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Omega Forklifts Helping Deliver Australian Made Wine to the US
4 August 2014
Omega Heavy Forklift Trucks are in use throughout Australia, providing heavy material handling capacity to a number of iconic Australian exporters.
One example is Casella Wines, featured in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday 31/07/2014 (story below). They operate an Omega 36D FCH (forklift container handler), with a top-lift frame to lift 25T boxes of Casella’s product.
“Americans are going wild about sangria, but rather than drinking their own they are increasingly reaching for an Australian brand grown in the New South Wales Riverina district.
John Casella of Casella Wines – whose Yellow Tail wine leapt from the drawing board after the Sydney Olympics to become the biggest imported wine in the US – might have another hit on his hands with the fruity Spanish party drink.
Just one year since its launch, Casella Wines has sold more than 300,000 cases of sangria, with 90 per cent of its sales coming from the US.
‘‘It has been very much welcomed and selling really well in the United States,’’ Mr Casella told Fairfax Media. ‘‘The Yellow Tail brand on the sangria bottle really helped with brand recognition. It’s a different wine, of course, to what we sell, but it's still made within the Yellow Tail style.’’
Mr Casella oversees the Griffith-based family winery, whose highly recognisable leaping kangaroo label helped start the "critter" trend of wines featuring animals on their labels. The brand has become a mainstay of supermarket and bottle shop shelves, especially in the US.
Such is the demand for Yellow Tail among Americans that in October Casella Wines produced the billionth bottle. The Yellow Tail range, which now includes the sangria, forms the backbone of the business, founded in 1969 by Sicilian immigrants Filippo and Maria Casella.
Producing 12 million cases a year, of which almost 96 per cent is exported to Americans, the family moved into sangria in July 2013. And it looks to be paying off.
‘‘You would think it would be popular with Hispanic groups," Mr Casella said. "It has, but it's also been more general than that, more broader, and it has been helped by word of mouth, people buying it and recommending [it] to friends.’’
Selling for as little as $US6 in the US, and below $8 in many Australian bottle shops, the sangria brand clashes with the image the Australian wine industry is trying to project to the world, of a region that excels in producing premium, high-priced wine.
Mr Casella was nonplussed, saying the model worked well for him.
"We need to keep in mind that we can do quite well at these low prices because we have the volume behind us. There is no point in a small... winery selling at below $10 a bottle because it just won't work for them – but it works for us.’’
Sangria is much-loved in the US, with more than $US700 million spent on it every year.
The European Parliament recently passed legislation imposing strict labelling rules for sangria. In the eyes of Europe's lawmakers, "genuine" sangria comes from Spain or Portugal only. It is similar to moves by French lawmakers to protect the terms "champagne" and "claret", stopping Australian winemakers using them on labels.
‘‘Gee, they are trying hard, aren't they?’’ laughed Mr Casella”
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