occasions. I’m definitely not exclusive with my wine tastes, so it is not like I only drink Yellow Tail alone. Still, what can I say? I enjoy the wine, and even if there are better things on the market, I think for the price you are getting a really good quality product. Maybe I am wrong though, or maybe I just need more experience with wines before I can make more judgements; but you can just consider me your “typical” wine consumer. And, as far as I am concerned, Yellow Tail is great! I loved the podcast as well Grape Radio guys! I look forward to hearing more!

  27. 27 Bart Sep 30th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I don’t know – adding grape juice to your product and calling it wine is a stretch. It’s like adding skim milk to ice cream and calling the end result 100% ice cream. No, you have watery ice cream or ice milk.

    The gov mandates fruit juice with too much added sugar water be call a “fruit drink”; it’s no longer fruit juice. So, I ask you, what’s the diff with wine?


  28. 28 Theresa Zamora Dec 5th, 2011 at 3:42 am

    The story behind the wine is indeed awesome. It is acquired taste, some batches appeal to your palate, some don’t. Whatever appeal to the senses to target market is a hit or miss, no one can really prejudge. It is the efforts at making better products and improving the line and staying at the pulse of the buyers that can go a long way in getting your product stay.

  29. 29 Toby Jan 16th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I love the Yellow Tail wines & one of the main reasons I was drawn to this product is the wonderful label. Being an “animal person” I really like the Lizzard or Gecko you have on your label. I only buy the dry reds & always stock up when my local stores has sales. Keep up the good work

  30. 30 jen Feb 16th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I have three words that sum up the Yellow Tail phenomenon: LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. Cheap wine is cheap wine.

  31. 31 Tony Lee Mar 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I love your podcast, its really down to earn! Its exciting knowing that you guys have all this information and enjoy sharing it with us. I love listening to podcasts when I walk my dog or when Im doing something else that I can have something to listen to! I actually have my own podcasts and know what it feels like to be behind the mic! Great job!

  32. 32 Lorraine Buckman Mar 19th, 2012 at 12:57 am

    The story behind the winery is fantastic. I am just crazy about testing diffrent wines and I am a great amateur of Yellow Tail wine too. It has such an unforgettable and sophisticated taste despite criticism from some guys above. I guess you have done a very prolific job and I am looking forward to more parts with John Casella!
    Love your product a lot!

  33. 33 Albert Scott Mar 19th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I first enjoyed Yellowtail in London, I also have had the pleasure to order it in California of all places. I find it to be a tasty full body wine.
    I like it so would recommend it if asked.

  34. 34 Steven Chadbourne Mar 22nd, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Excellent interview. Personally, i only have attempted Yellow-Tail once and didn’t care for this but individuals are purchasing it through the situation load so he or she must do something right.

  35. 35 Barry Oldman Mar 24th, 2012 at 4:22 am

    One of the greatest unsung small business success stories has to be the spectacular [yellow tail] wine and John Casella’s foray into the US. Casella Wines officially started 1969 and growth was steady until 2000. Then [yellow tail] was born.

  36. 36 Russel Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    The first time I ordered the [yellow tail] in the 4Seasons Wine Club.
    Since then, I always keep a bottle of “Moscato”, sometimes to please yourself and your friends 🙂

  37. 37 Cynthia Tod Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 am

    We like Yellow Tail a lot. Usually keep 4-5 different bottles on hand. Good wine on a budget. 🙂

  38. 38 LinkUp Apr 8th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Very intresting to taste this wine! thanx for intresting information!

  39. 39 Amanda Dec 2nd, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Got two bottles of Yellow Tail for Christmass, thnks for great product

  40. 40 hammer of thor Apr 29th, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    You may not like the wine, but you tried it! I admire that you you did not pre-judge the wine. You did not care for the wine, others love it. No matter what, you have to be impressed at their growth and their ability to tap in to an underserved market.

  41. 41 hammer of thor May 2nd, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Excellent interview. Personally, i only have attempted Yellow-Tail once and didn’t care for this but individuals are purchasing it through the situation load so he or she must do something right.

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